Robert Henke Hacklab + RA Exchange: Hard Work, Solving Creative Crises, and Lasers

We get to continue the conversation around Robert Henke’s process and his magnum opus laser-show that closed CTM Festival on Sunday. Will Lynch from Resident Advisor joined us in the MusicMakers Hacklab to sit down with Robert. Here, Will talks to Robert about his music, his approach, and how he tackled the challenge of making laser shows more than just a gimmick. Robert is an incredibly-disciplined person – he basically took just this time off from the studio to come talk to us. And that showed in the extraordinarily prolific, detailed work in Lumière. Punctuated by visual rhythms, each split-second …

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A Naked Man Plays Robots and Finds Love; A Quadriplegic Finds a Voice in Music

Man & Machine: A Naked Robotic Love Story from Jesse Roesler on Vimeo. Making music with machines, we all become somehow more than human. We are people, augmented by technology. Those technologies strip us bare, expose us as naked emotionally … sometimes, literally. Through the eyes of one filmmaker, here are two parallel images that drive that point home. Last week at Berlin’s CTM Festival, we began a week-long hacklab by touring the Generation Z exhibition with curator Andrey Smirnov. One thing Andrey repeatedly emphasizes about the revolutionary Russian artists who came together in the 1920s is their belief in …

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Robert Henke on Lasers, Structure, and Musical Choices; Intuition and Limitations

Give Robert Henke a computer, some lasers, and some time to make his own tools as well as his own music, and wonderful things result. In a new video (German, with English subtitles), he gives a master class not so much in technology as the philosophy of using that technology. Robert Henke – now increasingly in the public eye under his full name and not “co-founder, Monolake” or “co-founder, Ableton” attached with it – has for years gone way beyond the club floor. Even apart from experimental club music or elaborate multichannel audio experiments, you see his work accompanied by …

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Glass Music: Google Glass Meets Wine Glasses, Chamber Music Conductor

Google Glass continues to see musical ideas. Alexander Chen, whom we saw composing violin ensembles with Google’s wearable tech, now turns his attentions to literal glass – wine glasses. In “Glass through Glass,” we hear a beautiful, ethereal ensemble of wine glasses resonating in harmony. Yes, you could do this with other devices, but glass does make the recording experience seamless, as would any wearable camera. Cornell conductor and professor Cynthia Turner, too, is beginning with Google Glass primarily as a point-of-view camera. But she intends to go further, reported The Verge earlier this fall. She’s streaming the conductor’s perspective …

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Techno as Science: Nicolas Bougaïeff Explains Max for Live, Meta-Music, Steve Reich [Video, Theory]

Got a doctorate? Got a doctorate in techno? Got a techno track with a 12-tone row? Artist and researcher Nicolas Bougaïeff (also of developer Liine) shares his latest work with CDM. It’s about the track, yes, about the music video, about techno and dancefloors in some sense. But it’s also about process: Nicolas shares some of the way the machinery of his track was built, in its realization in software, in musical composition, and underlying research. And we also get a terrific music video that helps render some of this geometric theoretical thinking, courtesy Berlin-based motion graphics artist Vicetto. (See …

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You’re Doing it Backwards: REV Builds Sound Library Around Reversing Stuff

Soundware remains a massive market. Products fall in the CDM inbox daily. There’s just not so much to talk about – even when the quality is exceptional. There are good products out there, and sampled libraries are especially essential for anyone working on tight deadlines – no matter the joy of recording material, anyone working for markets like TV or film likely needs some assistance satisfying clients in a hurry. It’s just that there’s so much out there, there isn’t always a story. Output is a new sound house out of Los Angeles that found a way to tell a …

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Part Sculpture, Part Sound: New Work by Tristan Perich, Lesley Flanigan [Videos, Listening]

From top: Tristan Perich’s new piano with 1-bit masterpiece, Lesley Flanigan surrounded by her creations. All images courtesy the artists. Sound may be invisible, setting the air around us aquiver with little visible evidence. But the objects that make sound are physical, and no electronic music is virtual. Composer/musician/sound artists Lesley Flanigan and Tristan Perich continue to explore that material substance of sound, calling attention to the stuff of the media in its purest form. Lesley’s work focuses on the basic technique of amplification; Tristan’s on digital electronics in their rawest sense, 1-bit songs of microcontrollers in chorus. The two …

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aleph Soundcomputer: Interview with monome creator Brian Crabtree and Ezra Buchla

aleph is something of a curiosity: it’s a dedicated box uniquely designed for sonic exploration that isn’t a conventional computer. It comes from the creator of the monome, but while dynamic mapping is part of the notion, it is the first monome creation capable of making sound on its own. The monome is a controller that uses a grid for whatever you want; aleph is a self-contained instrument that makes any sound you want. In review: aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything But this isn’t only a story about some specialist, boutique device. It’s a chance to …

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Digital Notation, Like You Imagined It’d Work: Draw Into iPhone, iPad, Android

Through years of struggling with mice, keyboard shortcuts, and the like, stacks of hand-written notation alongside the computer, this was what I imagined – and probably you, too, if you work with handwritten scores. NotateMe promises to take hand-written notation from your fingertip or stylus and recognize music, from simple lead sheets to full orchestral scores. For those working with scores, it’s what you dreamt devices like the iPhone would do from the beginning. NotateMe is now in public beta, and we hope to talk to the creators, but wanted to get your feedback first about what you’d like to …

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Singing Circuits: Who Needs Synths When a No-Input Mixer Sounds This Gorgeous?

Hypnotic and chant-like, this Christian Carrière composition hums and vibrates with what sounds like a chorus of electronic synthesizers. But that’s not what you’re hearing. It’s actually all a “no-input mixer” – a rig that makes use of controlled feedback rather than any other source of sound. It is, as Montreal-based composer Christian describes it, the sound of the circuits inside the mixer singing. And while you may associate feedback with angry distortion, here it’s beautifully tranquil, the rich tones of the circuitry themselves transformed into oscillators. The patterns and layers are all made with a looper. 35-minute mix:

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