Mac Pro On Sale Now, Shipping February; What it Brings to Audio Applications

It looks like a machine from the future. It is a machine you’ll only be able to get in the future. And it may be further off before we really see music applications that reach its full potential. But it does paint a picture of a music machine that’s futuristic, and it isn’t so far off any more. Apple today made its Mac Pro tower available – sort of. It seems the massively-custom machine is taking some time to ramp up production, as delivery dates quickly slid to February for all but the first to preorder. But, while the Mac …

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syitcases

SJS-ONE: Open, Arduino-Based Synth, with Crazy Cases and Web Troubleshooting

SJS-ONE is an 8-bit synth that you add to an Arduino board, making it ideal for hardware and firmware tinkerers and lovers of unique monosynths. But we’ll give it bonus points for two other reasons. First, it has some really bizarre cases available as add-ons, which look a bit like punk birdhouses. (Birdhouse squats? Hot rodded bird tenant buildings?) Second, in a really clever move, they help you troubleshoot hardware issues with a Flash animation. It could make it clear even to a complete beginner how to use a multimeter (a measuring device that checks electrical connections). The Arduino design …

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Cloud Music Making, Just Vapor? Amidst Shifting Businesses, Standards, Aviary Closes Shop

Doing creative work in the browser has, over the years, delivered a fair bit of hype. What it hasn’t delivered is a tool with any real apparent staying power. And as we watch the meltdown of creative Web poster child Aviary’s music suite, caught between changing business models and evolving standards, there’s reason for concern. That’s not to say that Web-based music making can’t work. But it certainly isn’t working like this. Aviary had been a key example of powerful in-browser editing tools, with an extensive suite of tools built in Flash. But Aviary switched their business model, focusing instead …

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diasporanoise

Diaspora: On a Fledgling, Open Social Network, Users Gather to Make Noise

Diaspora is an attempt to build a social network that contrasts with the locked-garden vision of Facebook, one built on open source software, open exchange of information, and distributed – rather than centralized – communication. I already let slip that we’ll be rebooting our own social endeavor, Create Digital Noise, in the new year. But it’s also telling to see the first noises emerge on Diaspora. If you wrote off this service when it was in early testing, perhaps overwhelmed by its ambition and crowd-sourced nature, you may be pleasantly surprised. As users gain invites, the service is surprisingly stable …

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otomata

Otomata, A Generative Online Sequencer; Apps versus Web, Plus SuperCollider Goodies

Behold the power of the Web: composition ideas become a tool, a tool becomes a means for even casual users sharing musical sketches, and a browser toy can be a window into a Turkish sound artist breeding musical DNA like some people breed strains of flowers. Otomata is a simple generative online grid-based sequencer, owing to a number of step sequencers and Toshio Iwai’s Tenori-on, with some beautiful circular visualizations of the resulting sounds. I’m late in posting it, but in a way, that’s a good thing – in the time that this sequencer has spread around the Web, it’s …

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Isle of Tune: City Simulation as Music Sequencing, Soon to Leap from Browser to Mobile

A music score is, in essence, a way of making space into time: traversing notation from left to right and top to bottom, you move through a series of events. So, why not make that spatial map an actual map, as in the familiar, isometric interactive cityscape popularized by Will Wright’s classic game Sim City? Isle of Tune does just that: lay out trees, houses, and city streets, and you sequence musical patterns as virtual islands. It’s available right now on the Web, powered by Flash – Chrome users can even get a one-click install via the Chrome Web Store. …

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L1003797

Music Made with NYC Subway Schedules; HTML5+Flash, Q+A with Artist-Developer

Alexander Chen transforms the steady pulse of the (actual) New York City subway system into gentle, generative string plucks in his new interactive piece “Conductor.” The visual effect as well as the musical one is mesmerizing, as the subway is viewed in the abstract, sparse geometries of designed Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 diagram. New York subway nerds and long-time residents will note that the schedule itself is from 1972, hence the appearance of the K train and the elevated along Third Avenue (the 8), one I imagine we wish we still had. http://mta.me/ The work is also a glimpse of the …

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Augmented Reality CDs into DJ Tools; DJing with SoundCloud, Clock Faces, More

First Augmented Reality Music CD :: Latrama :: Love & Projects :: from musikame on Vimeo. Want the CD as object to come alive again? Here’s yet another approach: make it into an input for webcam-based augmented reality. The album “Love & Projects” by Latrama uses the packaging to trigger augmented reality “DJing” of the playlist. Put the CD in front of your webcam, head to a browser-based tool, and you get turntable controls for playing the album live, complete with scratching, pitch, delay, filter, and volume controls. There are more downloads available, as well. Of course, this raises the …

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Social Recording: SoundCloud Adds iOS, Web Record Buttons, More Social Integration

SoundCloud for iPhone from SoundCloud on Vimeo. While it’s easy to focus on one platform or another, a profound trend in 2010 has been toward sharing media in the cloud. The basic concept is as old as the Internet, but from applications like Instamatic for photographers to syncing storage to tote around documents on iPads, this has been a year in which the server-shared media seemed to become a bigger part of our lives. Sound could be next. Aptly-named service SoundCloud has added a big, red “record” button both to an updated iPhone app and the Web browser-based dropbox. That …

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A Powerful Music Tracker in Your Browser, Completely Free

Party like it’s 1991 – your browser’s invited. A full-blown music production tool has been directly ported from the desktop to the browser using Flash, modeled with a tracker-style interface for fast, precise music editing. (In fact, a tracker, thanks to speedy entry from a QWERTY keyboard, seems to me an ideal interface for browser music. Trust me – it looks arcane at first, but trackers can be extremely friendly music interfaces. Just be prepared to look like a total geek once you’ve worked it out, because it’ll look even more arcane to everyone else) The resulting tool comes with …

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