Sounds Sculpture with Pods and Milk, from Mike Una

CDM contributor, mic flag fabricator, beat bicyclist, and sound artist extraordinaire Michael Una has been up to more sonic magic-making in Chicago. He showed two recent creations at MGFest 2008 — that’s MG as in “Motion Graphics”, not, sadly, the car, though I think sound art would also go deliciously with MG automobiles. On display in Chi-town: giant pods to fill rooms with sound, and a man in a sound-induced, hypnotic blizzard of milk. (Yes, they have winter in northern Illinois.) Snowy Day at MGFest 2008 from Michael Una on Vimeo. Octophonopod at MGFest 2008 from Michael Una on Vimeo. …

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Sequencing Beats with Bubble Gum (Tangible Interface War!)

Squarely in the “not seen at NAMM” category, the Bubblegum Sequencer uses differently-colored bubble gum balls, arranged in a grid of holes, to create rhythmic patterns. It’s not exactly a leap forward for music — you wind up with a pretty simple drum step sequencer — but it does look like fun. Or it would be, except I’d wind up eating the tangible sequencer. Note to self: make interfaces out of something I won’t devour. What’s rather interesting here is that the whole system uses computer vision analysis — a camera spots the gum balls by color. One thing that …

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On DJing, Twinkies

Overheard on Steve Cooley’s Twitter: "I could care less if the dj is mixing with two paper plates and a twinkie" – derek scott Sorry, controllerists. I feel like I’ve had a window into the DJing world after manning the Artificial Eyes VJ rig as drunken people came up and told us they liked the music we were playing. (I attempted to show them the projectors, the identical visuals on the computer screen, the fact that we had neither decks, nor records, nor headphones for that matter . I pointed at my ears, then the DJs, then my eyes, than …

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Video: Creating Monome, Fuzzy Calculators, and Delicious Pizza

The Monome‘s clean-slate grid of light-up buttons has proven a huge hit, not only among musicians but multimedia artists in general. It’s been such an Internet sensation that many people assume some significant company is behind it. In reality, part of the clarity of the design comes from the homemade approach to design and construction, and the personality of its two primary co-creators — Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain. Our friends at Etsy.com — specifically, resident videographer saguirl — got a chance to shoot some video in their loft. “People have used it as a drum machine, sequencer, as an …

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CDMland Banner, Calling SF/Makers for Chips + Music + Fish Party, Music @ Robotspeak

MAKE:Magazine and Create Digital Music will co-host the Chips + Fish + Music Maker Faire Party next Saturday in San Francisco. But before we get to that, I have to share the latest design from CDM’s visual artist Nat Jeanneret (the reason CDM looks the way it does, and the blogger behind onetonnemusic): If you are in the Bay Area, or coming into town for the awesomeness that is the Maker Faire, we would love to invite you to the party. What: Chips + Fish + Music Party, the Maker Faire “after party” Brought to you by: MAKE:Magazine and CDM …

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Hercules Wireless DJ Controller, So You Can DJ and … Barbeque?

Perfect for barbeques, says Hercules. This (sadly, wireless DJ-free) barbeque via Flickr, by Adactico. Yes, just in time for the summer grilling season. Hercules — known in the 80s for their video cards and more recently as makers of a rather flimsy DJ controller — have introduced a toy-like wireless DJ controller. As a serious “controller,” it’s not much good; it’s only slightly evolved from remote control. As a toy, though, it’s quite cute and I imagine someone would have some fun with it. Plug a receiver into USB on your Windows PC, and the Hercules controller wireless manipulates included …

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Free Kitchen Cookware Samples

Great sample libraries usually give you painstakingly-recorded collections of equipment and instruments to which you lack access. It’s a chance to get into someone else’s kitchen. Usually, that isn’t literal. In this case, it is. Welsh’s Synthesizer Cookbook has taken hundreds of samples of cookware from a US$5.95 price to free, providing kitchen sounds for those too lazy to sample your own cooking implements. Actually, scratch that — even if I went and sampled everything in my kitchen, I couldn’t come close to being this exhaustive. Can you tell the difference between a 8.5” springform pan and a 9.5” springform …

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Jell-O As Synthesizer

The trend of gelatinous music interfaces continues. Last week, it was Eric Singer’s Slime-o-Tron, as seen at the Etsy/MAKE/CDM evening. Now, via the increasingly-hopping CDM flickr pool, A*A*R*O*N sends us his Jell-O sound sculpture, looking a bit like an alien brain with wires coming out of it. Jello Sound Sculpture There’s always room for sound sculpture! And it includes a special green eye. This project was part of an assignment for USC’s Media Lab: “Surprise Menu: Eleven Courses in Seven Days” – Second Year Combined One-Week Interactive Design Project. Here’s the brief — brilliant: Each student has been provided a …

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NAMM: Barry Wood’s Legendary NAMM Oddities for ’07

It wouldn’t be a winter NAMM music trade show without the galleries of musical curiosities that are Barry Wood’s NAMM Oddities. Barry’s finds range from the unique and useful to the utterly baffling. Many of the techno geek toys aren’t strictly new, but they are strictly strange and unusual. And there’s plenty of evidence to suggest us digital musicians aren’t nearly as odd as the people who play guitars made to look like women’s anatomy or constructed from hunting trophies. Barry writes to his fans: This was the tenth year that I’ve put myself through the torture that is a …

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Happy Thanksgiving, With All the Stuffing

Man cannot live by synthesizers alone. No, really; even I’m not that dedicated. I keep something to nosh on while I work; don’t you? So, while this time last year I was celebrating the keytar (thanks for the reminder, matrixsynth), here we’ll go off-topic and say that good food and time with family and friends goes perfectly with good music and good technology. I’m sure you’ll agree even if you’re not the part of our readership here in America. On that note, I’m pleased to be able to share Egg and Soldier, a project I’ve been working on with my …

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