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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JACK for iOS: Audio and MIDI Between Apps, High Performance, Free

iOS now offers lots of options for using apps together, but – that’s part of the problem. The solutions are piecemeal. There’s inter-app MIDI. There’s Audiobus, which does audio, but requires the purchase of a separate app. Then you need something else for sharing data. And something else for sync. Confused yet? (Hey, it’s easy, just remember: Audiobus, WIST, AudioCopy, AudioPaste, Core MIDI and inter-app MIDI, and… yeah.) By the time you’re done, you’ve actually had to buy new apps just to get things working together, and you have a number of different technologies just to do some basic things …

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Ardour, For the Rest of Us: Free DAW Gets Plug-ins, MIDI, More as 3.0 Arrives

Ardour has long been software that you probably wanted to want to use. Fully free and open source, supporting standards for plug-ins and file interchange, Ardour is software that arguably the whole industry needs to exist. That is, even if you don’t use it, you might benefit from having a reasonable competitor that pushes openness and interoperability, that can innovate with open source code as much as commercial options do. Now, Ardour is here in a version you may actually want to use. It’s not that there haven’t been people getting work done with Ardour in the past. (Don’t forget …

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Make a Pd Patch, Run it on Android, iOS, Right Away: Two Free Solutions

Now that tablets and phones have the computational power our main studio machines did just a few short years ago, there’s every reason to look to these gizmos for music. For a person patching in Pure Data (Pd), the free graphical sound environment, it means you can liberate the stuff you’re making from your computer and put it on something portable. If you don’t mind firing up Eclipse or Xcode, you can make your own music apps with libpd, the embeddable version of Pd developed by Peter Brinkmann and others. But, if you don’t want to write a line of …

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3D Printed Records: We Talk to the Creator About Her Work, 3D Printing Potential

3D printing is transforming digital information into objects in ways we haven’t seen before. However, a project has been making the rounds through online media partly because it recalls a familiar object: the musical record. Amanda Ghassaei’s 3D-printed record sounds crude, but it makes clear the connection of data to printed, physical form: take a music file, make a printed album. Amanda writes: I’m a really big fan of your blogs and I thought you might like a project I’ve recently published on instructables: I managed to actually print a working (although quite noisy) record on a 3D printer. I …

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Beautiful apps, high-performance apps, both possible on Android. Now, if Google could only turn "possible" into "practical."

Good Things for Android: Beautiful SphereTones, Low-Latency SPC Sketchpad

Owners of Android phones and (if you’re out there) Android tablets have had a rough time of it as far as music apps. A lackluster market combined with inconsistent-to-awful audio performance have kept the bulk of mobile development on iOS. But if you do have an Android phone or tablet, we’ve got a beautiful app you can enjoy. And if you’re lucky enough to have one of a handful of specific Nexus devices, you can use the very-powerful SPC Sketchpad with low-latency support. In fact, these two apps represent a microcosm of what’s possible. Creative apps that aren’t latency-dependent can …

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Mudit is an Inexpensive, Open Source Gestural Loop Performer [Pd + Arduino]

Knowledge on how to build dazzling new interfaces for music is spreading. And because musical performance depends on sharing knowledge and practice, that could have a transformative effect. Literally as I’m walking out the door to leave for a showcase of gestural performance in Berlin, I get a chance to look at this team from Argentina. They’re purposely giving away the plans for their open source live performance instrument, built in turn with open source hardware (Arduino) and software (free graphical development environment Pd).

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Get involved in the development of the open source WretchUp app for mobiles. With iOS funded, the next goal is extra features - and Android support.

Last Chance to Support Mouse on Mars’ WretchUp App, Help Make Extra iOS Features, Android Support

We’re in the final hours of the crowd funding campaign for Mouse on Mars’ handheld effects instrument, WretchUp. We’ve been really amazed at the level of support – we quickly reached our funding goal for the iOS app’s budget. But now we’re pushing in the final hours for just a bit more funding. It’ll allow us to do a dedicated port to the Android platform, if we can reach $7000 or more. And we’ll have additional budget for adding extra functionality beyond our current plans (something we’ll be discussing with backers as we work). indiegogo.com/appwow We’re really excited about the …

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Wow… Mouse on Mars, Charting New Sonic Worlds in Two New Releases [Listen]

It’s a good time to be following this duo: Mouse on Mars seem to have entered a period of explosive creativity. And so it’s doubly a pleasure to be working with them now. As I hear younger artists complaining that they feel confined in musical expression, here are artists unafraid to explore strange, wonderful sonic worlds. What’s special about two new releases is that, while they still represent a tremendous amount of effort and labor, they’re also more spontaneous. As the press announcement that went out with WOW noted, the five-year project that was Parastrophics now gives way to music …

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Grains as Instrument: Free and Open Source Hadron Synth, Now VST, AU Plug-in [Videos]

Synthesizers can sometimes seem stuck in a groove, an endless, repeating parade of identical virtual analog synths. If you want something different, the Hadron Particle Synthesizer could fit the bill. It’s a synth. It’s a sampler. It’s an effect. It’s a synth that can morph from synth to sampler to effect. Based on granular synthesis, sound is transformed into new sonorities, sometimes liquid, sometimes stuttering, layered here for even more complex sounds. Earlier versions ran in the sophisticated, evergreen sound-coding tool Csound, and in Max for Live. But if you felt left out, a new version now works as a …

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