Entire Musical Compositions Made from Just One Line of Code are Glitchy but Musical

You know you’re in for something different with an article that contains this line: “as 256 bytes is becoming the new 4K, there has been ever more need to play decent music in the 256-byte size class. ” In just a single line of code, Finnish artist and coder countercomplex, working with other contributors, is creating “bitwise creations in a pre-apocalyptic world.” What’s stunning is to listen to the results, even if you have trouble following the code – the results are complex and organic, glitchy but with compositional direction, as though the machine itself had learned to compose in …

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In Videos, Face Control and Prostheses Make the Craziest Sounds

You may have already seen FaceOSC, free software that eases the use of facial tracking from a computer camera for use as a controller, here with music software (top). Synthtopia picked up the story in July, featuring artist and engineer Kyle McDonald. But one FreeKa Tet has done his own implementation (second from top), and while the video is a bit grainy, he sounds wonderfully terrifying, as if his face is trying to slip out of The Matrix. Sometimes, I’m rendered entirely silent (no, really, it happens), and it’s best to let videos speak for themselves. So here, after the …

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Nanoloop Comes to Android, with its Lovely, Minimal Music Idea-Making Interface

I think the first time I really understood handheld music making was when I first tried Nanoloop on Game Boy. While the more-popular LSDJ tracker is powerful, Nanoloop’s interface was unlike anything I’d seen before: aggressively minimal, it embodies in its interface design the feeling of a blank sheet of paper. Adding an idea feels like composition, like genuinely exploring open-ended possibilities and discovering what melodies may result. Now, Nanoloop – already on iOS – is available for Android, too. It remains simple stuff, the sense of what a music maker looks like when designed for your hand rather than …

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Kinect with MIDI, with Microsoft’s 3D Camera

Ben X Tan writes to let us know he’s working with hacks for Microsoft’s Kinect 3D camera system for Xbox to perform MIDI control. Result: depth-sensing, gestural musical manipulations! It’s just a prototype, but since today I cover the larger landscape of what’s happening with Kinect, it’s well worth teasing. From the description: Coded in C#.net using this: http://codelaboratories.com/nui Very hacky ugly, yucky, alpha prototype, source code available here: http://benxtan.com/temp/pmidickinect.zip Next project is making a version of pmidic that uses Kinect. Then, you can control Ableton Live or any other MIDI software or hardware with you limbs. Isn’t that amazing!!! …

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libpd: Put Pure Data in Your App, On an iPhone or Android, and Everywhere, Free

What if you could make any device or any software a re-programmable musical instrument, effect, or soundmaker? Your phone could be a touch-controlled effect, your tablet a sketchpad for interactive drum sequencers. Patches assembled on your desk on a computer could be taken with you in your pocket. And what if you could do all of this for free, using a time-tested environment? libpd, authored by Peter Brinkmann, takes on that vision. It’s a way of making Pure Data (Pd), the visual development tool for interactive music and media, more accessible across a range of applications and gadgets. It lets …

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A Powerful Music Tracker in Your Browser, Completely Free

Party like it’s 1991 – your browser’s invited. A full-blown music production tool has been directly ported from the desktop to the browser using Flash, modeled with a tracker-style interface for fast, precise music editing. (In fact, a tracker, thanks to speedy entry from a QWERTY keyboard, seems to me an ideal interface for browser music. Trust me – it looks arcane at first, but trackers can be extremely friendly music interfaces. Just be prepared to look like a total geek once you’ve worked it out, because it’ll look even more arcane to everyone else) The resulting tool comes with …

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Don’t Over-Interpret Apple: Cross-Platform Development Isn’t a Sin

Pictured: Looks native, but this app is built with a cross-platform library. And really, for music making – or great, immersive development, in general – does it matter? The iPad has inflamed plenty of passions online. On this site, I’ve gotten a little flak from iPad lovers and haters alike. It goes something like this: “wait a minute, you’ve got all these criticisms of the iPad’s restrictiveness, but then you’ve got all these amazing music apps.” Or, on the other side: “why do you keep covering all these iPad music apps?” In a word, yes. They’re not the same issue. …

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Eigenharp Details: MIDI, High-Res Protocol, and Open Source Plans for the Space Bassoon

The Pico model may lack the impressive array of keys on the flagship Alpha, but when it ships next month it’ll cost well under a grand. And even the Pico promises high-resolution touch, velocity-sensitive keys that you can “bend” as well as press, and high-resolution breath input. The “space bassoon” Eigenharp seems to have landed from another planet. Today, I’ve got good news: it’s bringing alien gifts with it. By next year, both the software and the high-performance protocol the instrument uses will be open source. Taken together with other advancements in the open source community and with protocols like …

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iPhone Day: Free Frameworks Make Thumping Apps, Mobile or Otherwise

Part of the beauty of the iPhone from its launch date was the notion of a Mac you could fit in the palm of your hand. That makes it ironic that, for so many developers, mobile platforms in general have turned into a way to fragment software, to make it run fewer places instead of more. There’s something to be said for designing to a specific mobile device, but on the other hand, how many developers would want to restrict where their creations run? And particularly in music, isn’t the appeal of mobile creation the ability to have your tools …

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iPhone Day: LaDiDa’s Reverse Karaoke Composes Accompaniment to Singing

LaDiDa Demo from khush on Vimeo. There’s no question iPhone/iPod touch development – really, just clever mobile development – has gotten a bit overhyped lately. But that’s all the more reason to do a round-up of genuinely interesting stories, real innovation happening on the platform. So, I’m clearing out my inbox with some of the more creative tools appearing recently on Apple’s mobile gadgets. There’s no better way to kick off today’s festivities than with this unusual “reverse karaoke” creation. Sure, people may think they’re tone-deaf. But even the layperson has extraordinary powers of musical perception. So how could you …

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