A Quick Jam in Arcade Music Gaming, Making Synchronized Beats

So, electronic musicians and dance music makers just push buttons, huh? Actually… why not? There are certain parallels between the synchronized, quantized grids of computer music and video games. Rhythms, aesthetics, and even interface have evolved in tandem. Early games even hard-coded synthesizers and scores into the same circuitry that made the music, and each has made its impact on the other. Game designers keep toying with this concept in game design. I gave a talk on interactive music in gaming last week at Berlin’s A MAZE Indie Connect. But here’s one person at that same festival who did one …

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From Gestures to MIDI: Geco Promises Music Applications for Leap Motion

Here we go again. Touchless hand gestures have been part of electronic musical performance ever since the Theremin first hummed to life almost 100 years ago. And those gestures embody the same challenges and promise. We have the ability as humans to think spatially, in three dimensions, and to have a tight sense of control via our muscles of gestures in space. We use gestures to communicate and to manipulate our world. Those same expectations can be disappointed in electronic systems, however, as they lack tangible physical feedback and may misinterpret our intentions. It’s easier to play with these ideas …

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clip mode and drill

Beyond Listening: Ninja Tune Launches Ninja Jamm, Opens Artists to Mobile Remix [CDM Exclusive]

What if you could do more than just consume music as a passive listener? It’s a question that has fascinated musicians ever since the dawn of digital technology. Now, a very big label is releasing an app that provides an answer to that question. Ninja Tune – and, crucially, founder Matt Black of Coldcut – are going to mobile platforms with an app that does far more than simple remixing. It can let you radically transform some of Ninja’s artists, even going in a direction that might be considered instrumentalism. CDM contributor Matt Earp has been quiet in these parts …

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Connecting Your iOS Apps: Why Both Audiobus and JACK Can Succeed

It always has to be complicated, doesn’t it? You just want to sit on your couch with your iPhone or iPad and finish some music, by recording that drum machine and a bass line into a multitrack song in a different app. And then, after months of this site saying the way to do that was something called Audiobus, everyone is suddenly talking about something called JACK, too. Ah, standards. All of this had some wondering if JACK even has a shot, with Audiobus already out there. Even Apple has come onboard, as of last week, with the announcement that …

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What NI Was Teasing: Monark Minimoog-Modeling Synth, Remade Battery, in New Komplete

Native Instruments has been teasing new instrument software in recent days, and now we get to see what they were previewing: a new virtual-analog monosynth and a remade version of their drum sampler. But, hold on, before everyone yawns and leaves the building – there’s reason to pay attention to this news. First, yes, there is something notably absent in today’s announcement. While NI is making Komplete, their bundle of their extensive stable of software instruments, available for preorder, there’s still no sign of a big upgrade to Reaktor. The fact that the Monark video showed Reaktor patching may have …

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As a Musician Loses Her Sight, A Rush for Music Apps for the Blind [Hack + Listen]

Take a good, long look at your computer screen. Now imagine you can’t see it. That’s the reality Mandy Matz is facing. At age 36, she’s losing her vision to glaucoma. The musician and multimedia artist makes some beautiful, ethereal music, having cut her teeth on Buzz. Listen to the haunting “Alpha Waves,” her first song. EP by Theory Anesthetic And now, because sight is so deeply connected to the way in which music developers map your brain to software, losing her vision could mean losing her ability to work with digital tools. It shouldn’t be this way. As Paul …

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Sibelius Core Team Now at Steinberg, Building New Notation Tool

Avid’s Sibelius score writer, seen here, no longer has the team that once led its development. But those veterans are now planning something new – and are now working for Steinberg. In the production of printed scores and traditional notation, two tools have loomed large for over a decade: Sibelius and Finale. So, for publishers, composers, arrangers, and teachers who use scoring software, it was a big deal when it became clear over the summer that a reorganization at Avid pushed the core development team of Sibelius out of the company. That raised some protests among users, and serious doubts …

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Make a Pd Patch, Run it on Android, iOS, Right Away: Two Free Solutions

Now that tablets and phones have the computational power our main studio machines did just a few short years ago, there’s every reason to look to these gizmos for music. For a person patching in Pure Data (Pd), the free graphical sound environment, it means you can liberate the stuff you’re making from your computer and put it on something portable. If you don’t mind firing up Eclipse or Xcode, you can make your own music apps with libpd, the embeddable version of Pd developed by Peter Brinkmann and others. But, if you don’t want to write a line of …

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In Berlin, musicians and creators gather to work collaboratively on new means of creation and performance. Imogen Heap and her team are among the participants, presenting an interactive workshop on wearable tech. Photo from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson.

Hack Into MusicMakers’ Future in Berlin [CTM Open Call]

Happy New Year, from the future. It’s too late for sci-fi movies with a dateline of 2013. If you want something futuristic, you’ll just have to get to work. That’s what we’re doing in Berlin at CTM Festival later this month, with some of our favorite artists and engineers and designers and artist-engineer-designers. And we’d love to have you join us. We’ll have live music to enjoy. That includes high-tech original creations — Sonic Robots’ real-life 808 drum machine and band, and Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant with their three-dimensional audiovisual space trip. Tim Exile will treat us to his …

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Move Over, Kinect: Early Gestural Musical Demos for Leap Motion Look Terrific

Microsoft’s Kinect has proven a compelling proof of concept for gestural control of music. But it could be just the beginning of mass-market gestural sensing technologies. The Leap Motion, like Kinect, promises to be affordable gear. Unlike the Kinect, the hardware is even more unobtrusive, and gestural control is more precise and responsive. Given the latency limitations of Kinect, that’s a huge deal for music. And better expression could inspire new musical ideas. We’ve spoken many times before about the limitations of touchless control – Theremins are spectacular but not the easiest instruments to play, and waving your hands in …

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