Pianist and Piano, Disconnected, in Composition for Kinect and Grand

The piano is a conventional grand, but with digital interface and camera, the composer is separated from it by air, playing without touching. It’s a Theremin interface for a keyboard instrument. Piano post-modern? Gestural post-digital? Whatever it is, in a work composer Benjamin Martinson composed for player piano, computer, and Kinect camera, the piano work holds up as musical content – compositional gesture, not just gimmicky digital hand-waving. Martinson himself looks oddly isolated and awkward, a man making rough mime gestures in unseen water, molasses, and wind. I can’t tell whether this is more about our expectations of human movement, …

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Gestrument, Shaping Music with Kinect, Touch, and Acoustic Ensembles [Videos]

Swiping through clouds of timbre and melody, using Gestrument is an experience of a different musical animal. Jesper Nordin and Kymatica / Jonatan Liljedahl created the iPad version, available now for ten bucks. But it’s worth looking at that side by side with Gestrument for Kinect, as the same metaphors can translate across input methods. Both employ a kind of meta-composition – instrument as conductor of musical structures, more than an object for exclusively solo expression. What’s especially nice is hearing these digital, synthesized environments meld with acoustic instruments. The solution may not convince everyone yet, but there’s clearly potential …

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Full-Body Music, Live: AV Kinect Performance, Complete with Beer Bottle [Video]

ETHNO TEKH | live at Enig’matik Vibrations [Melb,Aus] 2012 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. You’ve seen impressive tech demos and promo videos with Kinect, perhaps. But here’s a real, live performance with a crowd. (Best moment: an audience member walking in front of the camera. Breaking the flow like that oddly makes the show feel more real.) Ethno Tekh is a dubsteppy AV performance with a flow of beats and images. Now, we’ve heard all the criticisms of Kinect as musical controller – its fairly high latency and broad gestures mean it can’t quite compete with acoustic instruments or more …

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Reactable as Artist Instrument: On Mobile, Live, and Tangible

Milivingroom.com presenta Carles López-Reactable from Milivingroom on Vimeo. Can the Reactable be artistically meaningful, as well as technologically impressive? New performances, and new releases – interactive “label” releases for your iPad/iPhone and updated hardware for those of you wanting to try the whole experience yourself – might just answer that question. Listen to designers of futuristic musical devices talk about what they hope to create, and a common theme recurs again and again. They want to make musical instruments – something you’d practice, something for which there would be virtuosos and performances that would knock your socks off. It’s tough …

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Music Performance as Real-Time Special Effect: Kinect Jamming Gets More Futuristic

The V Motion Project from Assembly on Vimeo. It’s all real – in a manner of speaking. And it’s all real-time. But just what is a live performance made with cameras, gestures, and projection? It’s worth watching The V Motion Project and pondering those possibilities, amidst the flashy visual eye candy. It’s certainly optically impressive. It’s music made to be watched (and, in the video, filmed with iPhones and whatnot). Watch a second time, and you wonder: as we reach a new peak of maturity, decades into alternative interface design, what will come next? To say that this is a …

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Arm Tracks: All-Body-Controlled Ableton Live, with Kinect, Brings Shirtless Musical Innovation

As it happens, hunching over your computer does not center your body and mind. So, drawing from yoga and other practices, Adriano Clemente is getting his whole body into the act of making music. While Kinect is not a perfect solution for every vision application, either in tracking capability or latency, it is stunningly good at following your skeleton through space. And here, using moderated, slow-moving motion, the body can navigate musical worlds with applomb. With apologies to everyone staying up late at night working on tracks in your undies, it’s also a convincing excuse to perform music without shirt …

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Tunes, in Drops of Color: Design Project Mixes Minimal Notes with Audible Hues

Perhaps it’s the sense of detachment that comes from long hours spent staring at screens, peering into pixels and abstraction. But whatever the reason, when experimenting with design and music, creators seem increasingly drawn to simple, physical interaction. Somewhere in the mysterious play between senses, between seen color and unseen sound, they look for intuitive relationships. Designers Hideaki Matsui and Momo Miyazaki send in the latest adventure in induced synesthesia. Students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, they use a camera to connect color to sound. audible color from Momo Miyazaki on Vimeo. Full description:

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A LEGO Step Sequencer, Made with a Camera and Code [Video; Open Source Code]

Beat Bricks – A LEGO Step Sequencer from superquadratic on Vimeo. There’s something about that feeling of snapping a LEGO brick in place, a tactile connection to childhood memory. So, while it’s perhaps neither necessary nor terribly practical, this rig that turns a LEGO board into a step sequencer is somehow irresistible. And, like any good hack, it’s a chance to learn and discover – one that, thanks to freely-available code, is shared. The ingredients: a camera, Ableton Live, and some code for analyzing the camera image and translating those events into MIDI messages Live can turn into sound. It’s …

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Visual Music: SketchSynth Lets You Draw an Interface with Marker and Paper, A Brief Drawn-Music History

Today, I’m in London doing a hands-on workshop on visual metaphors for music, and covering various topics filed under “synesthesia” at Music Tech Fest. It seems appropriate, with the subject matter on the brain, to revisit the topic of visuals and music in a series of posts. When you make hardware, with knobs and faders, you’re constrained by physical space – the amount of room on a circuit board, the radius of a knob cap, the size of your fingers. But before you get there, the first step is to sketch an idea. Imagine if you could do that with …

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Make Music with Anything: junXion Universal Send-Receive for Mac [Video Tutorial Round-up]

“So,” you say, “I’ve got a … and I want to connect it to a … to make music. How do I do that?” One strong answer to that question, if you’ve got a Mac, is junXion. Developed by the landmark audio research laboratory STEIM – a hotspot in Amsterdam that for years has been imagining new ways of making music by connecting things to other things – it got a big update recently. It takes lots of the inputs you might imagine (joysticks, mice, touchscreens, MIDI, OpenSoundControl, audio, Arduino-powered hardware and all of its sensors, and video sensing) and …

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