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rePatcher: Make Your Computer a Real Modular, with Knobs and Cords; Pd and Max Right Now

For the last few decades, generally speaking, we’ve had computers, and we’ve had physical, modular, analog gear. Computers are endlessly patchable, but not using physical cords. Modulars use physical cords, but they lack the flexibility (and affordability) of a computer. Now, US$25 and an Arduino can change that. rePatcher is a simple, tangible modular interface for computers. It could work with any software, but right out of the gate it already works with two popular (virtual) patching environments, Max/MSP and the free and open source Pure Data (Pd). You use physical patch cords to make connections, and those connections are …

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Touch to Control: Usine Learns Music Parameters with the Magic of OSC

Touchable tablets may be all the rage at the CES trade show, showcase to consumer-friendly gadgetry. But quietly, developer Sensomusic has accomplished multi-touch control of an open-ended music system on standard-issue PCs and accessories. They’ve pointed the way to just what this mechanism could be. The latest video isn’t terribly easy to see, but it realizes something that has been the dream of fans of the music control protocol OSC (OpenSoundControl). “Learn” functionality lets you touch a control, then assign that control to something in your music software. But because these functions have relied on MIDI, they’ve generally been a …

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Shuffling, Slicing, and Glitching Audio, and Other Modular Max for Live Devices

For fans of slicing, dicing, glitching, reversing, and shuffling incoming audio streams, this Max for Live Device is for you. Shuffler 2.0 is the latest in a series of “modular” Max for Live devices from developer Isotonik Studios. Mappable to MIDI, the suite of Devices focuses on simpler tasks in ways that can be combined. There are interactive Follow Actions, for instance — a feature I’ve long argued should be native to Ableton Live — plus tools for more easily mapping MIDI to envelopes. There’s a convenient Looper. From last week, there’s a module called Smart, capable of mapping some …

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MOTU DP Gets Native iPhone, iPod, iPad DAW Control Free

Mixing, transport, and other shortcuts now appear on Apple mobiles with the newest version of MOTU’s Digital Performer (DP) DAW on Mac. Photos courtesy MOTU. First-party touch control is gradually coming to big-name DAWs. There are plenty of third-party applications that allow control of music software, but until now, we’ve only seen Cubase iC from Steinberg for native control. Anyone who was betting Apple would be first for GarageBand or Logic, guess again – following Cubase over one year earlier, MOTU Digital Performer now comes with bi-directional mixing, transport, and editing features. (This should come as little surprise after MOTU …

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Richie Hawtin Teases Modular iOS Ableton Touch Control at SONAR

Well, I can’t quite see it, but this picture is really flattering. Come to think of it, I sometimes look a little better with a short depth of field, a sharp focus, maybe some haze over the lens. Yeah. That’s better. I don’t even need to shave. Touch performance control on devices like the iPhone and iPad has become increasingly popular, but the question remains: can developers push these interfaces further? Richie Hawtin has initiated a new touch control project and promises more “advanced” control of Ableton Live for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users. Details remain murky – developers …

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Colorful, Touchable, Futuristic DIY MIDI Controller, with Details: Station

Ander sends us his creation, “Station,” a brilliant-looking MIDI controller built on the ucapps.de hardware platform. It could easily have qualified for the kinds of designs in the dreams competition – except he went ahead and made it. He filled it in with RGB LEDs, touch pads, and new SMD-based hardware. The impact of the colored LEDs is something that provides some of the visual feedback of a touchscreen, but with real, tactile control and the satisfaction of using something physical. I challenge the iPad running TouchOSC (or Lemur, or anything else) to a smackdown with this gorgeous beast. Even …

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OSC Files: Play That Funky Music, Hexagons

Didgeridoo from bar|none on Vimeo. You can’t quite dance to it, but bar|none has a beautifully-shot video of a strange, invented instrument constructed with some of the technologies we saw last week. As noted then, new support for OSC in the powerful Kyma sound system means the ability to control imagined instruments in more sophisticated, higher-resolution ways. Just days later, bar|none responded to my post with one of his first experiments. It’s just the beginning of his work, so judge it accordingly – think of the first emanations of a newly-created musical instrument – but it’s a reminder that far-out …

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OSC, Kyma, iPad, and Beyond: Your Networked Musical Future

Connecting stuff is one of the things musicians naturally do with gear. So, there’s really no reason that musical gear shouldn’t network as easily as Web servers. And yet a basic protocol, built largely on existing standards, meets with responses like this: “We’ll support OSC when there’s hardware out there.” “Name one piece of hardware that supports OSC other than the Lemur.” OSC has some major advantages as a network protocol, as a way of connecting software with software, software with hardware, and yes, even hardware with hardware. It doesn’t have to “compete” with MIDI – you can even send …

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Touch: Argos Builds Interfaces for Windows, Mac, and Soon iPhone, iPad, Beyond

Argos Interface Builder, v0.20 from Dimitri Diakopoulos on Vimeo. You know the game: you decide you want exactly 8 knobs and 10 faders. But your hardware interface has 8 knobs and 8 faders. And then you realize you could use 4 more knobs. The appeal of touch interfaces is clear: you get controls that grow and change. So now, a generation of mobile apps is working on giving you that flexibility on touch devices. The iPhone is just the start: now the iPad, with greater real estate, will go head to head with 5″, 8″, and laptop-sized screens running Android, …

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Touch: Meet the Multitouch Guitar – Plus An Open Source, iPhone Solution, Too

As multitouch becomes more widely available, there’s an opportunity to re-imagine all sorts of interfaces. And yes, that includes the guitar. I’m way behind on mentioning it, but thanks to all the readers who spotted the fascinating Misa digital guitar. Strings and frets are each replaced with digital touch controls, and the soundboard touchscreen is set up to control notes, velocity, pitch, and filters. In fact, it makes the guitar more like a keyboard, and less like a guitar. But as with all digital instruments, abstracting the gesture from the actual sound means that you can arbitrarily redefine what the …

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