richardselfportrait

Richard Lainhart, Prolific Composer and Artist, Dies at 58; Links to His Work

Richard plays Handmade Music in 2007; full video at bottom. I’m saddened to learn of the death of Richard Lainhart, the New York-based composer and artist who has been inseparable from the experimental electronic scene for many years. I knew Richard to be a gentle and imaginative soul, an inventive technologist, someone capable of dreaming up endless soundscapes and auditory worlds. He was also a great contributor to the CDM community, including playing one of the early installments of Handmade Music at Etsy Labs in Brooklyn. (Photo above; full video at bottom.) I think it’s fitting to illustrate Richard with …

READ MORE →

A DIY iPad Audio Dock, with Instructions, from Father of Circuit Bending Reed Ghazala

What are those alien, otherworldly sounds coming out of the iPad? That’s not GarageBand. It’s what happens when Reed Ghazala, the father of circuit bending some decades ago, meets the iPad. Not that it’s his first encounter with products from Apple – he’s been approaching that company’s hardware as he does everything else, prying unexpected life with modifications and experimentation. But just as “circuit bending” need not be seen as “breaking,” here, too, Ghazala’s modifications make the device more humane, more musical, and – for all the shouting about how the design is perfect – far, far more usable. A …

READ MORE →
chalkpattern

Flickr Find: Harmonic Patterns on a Playground

Photo (CC-BY) Jan Tik. We celebrate 3.14, PI day, with some selections of mathematics, music, and visualization… Sometimes the results resemble scores, sometimes toys, and sometimes – more rarely – real musical instruments. But part of why I love computing as a window into music is its ability to visualize music’s mathematical beauty. I happened across this image from Flickr. It’s a chalk pattern on pavement for a children’s game (I’m not actually sure what game). But the math-compelled photographer found in it musical, harmonic intervals. I’ll have to sketch a little Processing and Pd design that plays with this …

READ MORE →

CDM and Creative Commons “Non-Commercial” Images

(CC) Giulio Zannol. Sampling and online reuse are enormously common in our culture today. But if you really believe in making some of that culture freely accessible, it follows you must also make free licenses explicit. Simply taking something because it’s there isn’t fair to the person who created the content, whose rights should come first, and it doesn’t help advance the cause of free content. If we want content to be more freely accessible, we need to give first priority to those materials explicitly licensed for free use. All of that is to say, we need to obey the …

READ MORE →

DIY Compact Music Workstations: Magnets, Eee, x0xb0x, Recycling

Very often, computers and music gear greedily consume whole corners of the room. Here’s a tidy alternative, modest in space consumption as well as in cost. So, what’s so wonderful about DIY creations by our friend Sasa Djuric (aka fibra)? It isn’t just that his stands are recycled from monitor stand parts. It’s not just because the free ReBirth for Windows and an Asus netbook make for a wonderfully affordable computer music station. It’s not even that his cases for the x0xb0x 303 clone and a MIDIbox project are beautifully executed, or that magnets on the stands more effectively support …

READ MORE →

SoundCloud Here: Like Flickr For Music?

  SoundCloud: The Tour from SoundCloud on Vimeo. SoundCloud, an online sharing community for sound and music, is now hours from public launch. I’ve been playing around with a closed beta for several months, and have to say, I’ve been really impressed. SoundCloud isn’t the first attempt to provide places to share music files with others, but previous attempts have been lackluster when it comes to easy sharing, features necessary to make music listening more enjoyable, and upload capacity. Most importantly, none has accomplished the community “stickiness” that has been the cornerstone of successful media services like Flickr, Vimeo, and …

READ MORE →

Flickr Finds: Free and Cheap Mac, Windows Music Setups and Other Inspiration

Jumahat Leman’s old PC laptop hosts a delicious menu of free VSTs. Photo via Flickr; used with permission. An old PC laptop could be relegated to the closet or (worse, since it’s highly toxic) landfill. But filled up with tasty freeware plug-ins, it’s a virtual studio full of tools and oddities. Via the feast of gear that is the CDMusic pool on Flickr, our friend Jumahat Leman aka uncle bigbrown artfully captures his budget software setup, described as follows: A 4+yrs old Acer laptop (a desktop replacement to be exact) Ableton Live 5.01 w/lots of freeware VSTs using same earphones/headphones/ToneportGx …

READ MORE →

Two Crazy Ableton Live Sets, with Mario and Animation; Send Us Yours!

We asked to see inside the Ableton Live sets you use in live performance, and you’ve responded with an overwhelming variety of responses. There are plenty of very practical submissions, from beginners and advanced users alike, which should give us a real sense of the ways in which people are playing Live as an instrument. Naturally, there are also some more unusual entries. At top: Mark Gutierrez has used the Live arrangement grid as a palette for animated pixel art, with 8-bit game characters from Space Invaders and Super Mario Brothers dancing across the screen. At bottom: Manuel Palenque has …

READ MORE →

Handmade Music Strikes NY Yet Again, Thursday, 11/15; Your Projects Wanted

Eric Johnson’s musical wall of switches captivates the crowd at the last CDM + Make + Etsy Handmade Music night at Etsy Labs. Handmade Music, the semi-regular evening of DIY musical oddities brought to you by CDM, Etsy, and Make Magazine, will mercilessly descend upon yet another peaceful Brooklyn evening. Expect an informal, free party + show and tell + science fair featuring self-made electronic musical projects. Already confirmed for the lineup: The MIDI Pick, a pressure-sensitive DIY digital guitar pick by Roy Vanegas Mystery musical controllers from Eric Singer, the mind behind the world-infamous LEMUR, an educational outlet in …

READ MORE →