Melodyne Isn’t AutoTune: New Video Shows Drum Loop Dynamic Manipulation [Tutorial]

Apple, Steinberg, Cakewalk, and others have begun adding audio manipulation tools to their DAW, and some of those tools are decent enough in a pinch. But there still isn’t any one application – as a plug-in or built into a DAW – that offers the amount of audio tweaking powers as Celemony’s Melodyne products. The folks who have pushed their “Direct Note Access” really have achieved an unprecedented amount of note-by-note control over sound. These edits are commonly associated with pitch correction, and indeed, it’s clear a big part of the market for this software is being able to tune …

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Down with Sequencers: The Age of Glass Finger-Drums Through Their Beats, Live [Videos]

For years, drummers have had to look sideways at drum machines — boxes with step sequencers blinking, out to replace them. With acts like The Age of Glass, tables are turned. The sounds are electronic (Access Virus, Machinedrum), but the playing is all live. Drummer Nick Froud plays all those parts without any sequencing, fingers blazing. The band has a self-released (Bandcamp) EP out this week, as well as some videos of them working away at the studio. The results are jammy, trippy, grooving good times. Great to see the studio work and recording, but this must be a lot …

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Meganome: A Massive Super-Monome Capable of Jazzy Rhythmic and Melodic Robotic Feats

Minneapolis-based artist Patrick Flanagan is no ordinary drummer or electronic musician. His rig does everything the hard way – and the results are fantastic. With robotic drum kit mechanically playing acoustic drums, his fingers command complex feats of rhythm and melody from an oversized, custom grid controller. There are idiomatic musical possibilities unlocked by software he’s built in Max/MSP and Java. Repeat increments, of the sort found in drum machines, produce complex rhythmic figuration on multiple drums – partly because, unlike the dumber implementation on drum machines, it’s possible to play multiple repeat increments at the same time. (In other …

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Do It With Lasers: R&D Experiment Makes Drum Microphones, Triggers More Accurate

Sennheiser Element – Laser Drum Microphone System from Andy Greenwood on Vimeo. We cover a lot of experiments that make an interesting proof of concept, or that make performance, frankly, more difficult but in interesting ways. Here’s an idea that might just work. You know, like might actually make an existing technology better. The idea is this: rather than clumsily using gates to isolate individual drum mics, use lasers (“lazorrrs”) to measure vibration. And if the demo video is to be believed, it works damned well. You can use this to get better recordings, or use it to transform a …

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Stepping Through Music, Interactively: Drum Kits and Monomes Navigate Notes

Left to right, beginning to end, the same in a loop — there’s no reason music has to work this way once you’ve got a computer. But if you associate generative or algorithmic music with some sort of magical black box machine you switch on, an automaton spitting out notes while you sip tea and stroke your beard, think again. Here are two examples that use interactive structures as a way to make music more live, not less. One is the latest creation from the ingenious mind of monome creator Brian Crabtree (who, perhaps unexpectedly, seems to have redirected the …

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Bleep Drum, $60 Hackable Drum Machine Based on Arduino, On Sale

Don’t call it “lo-fi.” Call it “rad-fi.” At least, that’s what Austin, Texas-based creator Dr. Bleep says about his latest, the Bleep Drum. We saw the Stone’s Throw Records / Dam-Funk commission Dam-Drum 2.0 last month, but it sold out almost as soon as we mentioned it. The Bleep Drum is a sibling to that drum machine. There are some adjustments to the design, but most significantly, this one isn’t a limited edition – you might actually be able to get one of your own. It’s simple, hackable (with pins onboard), Arduino-based, and grungy enough to be fun. And as …

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Playing Live, Dangerously: Mouse on Mars as Augmented Band [Video]

When it comes to live performance, this might be the year of living dangerously. There’s not one answer to the question of how to play live, but as we consider the possibilities – and the risks of playing live – Mouse on Mars is one terrific case study. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma are joined by drummer/vocalist Dodo Nkishi. Since part of their setup is playing live as in Ableton Live, Ableton shot a video mini-documentary of their performance rig earlier this year. It’s an intensive setup, but you might just glean some ideas for how you play live. …

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Apple II Gets a New Drum Machine: DMS Drummer, Now with Video Tutorial-Demo

Who says technology doesn’t last? The Apple II platform will be 35 years old in April, yet it’s still going strong. It even gets a brand-new drum machine software, launched this month, complete with eight wavetable-based drum sounds, and a clever sequencer. The surprise: the whole combination, delivered on a 5 1/4″ floppy disk, can be stunningly usable, as in something you’d actually want to make music with. Not bad for a computer you can typically pick up for a few bills at a flea market. (Emulators can also run the software, so you don’t even need hardware. Of course, …

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What Really Makes Rhythms Human? New Research Investigates Perception, Preference, Tech

Machine rhythm: the steps on a Roland TR-808. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Brandon Daniel. What makes rhythm human? Music technology has introduced machine rhythms, perfectly-calibrated to electronically-perfected grids, yet we know that natural playing is more organic. Or, that is, we know we have certain intuitive preferences. How do those preferences and rhythms really work? And what does that mean for music technology? Fascinating new research investigates more deeply, using – you know, science! Here’s the summary of the research itself: Although human musical performances represent one of the most valuable achievements of mankind, the best musicians perform imperfectly. Musical rhythms are …

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Punched-Hole Tunes: Ritornell’s Musicbox Business Cards, as Delicate and Magical as the Music

Experimenting with twinkling timbres made both by acoustic and electronic means, the music of Ritornell (the duo of composer Dr. Richard Eigner and pianist Roman Gerold, Austria) is effortlessly expressive and spontaneous. Little wonder that that spirit could translate even to a small object. Designer Katharina H√∂lzl made business cards into both a signature identity for Ritornell and a physical manifestation of how they play their music. They’re not just a physical gimmick, though: audiences get to participate with music making in the production of live, performative loops. (Sadly, no site for Katharina – you just have to get hold …

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