Mixtape Alpha: An 8-bit Stylophone Synth in a Cassette Tape, $42

Electronic instruments really are becoming like folk instruments. US$42 now buys you a small board that you can touch directly, one that’s immediate and from which anyone can coax sounds. You can jam with it, pocket it; it’s affordable and direct and playable. And it all fits in a plastic cassette tape box. The re-released Mixtape Alpha (the first run sold out) looks like a real gem. It’s a crowd-funded run this time – eschewing Kickstarter for the Portland-based Crowd Supply. An ATmega328p-powered 8-bit synth (that is, using the chip that’s also in the Arduino, among others), Mixtape Alpha has …

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Playable 8-bit Game as Promo, and Okkervil River’s Nostalgia-Drenched Wonderlands

The standards for advance promotion of an album may be getting a little … intense. Photos? Track listing? Advance music video? Streaming preview? How about a complete, playable adventure video game in your Web browser, free, with charming graphics and an original chip music soundtrack adapting the songs from the record in 8-bit form? Due out Tuesday, September 3, Okkervil River’s LP “The Silver Gymnasium” isn’t shy about its nostalgia factor. The whole record is a re-imagining of frontman Will Sheff’s 80s childhood. That might be a bit much were the browser game not so beautifully executed. Sheff created the …

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Stepping Up the Groove: Wire and Flashing Light Stop Motion Animation, CC Success Story

Professor Kliq – Wire and Flashing Lights from Patator on Vimeo. It’s digital stop motion – wire, flashing lights, and paper are animated in a crazy-catchy groove in this latest animation from Paris-based director (and CDM reader) Victor Haegelin. Working with music by Chicago electro artist Professor Kliq (Mike Else), the track name is also, conveniently, “Wire and Flashing Lights.” (If that didn’t call for this stop motion treatment, I don’t know what would.) Kliq’s music is released with just this kind of animation in mind, using Creative Commons:

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Mission accomplished. Photo (CC-BY) Thoth God of Knowledge.

Create (Really) Analog Music: Music Video Made on Historic Edison Wax Cylinder

The miracle of recording is somehow no less extraordinary in this digital age – the ability to capture sound, the revolution that transformed music making worldwide, for better and for worse. In fact, if anything, the abundance of digital music is causing some people to rediscover the recording techniques that preceded it. Andy Deitrich of Chicago’s Mucca Pazza writes to share the experience of returning to that means of recording. I love the saturated quality of the sounds you get: it’s really evident how much the medium here colors the sound. Andy writes:

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Mapping AV to Architecture, a Touchscreen Project Puts Participants in Control in Chicago [Video]

Mapping projections to architecture, and connecting music to visual metaphors are nothing new. But many of these projects leave the control to performers; audience members simply stand back and watch. In a project for HP promoting their TouchSmart PCs, interactive artists ceded that control to participants. Instead of the computers being in the hands of the performers, they’re touchable by anyone, for an open, collaborative experience of the work. The project makes use of a number of ingredients. The HP TouchSmart PC provides a big, touchable display, much larger (though less mobile) than a tablet like the iPad. On the …

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Happy Halloween: Exclusive Free Liz Revision Mix, Party in Chicago with Bitshifter

The veil between the living and dead is growing thin, and I… uh, have some free music for you. Sorry, it turns out I don’t have a clever lead for this story, and my segue makes no sense. So let’s get to it! Friend of the Site Liz McLean Knight aka Liz Revision aka Quantazelle of subVariant has put together a special, exclusive mix for CDM of 117-119 bpm musical goodness, excavated from the “_blippy” folder of sketches on her USB drive. Matt Moldover, who has been working on his CD-as-electronic-instrument album, lent his laptop. (Watch him assembling CDs in …

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Obituary: Charlie Cooper, Telefon Tel Aviv; Musical Reflections Welcome

Photo (CC) Jamarr Mays. I’m incredibly saddened to learn that Charlie Cooper, half of Telefon Tel Aviv, has died at age 31. His death on January 22 was revealed by Josh Eustis on the Telefon Tel Aviv MySpace page. We have been so fortunate to tour the world together, while at the same time having a massive amount of laughs at one another’s expense. Aside from Charlie’s singular genius and musical gifts, I can tell you that he was a total sweetheart of a guy, and a loving friend and confidant to people everywhere. His musicianship was surpassed only by …

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MGFest Preview: Audiovisuals, Installations

I’ve just arrived in Chicago for MGFest, the motion graphics festival, kicking off its five-city tour of America. (Side note. The good news for the rest of you not in Chicago: this means over the next few days (and early into next week) I’m finally getting some additional resources on learning Processing for the sold-out workshop I teach Saturday. I’m looking forward to having all of that posted!) Above: Michael Una playing 2008’s MGFest Bent Festival, but let’s make him the unofficial Digital Druid mascot of Sunday night, anyway. If you’re not in Chicago and you see work on the …

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MGFest Motion Graphics Fest Coming to Chicago, US Cities, Starting 1/19

There’s a ever-expanding scene that appreciates digital motion graphic design and art worldwide, but while the US has the awesome research shindig SIGGRAPH, it’s been tougher for the community around digital motion to come together. MGFest has been working to change that. Its first five years have done a lot to promote the best in motion – see the lovely imagery above — but 2009 is the year it explodes, with a year of events focused regionally. By going from city to city, it’s amplifying the best of the art happening in the corners of our geographically-huge nation. And it’s …

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Calling All Visualists: Enter MGFest09, and Here’s a Smart Way to Do Work Calls

Create Digital Motion is proud to be a sponsor of the 2009 MGFest. It’s a huge festival, now covering multiple US cities, covering all aspects of visual technology – including the stuff we especially like, at the convergence of live visuals, VJing, interactive graphics, and music. Now’s the time to enter your stuff, as we’d love to see readers’ work in the festival (and will be sure to cover it). But it’s also worth noting how smart the organizers have been about the way they do the call for works – instead of an elaborate, multi-page specification where you’re suppose …

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