rhythmiconcrop

Music and math unite, from Chowning to Rhythmicon

You have to love German. In English, I can string together whole paragraphs that try and fail to capture the potential of electronic sound. In German, we get to call an event Technosphärenklänge – a word whose utterance is a timbral adventure in itself. And in an event with that name promising to be a landmark for the electronic music sphere, CTM Festival is bringing together pioneering machines and pioneering humans. It’s a convergence of the worlds of mathematics and music that has never happened in this combination on one stage before – and we’ll take you there.

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SONY DSC

A New Online Platform Gives You Expert Music Tech Training, Free

Every feel like you wish you could go back to school? Or… go to a different school? Maybe you want to learn at CalArts, or Princeton, or Stanford, or Goldsmiths. Maybe you wish Robert Henke would sit at your side and teach you about Ableton Live. Or maybe Perry Cook would teach you synthesis. Or Casey Reas would talk to you about creative coding and Processing. Digital learning gives us some of those chances – without running into campus security, that is. And so we’ve seen some great learning platforms, including iTunes audio courses from Stanford and people like Steve …

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thx

THX Just Remade the Deep Note Sound to be More Awesome

It’s one of the best-known electronic sounds ever – perhaps the best electronic sound branding in history. It made its launch in 1983 – right before Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, no less. But it seems the THX “Deep Note” was due for an upgrade. And that’s what it got last week. THX called upon the original creator of Deep Note, Dr. James ‘Andy’ Moorer, to remake his legendary sound design for modern theater audio technology. Here’s a look at that history and where it’s come.

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In Free App, Circuit Bending Done with Bits [iPhone]

It’s all been done. Or maybe not. Synthesis may not have so many unseen shores – unknown, wild beaches where you can plunk a flag in the ground and shout “I claim this for Spain!” or something to that effect. Instead, we find nuances of sonic possibility in details. We’re building on those colonies. And freed from the dogma of “fidelity” or slavish imitation of instruments (remember, a lot of the synth business had its root in the conservative organ business), the sounds that are coming out delight with new variety. Take this lovely free app, bent.fm. (Currently marked “lite,” …

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Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

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wablet

Make a New Sound: Scanned Synthesis on Wablet for iPad Features Utterly Mad Meshes

It’s a good sign when you need to invent a new verb to describe using a music tool. And so, get ready for some wabbling. Feel like there aren’t any new synthesis techniques? Scanned synthesis is a reasonable example. Fundamentally, it involves wavetable synthesis – producing new sounds by playing back recorded wavetable content – but navigates those sounds by “scanning” through pitch and timbre independently at slow speeds. By doing so, it simulates slow vibrations in the real world, and it leans heavily on the way human physical control and hearing work. The technique was developed by Bill Verplank …

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beagleboard

Music, to Go: The Mobile Music Computer Revolution, BeagleBoard Workshop and Software

Something like this could be the guts of your next digital musical instrument – and it might even mean leaving your laptop at home for the next gig. Photo (CC-BY) Koen Kooi. Mobile computing has already had an enormous impact on music making. A modern phone or tablet (and yes, most often, these come from Apple) is capable of out-performing a lot of dedicated hardware and easily runs the synths and workstations that required state-of-the-art desktops just a decade or so ago. But what if this same computing power – low-energy, low-cost chips – could be in other music gear, …

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borderlandssketch

Borderlands, Amazing-Looking Granular Sampler [iPad, Desktop, Free Source], and Beautiful Sound

How do you visualize the invisible? How do expose a process with multiple parameters in a way that’s straightforward and musically intuitive? Can messing about with granular sound feel like touching that sound – something untouchable? Music’s ephemeral, unseeable quality, and the ways we approach sound in computer music in similarly abstract ways, are part of the pleasure of making noise. But working out how to then design around that can be equally satisfying. That’s why it’s wonderful to see work like the upcoming Borderlands for iPad and desktop. It solves a problem familiar to computer users – designing an …

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continuum_hm

New Instruments That Matter: Four Examples, Live in SF, Really Do Move Music Forward

Richard Lainhart mans the Haken Continuum at an early installment of our Handmade Music series, back in 2007. Meanwhile, in 2011: among many options, four digital instruments challenge you to practice – really – with expressions that are deep and satisfying. Is there anything genuinely new in digital instruments? Isn’t it just a load of repeated novelty, without the ability to actually make useful musical noises? Hasn’t the technology just gotten in the way of the music? Isn’t … (sigh) .. all you see … all you get … (repeat ad infinitum) Even among technologist futurists, skepticism about the iterative …

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