RYAT's production setup.

In LA, looking to what new tech means for music makers

This week, the eyes of the music world will look at what’s new in toys. But how about looking further, to how technology is used? Going deeper to what’s happening in live music and music making is the essence of our new series Practice Space. CDM is excited to host a living-room style gathering of musicians and performance artists in the heart of downtown LA, and we hope you’ll join us – in person and online.

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A Toe-Tapping, Dancing 3D-Printed Robot Plays Music

Making Music With Poppy from Pierre Rouanet on Vimeo. It can “learn” to tap its toe and bob its head. And then it can make sounds as you move its arms. It’s a robotic interface for music – a bit like playing with a very smart toy doll. To show off its interactive/interfacing abilities, the team behind Poppy used music. Poppy is a robot that can be produced with a 3D printer. All the hardware and software are fully open source. The idea – fused with cash from the EU’s European Research Council for funding science and creativity – is …

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Molding Sound with Flesh: Biophysical Muscle Music Keeps Evolving

Ominous | Incarnated sound sculpture (Xth Sense) from Marco Donnarumma on Vimeo. For all the interfaces that involve turning knobs or waving your hands in the air, artist Marco Donnarumma wanted to go deeper. His work pulses with his flesh, listening deep inside muscles for every slight impulse. And in Marco’s hands, it seems the air itself can be molded into sound – not with ethereal hand flapping, but as though the ether itself is made of dense clay. It’s been nearly two years since we spoke with Marco about his work, and the wwirord he coined for this kind …

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Music and Performance, Made On The Spot: Hacklab, Open Call in Berlin

Inventing technological hacks in short time is one thing. At CTM Festival in Berlin, we want to push collaborative participants to go further. First, invent the technology for performance. Then, invent the performance – and be ready to perform publicly – and it do it all in just one week. It’s time again to join a MusicMakers Hacklab. Last year was the first week-long event hosted with CDM, and the first at CTM Festival. CTM makes a perfect venue, a brilliant and packed showcase for adventurous sound (and in parallel with another digital media fest, Transmediale, in the same city …

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Dance and Music: Convert Kinect to MIDI, Free Beta on Mac and Windows

When we first saw movements and dance converted to music in February, it must have sparked some interest. Developer Jesper Nordin tells us popular demand has prompted him to release a free (as in beer) version of his Gestrument Kinect controller. With a beta download and a Windows or Mac machine, you can translate Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera to MIDI events you can use with instruments. Previously (including mention of the iPad version of this idea, if you don’t fancy prancing about in front of a camera): Gestrument, Shaping Music with Kinect, Touch, and Acoustic Ensembles [Videos] Now, you can grab …

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Note from the Editor: Music for Dance, Music and Movement

“Dance music” is a term that has lately become maligned all over again. And the press is often fond of deriding the music of machines, as if drum machines and computers are sentient alien technology that climbed out of the smoldering remains of a wrecked UFO rather than the handiwork of someone’s imagination. For me, though, these two materials – movement and machines – are the reason I do what I care about this field, exploring new sounds in a way that is human and gestural, whether the music is in an experimental concert at 8p or a party in …

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Nonstop from Iceland, the perfect soundtracks to your winter. Photo (CC-BY) James Cridland.

Cool Yule: Iceland’s Bedroom Community Spins Wintry, Eclectic Releases [Listen]

It’s easy to be bleak about new music releases, the vast quantities of new work spreading before you in their sameness like a blizzard – plenty of particles, but all a white wash. When feelings like that hit you – or the depressed mood that might strike during midwinter in the far reaches of the Northern Hemisphere – there’s a solution. You can warm yourself with good friends in intimate surroundings. And that’s what Iceland’s Bedroom Community collective and label are all about. This group has literally assembled a group of close friends for “intimate” musical connections. Getting in on …

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If Your Body Were a Moog: Experimental Voyager Sounds + Contemporary Dance Portraits

six short stories about… from Vlaicu Golcea on Vimeo. The ubiquity of the classic subtractive synthesizer could make you think that its sounds are limited to familiar sounds. But it simply ain’t so. Part of why I think these designs endure is that it remains possible to coax new musical gestures, to voyage through new timbres. And so, with a small dose of Reaktor, Romanian composer/musician Vlaicu Golcea coaxes beautiful and surprising sounds from the Moog Voyager. In a strangely synesthetic experience, these sounds match perfectly the choreography. I’m often a fan of creating musical spaces that don’t touch each …

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From Beautiful Ambient Modern Dance to Dubstep, Gestures to Music in Kinect (Download the Tool)

It started as some compelling demos or proof of concept, but it’s plenty real now: the tools for translating movement, gesture, and dance from the body to interactive music march forward. Empowered by Microsoft’s Kinect and an artist-friendly toolchain, even a single, clever developer can do a lot. Sound designer, music producer, and Max/MSP developer Chris Vik of Melbourne has been one of those busy early pioneers, with an incredible tool called Kinectar. So, the tech is cool and shiny and impressive: what about the actual music? And, even more importantly, what if all the hand waving and moving about …

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Music Box Creations, with a Pd Score Made from Dance

In a twist on generating music from dance, artist and coder João Pais sends us Pd-generated scores, transformed into twinkling sounds by music boxes. As it happens, the music boxes are the same featured in Friday’s story on Ritornell. The piece is RISS, a “performative installation/concert” produced outdoors in Berlin, with a 30-meter score generated by Pd from movement. João describes his work: “The patch was simple, it analysed the sounds, and made a score using data structures. then I printed the score, and spent lots of hours puncturing all the holes.” The video documents those sounds, in a project …

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