Beatboxing, Crowd-funded Wearable Open Source Beatjazz: Onyx’s Transformation Continues

When we last saw Onyx Ashanti, he was speaking of a grand vision to remake himself into a music-performing Tron. Now, the elements of that vision are coming together, with a crowd-sourced funding campaign that ends today, Friday. Update: Apparently after seeing this story, IndieGogo extended the funding deadline for five days, with the new deadline Thursday, December 1. I knew Onyx back when he was playing more conventional wind controllers. Now, that fingering arrangement is freed from the virtual wind instrument, handheld and movable through space. Because of the plans to open source everything he’s making, you might yourself …

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Brazilian Rhythms Meet Wireless, Wearable Drums in an Artist-Engineer Collaboration

Music made by machines need not turn its back on traditional musical skill – least of all when you literally strap the machines on the back of a master musician. In a fusion of Brazilian tradition and modern wireless, wearable sensor technology, Kyle McDonald shares with us a project that makes drums into an interactive suit. Kyle has plenty to say, including all the details on how to do this in case it inspires a project of your own, so I’ll let him take it away: The project is a wireless drum suit that I built with Lucas Werthein for …

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Onyx Wants to Make Himself Into Helmeted, Wearable-Music-Tech Tron, With Your Help

A helmet and hand units make up the TRON performance system for a style of music artist Onyx Ashanti calls “beatjazz.” And he’s well on his way to making a reality. All images courtesy the artist. Onyx Ashanti is insane – in the special, essential way that makes certain brilliant musicians. An experienced busker, having crossed from the US to Berlin, he’s a rare virtuoso of wind instruments and electronic improvisation, the kind of musically-free soul who can just let loose live. But his latest project really crosses into some new territory. He’s making himself into Tron. No, really – …

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A CDM Holiday Gift Guide: Musical Goodness, All Under $200

Photo (CC-BY) JD Hancock. We users may sometimes gripe, but music technology gives us an impossibly wide variety for which to be thankful. From free (as in beer, as in freedom) to high-end and spendy, from software plug-in to acoustic instrument to solid-state electronics to toy, you’d run out of time and money long before you ran out of exceptional, music-inspiring choices. I think the passion people feel for music is the cause: economics and logic be damned, we’re all glad to make music part of our life, both as makers and consumers. Tools aren’t everything – it can be …

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Ready-to-Play, Tuned Beer Bottles, and Other Design Experiments with Sound

From label to physical shape to the boxes they come in, these beer bottles have been reimagined for musical aims. Cheers! All images courtesy the artist, Matt Braun. What if blowing tunes on beer bottles was raised to the level of musical science? Through even the mundane medium of packaging, design can transform the everyday. DJ and designer Matt Braun of Philadelphia, collaborating with Chris Mufalli, use labels to tune the level of beer remaining in the bottle for musical results. Pitches are printed on the labels, allowing you to exactly match the liquid inside to a pitch you want, …

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Bendable, Musical Shoes for Nike, and How They Were Made

Shoes are the new turnables. Or at least that’s the conclusion you might reach after watching a new Japanese campaign for Nike’s Free Run+ running shoes. Apparently wishing to tout the bendable qualities of its new footwear, Nike enlisted sound artists to transform its product into a musical instrument. The shoes get plugged in, switched on, and mixed up, battle-style, as they sense when the shoe is flexed or moved in space. And yes, everything you see in the video is real: the shoes really are controlling digital sound live. We even have the Max patch to prove it. Lovers …

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The Man-Robot with an iMac Head, and Handmade Music Amsterdam

The Body, The Circuit, The Computer and The Voice: robot cowboy from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo. If you want to look for some of the roots of live electronic musical performance, STEIM is one place to start. Founded in 1969 by a group of Dutch composers (Misha Mengelberg, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, Dick Raaymakers, Jan van Vlijmen, Reinbert de Leeuw, and Konrad Boehmer), and led by the late “founding father” Michel Waisvisz, it has remained an important hub for inventing music technologies. It was one of the first places that gave an indication that these kind of experiments could extend …

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Last-Minute Meta-Gift-Guide: Music and Electronics Gift Guides from the Blogosphere

It’s either the last chance to rush delivery on gifts, or the first chance to start thinking about picking up some music tech projects for yourself to keep up with musical New Years’ Resolutions. Either way, it’s time to give a shout out to some of the great gift guides that have been going up around the Interwebs. And nicely enough, there’s a strong emphasis on cheap and DIY projects, meaning these can be ideal even in tough economic times. SX-150 button mod from Collin Cunningham on Vimeo. MAKE: Blog > Music Makers’s Gift Guide Assembled by our friend (and …

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Sexy Computer Nerd: Rucyl Mills’ Wearable, Over-the-Shoulder MIDI Controller

It’s not animal-friendly, constructed of black leather and snakeskin, but it is fashion-forward. It’s Rucyl Mills’ over-the-shoulder, wearable MIDI controller, complete with pads, knobs and faders (looking mysteriously like they were liberated from an M-Audio Trigger Finger). Rucyl describes her creation: I built the elektro-07 so I could control the sonic and visual parameters of my live performances without having to look deep into the eye of my laptop, hunched over in computer music stance. I’m still learning how to play it.. Software wise, it runs a maxMSP/Jitter patch smoothly, connected to my laptop by a long usb cable. Major …

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Ridiculous NAMM News: Football Helmet Guitar

NAMM supposedly stands for the “National Association of Music Manufacturers.” It’s purportedly a trade show for music instruments and technology. But, for brief but glorious moments, “NAMM show” translates in English to “ridiculous musical stuff.” Just how ridiculous? We’re talking guitars made out of football helmets. Just in case you think you might extract any respectability from this $299 novelty guitar, there’s more: interchangeable face masks. Multiple colors for matching your favorite team (you’ll have to provide the logos — guess they didn’t pony up for a license). A built-in speaker, just in case an amp looks too, you know, …

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