Remixing a Playground in Ableton Live

Sonic and musical inspiration are never far away, especially with a microphone in hand. For the latest example, Ableton Live meets a local playground. Jason Richard, aka “bassling,” used field recordings in the park to compose a track. He writes: I’ve been recording playgrounds and remixing the sounds in Ableton Live to create tracks. To help people understand what they’re hearing, I’ve been making short videos showing some of the process. It’s an idea I’ve had in mind for a while and the centenary is deadline to work towards. I’m inspired by the Italian Futurists and Alan Lamb, who mentored …

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Kitchen Contact Mic Chemistry: Make a Mic from Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar

Now, aside from making fake volcano simulations, you can actually get some recording done with this stuff. Science! Photo (CC-BY-ND) Rodrigo Huerta. Need a new mic to play with? Maybe you should raid your kitchen pantry. London-based musician Leafcutter John writes us to share a detailed tutorial on cooking up new mics from common household ingredients: Real Sound Cookery – Make a contact mic with baking soda and cream of tartar. [leafcutterjohn.com] That in turn is inspired by a terrific, detailed video by our friend Collin Cunningham for MAKE:Magazine (Collin’s also been a regular at our Handmade Music series in …

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Sound Inventor Diego Stocco on Ideas, Sonic Memory; New Cinematic Oxygen Tank Soundscape to Hear

Compose and sound designer Diego Stocco, seen often in these parts, has an endlessly-inspiring approach to inventing new timbres. That process of, as he puts it, “bringing music into the process of creating sounds” is sometimes destructive – as in, sawing an instrument in half destructive. It seems often at the edge of obliterating the object, but sliced thinly onto the side of unleashing its auditory potential. Sometimes, it’s gentle, putting an ear to the world. But his work is always exploring new frontiers of possibility. Diego himself comes to the microphone to explain his philosophy and background in a …

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Led by Deru, a Wonderful Band of Artists to Head to Iceland to Make a Soundtrack, Film

A merry band of complementary filmmakers, photographers, and musicians, a curated ensemble perfectly fitted to the landscape, are heading to remote Iceland to make images and a musical soundtrack inspired by the landscape and its people. Photographers Tim Navis + Kim Høltermand and film collective Scenic are heading up the visual component, while composer and electronic producer Deru has assembled the musicians. Improvisation is intended to be a guiding force, say the creators. With the assistance of a community organized on Kickstarter, it’ll also be crowd-funded. In addition to the obligatory, pretty photo book and prints and boxed set of …

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The Sound of Speed: Inside the Award-Winning Sound Effects for Chrome Speed Tests

What does speed sound like? Sound designer and electronic musician Joseph Fraioli, aka jafbox, was charged with giving a campaign just that feeling. The spot, directed by Aaron Duffy and promoting Google’s Chrome with some clever tricks and photography, has been a huge award winner in sound design because of just how masterfully he pulled off the job. First, the accolades: winner of the 2011 cannes lion bronze award for sound design winner of the 2011 clio gold award for sound design winner of the 2011 one show silver award for sound design d&ad 2011 in book nomination for sound …

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Portastudio for a New Age: Zoom R8 is Recorder, Sampler, Interface, Drum Machine, Control Surface

Zoom’s R8 promises to be everything you’d ever want to take with you on the go in one device. If they’ve pulled it off, it could be more invaluable in your backpack than even your computer. The R8 is a little bit of everything: stereo recording, multitrack editing, a 2×2 audio interface, an 8-voice sampler (complete with little pads), a drum machine (seriously), an effects box with modeling, a guitar tuner, a metronome, and a MIDI control surface. The big surprise: all of this is compact and lightweight and runs without a wall wart – USB power or batteries will …

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Remixing Times Square, with Mobile Field Recordings

The armies of the earbuds are everywhere, as people – since the dawning of the Walkman – tune out their surroundings. What if, instead, your surroundings became soundtracks? That’s the question posed by a mobile app research project, partnering between New York’s Times Square and a creative team at the Georgia Institute of Technology. UrbanRemix invites users to capture geo-tagged sounds with a free iOS and Android app, then to string them together into sound compositions on the Web (as seen above): Download the app http://urbanremix.gatech.edu/ Map + remix interface There’s a great write-up in the local press here in …

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Kaleidoloops: Beautiful Box for Collecting and Layering Sounds by Critter and Guitari

In a week awash with new music gadgetry, Kaleidoloops are a reminder of the electronic musical object at its most basic. It’s a box for collecting and making sounds. The Kaleidoloop contains basic digital audio recording capabilities – 16-bit / 22,050 Hz mono WAV. You can now save those recordings on an SD card, with up to 32,000 tracks and – if you upgrade beyond the paltry included 256M card – hours of sound. What makes it interesting is its simple controls for manipulation. Knobs control speed and direction, and you can switch the speed control between a continuous mode …

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Useful Music Tools for Your Android Phone, and a New Sketchpad Joins Groovebox

Despite being a musical technology enthusiast, I really do think of my Android phone first and foremost as a communications device. I imagine I’m not alone, just as I’d guess that people who want a mobile music maker may look first at the iPhone. But that raises the question, are there tools you’d install on an Android phone purely because they’re genuinely useful? What tools would you use in your music, or even refuse to be without? There are actually a surprising number of tools out there on Android for music-making, though quality can be quite variable. So here, I’ll …

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Mobile Recording with SoundCloud: More Powerful, Less Buggy, Android + iOS, FourSquare Locations

Photo (CC-BY) John Fischer/stickergiant. Sometimes things look interesting even before you can fully grasp just what they mean. Such is the case, I think, with what’s happening with SoundCloud’s on-the-go tools. Now, back in the beginning of this service, I predicted it’d become the Flickr of audio, and I wasn’t alone. But it’s becoming something else, something that really involves mobility. The SoundCloud crew are out at South by Southwest, as good a gathering as any for the intersection of Web nerd culture with music and film. And they have something to show for it, too: they’re unveiling new Android …

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