Native Instruments CEO, SoundCloud CTO talk music’s future direction

With each creation tool, each means of broadcasting audio via the Web, the force of music technological access accelerates. What was once limited to an elite able to make use of studios and labels spreads to more corners of the globe. But what will that democratization mean? Earlier this summer, I got to speak to two people whose companies have been instrumental in the ways in which people make and share music today. Eric Wahlforss is co-founder and CTO of SoundCloud; Daniel Haver is CEO of Native Instruments. Those jobs keep them pretty busy, so this is the first time …

King Britt pays his dues to Sun Ra. Photo : Keith Hodges.

100 Years of Sun Ra: Space is the Place, Now More Than Ever [King Britt Mix]

In a world of 24-hour news cycles, keynote speeches, new gadgets replacing those from six months ago … dire warnings of melting ice sheets, starving people, the end of energy and food and wildlife … it’s easy to lose site of optimism about the future. Yet there are those sounds that can be futuristic and radical in a way that doesn’t fade. Sun Ra’s records and performances sound as revolutionary today as ever, even though last week the artist would have been one hundred years old. This is a futurism unlimited and un-aging – like space itself. I imagine it …

Cubase iC Air, erm... artists' rendering. Just about got that mix right. (Hold on - red ball. This track is not going to be premeditated.)

Cubase Goes Futuristic: Motion Hand Gestures Control Music in Free Add-on [Details]

When it comes to big, flagship audio tools, you don’t get a whole lot of sci-fi in your software. That makes Steinberg’s announcements this week more of a change of pace. They aren’t the first to talk about virtual studio sessions, or even gesturally-controlled music. But seeing this as an add-on to Cubase, not just an experimental hack, counts as news. And Cubase users can add on those futuristic capabilities in the form of two new tools. You can fly through Cubase sessions with gestural controls using depth cameras (on Windows) or LEAP Motion (on Windows and Mac). And you …


M-Audio, AIR Join Akai, Alesis, Numark at inMusic: Q&A With New Owners, and a Timeline

M-Audio honored its Midiman roots with an anniversary edition of their (quite useful) MIDI interface line. Photo courtesy Avid. So, you own M-Audio and/or AIR stuff. You want to know what this means as Avid sells those makers to a new owner, right? M-Audio and AIR (formerly Wizoo) this week end their time as subsidiaries of Avid, and take on a new life at a parent entity now called inMusic. (That company has been known to us for some time as the home of brands like Akai, Alesis, and Numark, among others.) There’s a business story here, of course – …


Subcycle, Insanely Futuristic 3D Music Interface, Reaches New Levels of Pattern and Sound

Compare the complex model of what a computer can use to control sound and musical pattern in real-time to the visualization. You see knobs, you see faders that resemble mixers, you see grids, you see – bizarrely – representations of old piano rolls. The accumulated ephemera of old hardware, while useful, can be quickly overwhelmed by a complex musical creation, or visually can fail to show the musical ideas that form a larger piece. You can employ notation, derived originally from instructions for plainsong chant and scrawled for individual musicians – and quickly discover how inadequate it is for the …


Looking Beyond MIDI, What’s the Best Way to Represent Musical Notes Digitally?

Speaking in Hamburg to a terrific group of assembled locals from a variety of design backgrounds. And yes, this is the other part of my life behind me. I just seem to generally skip the years 1700-1985. Go figure. The history of music and the history of music notation are closely intertwined. Now, digital languages for communicating musical ideas between devices, users, and software, and storing and reproducing those ideas, take on the role notation alone once did. Notation has always been more than just a way of telling musicians what to do. (Any composer will quickly tell you as …


Tell Us Your Musical Technological Dreams, Get A Chance to See Them Realized

Ready for some blue-sky, 35,000-foot-altitude thinking? Photo (CC-BY-ND Andres Rueda. Want a flying car? Dream of the flying car. Build the flying car. A competition I’m hosting with Digitópia, the musical-technological community of Porto, Portugal, extends to readers worldwide a challenge to dream up the digital musical instrument/interface/creation you want. Got something practical you wish could be built? Got something impractical and bizarre? Either way, articulate it in the best way you can — images, words, videos, mock-ups, stop motion animation, beat poetry, whatever you think is best — and send it in. We’ll share the most interesting entries, and …


Mainstream Multi-Touch is Coming, And It’ll Rock for Music

Video: Multi-Touch in Windows 7 When I reviewed JazzMutant’s Lemur at the end of 2005 (printed in the February 2006 Keyboard Magazine), I wondered if what we were really waiting for wasn’t a computer screen. At the time, I wrote: There’s no question that multi-touch touchscreens represent the future of computer interfaces, and the Lemur is the biggest leap yet toward that science fiction future. For now, the challenge is that the Lemur’s features lie somewhere between a computer display and music controller, without effectively supplanting either one. The Lemur sacrifices the sensitivity and tactile feedback of physical controls in …


Cybersonica Video: Fabulous Sound Art Lets You “Play” with Music

Cybersonica turns a gallery space into an interactive playground, filled with sound art installations that mine the power of fun in art. Curator Chris O’Shea sends this professionally-produced documentation video from the hip Phonica record store in London: Cybersonica & Encompass Sonic Art Exhibition [YouTube] Among the delights inside: suspended disco satellites controlled by Korg Kaoss Pads, motion tracking that translates a performer into a shadow puppet monster (complete with roaring sounds), a liquid, fully-3D interface for making music which shall be known at CDM simply as the hotness, a 3D Etch-a-Sketch for sound, an installation with an interface controlled …