Electronic Music, Unplugged: Battery-Powered Jams and the Decade of Power

Photo (CC-BY) Anton Fomkin. No endorsement intended. (I like Energizer, too.) If the last decades in technology were about speed, this decade promises to be about power. I don’t mean horsepower: I mean power as in electricity. From concerns environmental to practical, power is now a real variable. After years of misreading Moore’s Law to mean that all technology would forever double in speed (that would be absurd, and wasn’t what he meant), even those lusting after gadgets have begun to think about power consumption, too. People want longer battery life and leaner energy bills – and psychologically, there is …

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Save that Old PDA: Run Reware, Play Pd Musical Creations, Android (OFFF, NYC)

Reware your PDA from Hans-Christoph Steiner on Vimeo. Give a hoot – don’t pollute with your old mobile gear. Make musical creations with it instead, powered by Linux. Sure, there are wonderful things happening with mobile music applications on platforms like the shiny, new iPhone. But remember how technology was supposed to democratize access? Lots of us don’t have the money for a new iPhone or iPod. And how many of us have outdated Pocket PCs and Palms collecting dust? How many of these highly toxic devices get thrown away? Linux to the rescue. One of the biggest hits of …

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NPR Piece: Global Warming Makes the Ocean Louder

A really striking piece in NPR today, via Gina Blaber’s Twitter (thanks, Tim O’Reilly): Humans Turning Up Volume In Oceans [NPR “Science Out of the Box”] A new report shows the way in which sound travels through the ocean has been impacted by global warming. A growing community of artists are working in media like sound to address environmental challenges. But it seems the planet is making some “sound art” of its own. Curious to hear what people think of the report.

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Plant-Reactive Robots Play Bamboo, Chinese Instruments at Royal Botanic Garden, Scotland

THREE PIECES sound installation from Ziggy Campbell on Vimeo. Digital music is extending more deeply into the physical world, thanks to sensors and robotics. The result: gorgeous acoustic sounds as part of the lexicon. When we last spotted Simon Kirby and the Found Electronics collective, they were taking the tangible interface out of electronic music and applying them to ambient sampled sounds out in the woods. Now, they’re talking to plants and channeling traditional Chinese instruments. Found Electronics: Three Pieces Project Page Simon writes with some of the details:

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Journal: The Mind Meld Audiovisual Retreat in New England

Last month, I was lucky enough to head to a gathering of music and visual artists at the studio of artist Duncan Laurie in Jamestown, Rhode Island, accompanied by performances in Providence and Boston. Among the cast: Richard Devine, Josh Kay (Phoenicia/Schematic), Steve Nalepa, Todd Thille (Synesthete), Vidvox’s David Lublin, Josh Randall (Robotkid/Harmonix), Aerostatic, Brian Kane (former Emergency Broadcast Network), and Ooah (Glitch Mob). And then there were the rocks and coconuts. Duncan Laurie and electrical engineer Gordon Salisbury have been sonifying natural signal sources, hooking up vintage radionics equipment and connecting rocks and bananas and such to signals. Richard …

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Wrist Synths: Whisper-Quiet Wearable Wristband FM; Solar-Powered Beats

Tired of all those DIY electronics projects making an awful racket? This one is whisper-quiet. You may have to turn up your volume to hear it at all. Project creator Andrew Benson (maker of many wonderful things for Cycling ’74) writes: I just finished sewing together an FM synthesizer that lives on a wristband and is controlled by a little brown button that serves as a knob and a pair of small pressure sensors made from conductive fabrics. The whole thing runs off of an attiny45 chip, which is a really cheap AVR microcontroller chip that I’ve programmed with some …

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CDM Asks: Digital Music + Beautiful Weather? (Go Play On a Lake!)

CDM traffic has taken a sudden plunge. Now, it could be all those digital DJ stories (um, sorry about that), but based on past experience, we tend to see a dip in readership whenever the weather turns lovely (which also happens to coincide with the end of the semester, a big deal for the many readers in school). I, for one, love the outdoors (despite what you might suspect reading this site), and absolutely encourage the trend! (And if you’re just studying for exams, I’ll send you positive Brain Energy.) But that got me thinking. I think for creative health …

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Logic Environments: Connect Logic to Nintendo NES via MIDINES

Logic’s Environment, a modular layer in the program for creating custom configurations, isn’t well known to many Logic users. But if you can get used to its slightly unusual interface, it’s capable of some really powerful stuff. You know, important music stuff. Like connecting Logic to your Nintendo NES game system. Jonathan Flugel writes: The MIDINES evironment was created based on this chart: http://www.wayfar.net/0xf00000_midi_chart.php The environment allows for control of the 5 channels of synth/audio that the NES [supports] Here are the 5 parts: 1-2 – Pulse Synthesizer waves 3-4 – Triangle/Square waves 5- sample channel Since this is also …

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Call for Help: Logic Environment Round-Up

With the release of Logic Studio 8, several soundware houses released custom Logic Environments / sound packs. Taking advantage of Logic’s unique modular engine, beneath its shiny new skin, has some real potential. I’m trying to organize a round-up of everything out there, so if you represent a company doing commercial Logic development — or have some Environments you built yourself for personal use you’d like to make available to others — let us know! Community development has worked well elsewhere (sound packs for Ableton Live, ensembles for Reaktor, patches and externals for Max, ReFills for Reason, to name a …

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