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 …

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Broken Camera Flickr Set

Yeah, I know, most of you probably read Digg, but this was simply too good to pass up: Flickr user Integral Lens has posted a wonderful set of in camera glitch effects. I’ve seen quite a few variations of digital camera glitches, but these take the cake simply for being so different, and aesthetically interesting. Lovely. Check out the gallery for inspiration Has anyone seen anything remotely like this? Have a special piece of gear thats broken in just the right way? Be sure to check out Malfunction Junction for more photos gone awry. Previously: Beautiful Camera Footage from a …

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Knobs, Tubes, and Soundmakers from Collin

Tubes rock, and not just the vacuum tube kind: from Collin Mel’s photostream. Collin Mel brought some wonderful soundmaking projects to Handmade Music last week. Face-to-face community is a beautiful thing (if loud, crowded, and prone to elevator failure — I like to think the Etsy elevator was slashdotted). But it’s also nice to keep up with Web documentation of projects. Collin’s got a great blog with updates on his latest, and some lovely Flickr photos. Included: boxes with lots of knobs that make sounds, and giant, clear, tube-shaped enclosures. And extra points for hacking together an amp and calling …

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Flickr Screen Grabs: Infinite Video Theremin, Odd, Free Musical Interfaces

Tommy responds to our call for screen grabs of software with this fascinating Jitter patch: He writes: used lloopp and jitter runtime to make this instrument that uses a firewire camera as a source for effecting sound generators. i like this shot because of the video feedback. What’s lloopp? Glad you asked. It’s a live improvisation / looping / performance tool built in Max/MSP and totally open source. That makes it ideally-suited to use if you’ve found other live performance tools to be overly restrictive on their own. lloopp Speaking of free, unusual interfaces, Tommy also sends along this elegant …

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Soft Flickr Finds: Obscenely Complex Bass Effects on a Single Channel

As the last couple of decades have led to making music in software, some of the materiality of physical instruments is lost. No matter how much you love your hardware synths, odds are you spent at least a little time looking into the void of a computer screen. And to the public, much of that is obscured by the back of a display. Instruments face outward; computers face inward. Enter online photo sharing. Screen grabs can make software rigs visible. For example, someone’s been busy putting together a monster bass channel strip in Ableton Live: Contained: the synth source is …

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Handmade Gems from the CDM Flickr Group: Sound Destruction and C64

While on the subject of wonderful handmade musical instruments, Max (and Audrey) aka farnea have been posting some fantastic creations to Flickr over the past few months. They recently cropped up on the Create Digital Music Flickr Pool. The Sound Destruction Unit: DIY modular synth made putting together a lot of things I’ve built in the last times. There is a Weird Sound Generator, a Crackle Box, a random pattern generator, some filters (cutoff, square to sine), a gate controller, a Vactrol based controller, optical sensors and body contacts, mixing and power stuff. Orange Commodore 64 Synth: A lovely, custom-painted …

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Visualist + Rock: Photo Dispatches from Jaymis, on Tour with Bobby Flynn

One of the many terrific snaps by photomaven LauraLovesToPhotoBands. Pray she shows up at your next gig! We look forward to the day when visualists on music tours are norms, rather than exceptions. And no, playing lots of pre-rendered footage and/or hiding someone in the back of the house does not count. Fortunately, our own Jaymis has been lucky enough to hook up with a very lovely musician on tour in Australia, and has been right up onstage during gigs and playing live visuals that are tightly integrated aesthetically and in terms of timing with the music. This has had …

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Reed Ghazala’s Bent, Magnetic-Patching Yamaha Keyboard; More Bad News for DIY

Reed Ghazala, popularly accepted as the Father of Circuit Bending, writes us with his latest creation: Long coming, here’s a finalized version of my Magnetic Patch Bay on the Fractal Oscillator prototype that I published last spring/winter (2007). [It’s] a Yamaha PSS-6, circuit-bent, and with my magnetic patch bay added on the rear panel. The idea goes back to when I used magnets to hold a wire in place, bridging the 2 body contacts on my first bent synth (the Odor Box, c. 1967) so I could adjust the other controls (freeing my hands from the contacts). This patch system …

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Processing Workshop Day 1: You, Too, Can Learn to Code

Some sketches from the first day of Ben Fry’s Processing class here at Anderson Ranch. What was striking to me is that you really can cover the essence of setup and coding syntax in a day, even for people not familiar with programming/Java. You’re instantly translating code into visuals, so there’s immediate feedback — not a big slog through how the environment works before something actually happens. Since I have spent some time with Processing, I took the opportunity to try to push some of the examples in a different direction. Speed is not necessarily my forte (with anything, really), …

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Maker Faire 2007 in Photos

Maker Faire this weekend had plenty to offer fans of DIY musical gear, from Theremin karaoke performances to wild, home-built instruments from independent DIYers and academics. I spent most of the weekend tied to my booth, making music by scanning barcodes, manipulating a simple infrared sensor and touch sensor, and running live interactive visuals in Jitter. (The last turned out to be a huge hit with babies and their parents. Seriously.) But I did get out a bit; my impressions are documented on Flickr: Maker Faire 2007 Flickr Photoset If you were there and have some images of your own, …

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