Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = Standalone Grid Piano Practice Machine, Boots in 10 Seconds

A standalone grid musical instrument? Done. And it can be a new way to venture into the worlds of harmony. Marc “Nostromo” Resibois is back with another clever Raspberry Pi hack. We saw him last fall, beating KORG to the punch with his own – digital – MS-20 mini, using the Pi. It’s still appealing, in that he has some other synth ideas the analog recreation can’t muster. This time, he’s made a standalone practice instrument for grid players, using a Novation Launchpad and the Raspberry Pi computer. Some shopping around for a Launchpad could mean you could put together …

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aleph Soundcomputer: Interview with monome creator Brian Crabtree and Ezra Buchla

aleph is something of a curiosity: it’s a dedicated box uniquely designed for sonic exploration that isn’t a conventional computer. It comes from the creator of the monome, but while dynamic mapping is part of the notion, it is the first monome creation capable of making sound on its own. The monome is a controller that uses a grid for whatever you want; aleph is a self-contained instrument that makes any sound you want. In review: aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything But this isn’t only a story about some specialist, boutique device. It’s a chance to …

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aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything

monome, the iconic grid controller that launched them all, has always been a device tethered to a computer. Without a USB connection to your machine, it is an attractive but functionless box. The latest monome project, the result of a collaboration between Brian Crabtree and musician Ezra Buchla (yes, there’s a relation) is different. It is a computer, with all the functions that entails, but in a box designed for sound. It has: A brain: Two of them, in fact – a DSP chip (BF533 blackfin, 533 mHz with 64 MB SDRAM) and an AVR32 for control. Audio connections: 4 …

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Android Gets Patchable Audio Everything: Free Patchfield Architecture [Video, Resources]

Android audio users, developers, patchers, and musicians just got a huge gift. Patchfield is, as the name implies, a space in which you can connect synths, effects, and sound modules in an open, modular environment. It’s a free app you can use on its own, as well as a free architecture developers can use in their apps. For DIYers and developers, it’s already looking like something you’ll want to try right away. (End users may want to wait for now, but the idea remains cool.) Inside an app (as a service), Patchfield provides a set of tools developers can use …

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Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.

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Web-Connected Analog: Synths Render Sound From Your Browser, Remotely

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog. But they just might know you’re an MS-20. Hector Urtubia – aka Mr. Book – has connected his synths to the Web and set them up for the world. Submit a music pattern, and send it off to the synths to be rendered to sound. It’s like Kinko’s, if they did analog synths instead of printers. Hector explains more: I created a web app (http://analogalacarte.com) which allows you to create a synth pattern, submit it and it will get rendered live in hardware on one of my synths at home. I …

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Csound + iOS: Coming Spectral App Looks Amazing, How to Build Your Own Apps

And they say computer technology for music is “disposable.” Csound has a direct lineage to the very first digital audio synthesis ever to run on computers, counting decades of history. It remains an elegant way to make any instrument, event, or musical creation you can imagine, all with a free tool. And now, a Csound file can be baked right into an app for iOS, if you so desire. Whether or not you’re ready to tinker with code, that means more musical goodies for your sonic amusement. And the next in line is something called csSpectral. Boulanger Labs has been …

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In Berlin, Mixing Learning with Hacking and Jamming, All With Free DIY Tools

CDM and yours truly team up with Berlin arts collective Mindpirates next week for a learning event we hope will be a little different than most. The idea behind the gathering is to combine learning in some new ways. The evenings begin with more traditional instruction, as I cover, step-by-step, how you’d assemble beat machines, instruments, effects, and video mixers using free software (Pure Data and Processing). But, we’ll go a little further, opening up sessions to hacking and jamming, finally using the event space at Mindpirates to try out ideas on the PA and projectors. By the last night, …

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clip mode and drill

Beyond Listening: Ninja Tune Launches Ninja Jamm, Opens Artists to Mobile Remix [CDM Exclusive]

What if you could do more than just consume music as a passive listener? It’s a question that has fascinated musicians ever since the dawn of digital technology. Now, a very big label is releasing an app that provides an answer to that question. Ninja Tune – and, crucially, founder Matt Black of Coldcut – are going to mobile platforms with an app that does far more than simple remixing. It can let you radically transform some of Ninja’s artists, even going in a direction that might be considered instrumentalism. CDM contributor Matt Earp has been quiet in these parts …

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Fractals, Bots, Nodes, and Patternists: Onyx Ashanti’s Cyborg Music Meets the Ensemble [Guest Post]

Get ready: from one more-than-human musical cyborg, a robotic horde of beatjazz artists. Onyx Ashanti isn’t satisfied just augmenting his own body and musical expression with 3D-printed, sensor-laden prostheses. He’s extending that solo performance with bots that crawl around and gesture for feedback, then – inspired by the organic beauty of fractal geometry – is binding together performers with his system in a networked system of nodes. Just don’t call it a jam session. Call them patternists. If this sounds crazy, it is: crazy in just the way we like. But amidst this hyper-futuristic vision of performance, Onyx also writes …

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