How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …

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Egyptrixx x A N F: Audiovisuals as Surface, Texture, and Trip to Alien Volcanoes

It’s real, and yet, it isn’t. It’s the sound of percussion, but it resonates in an otherworldly way. It’s the flaming, blood-red surface of a volcano, but it’s melting before us. Some of the most evocative digital works walk this line, transport us to a place our brains can accept, yet not entirely believe, universes just past the reaches of our imagination. And so the collaboration between Egyptrixx (Toronto’s David Psutka) and A N F (Berlin visualist Andreas Nicolas Fischer) congeals around the notion of texture and surface. In generated geometries, globs of interplanetary resin, space insect innards about to …

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Music and Performance, Made On The Spot: Hacklab, Open Call in Berlin

Inventing technological hacks in short time is one thing. At CTM Festival in Berlin, we want to push collaborative participants to go further. First, invent the technology for performance. Then, invent the performance – and be ready to perform publicly – and it do it all in just one week. It’s time again to join a MusicMakers Hacklab. Last year was the first week-long event hosted with CDM, and the first at CTM Festival. CTM makes a perfect venue, a brilliant and packed showcase for adventurous sound (and in parallel with another digital media fest, Transmediale, in the same city …

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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 …

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Lawnmower Man-Style Audiovisuals, in Kinect Experiment, Plus a New Kinect

Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description: This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift. It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us …

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Space Oddity, Made in Space, is Kind of Ridiculously Awesome

Canadian Col. Chris Hadfield, aboard the International Space Station, has done what you would probably want to do if aboard the high-flying orbital outpost: make a music video for David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” And he works “Soyuz” into the lyrics. (Thankfully, he refrains from making it “Colonel Chris.” The only complaint: a shame it can’t cut between the ISS and Mission Control.) Colonel Hadfield, if you can hear us and have a moment, we’d love to hear how you produced the recording. Not that zero-g means too much for sound production – though I imagine keeping the mic steady becomes …

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The Music of 2071, As Imagined in 1964: Fischinger Lumigraph to Lumichord

Finishing research for a talk at Genève’s Mapping Festival, I came across this gem from comments on Create Digital Motion. It’s the innovative Lumigraph, an interactive light experiment by visionary film and animation pioneer Oskar Fischinger. The sci-fi film looked ahead to what the music of 2071 might be like, in 1964’s The Time Travelers. To their credit, goofy love lounge aside, the reuse of Fischinger’s abstract light project isn’t far off from music in 2013. (And, hey, whatever puts you in the mood.) Fischinger, for his part, almost certainly wasn’t thrilled with the use of his creation in this …

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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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Guitar Innovation, Then And Now: Paul Vo Reinvents Fretless, Acoustic Guitars [Videos]

Imagine any acoustic instrument able to act as a synth, and you begin to appreciate the potential instrumental pioneer Paul Vo may be about to unlock. As we reported last month, music-technological innovation can absolutely involve guitars, not just synths with keyboards. So, it’s fitting that we tun now to a lover of keyboards and guitars alike, Chris Stack, for a look in video at the work of Paul Vo. Vo may not be a household name in sound tech, but he should be, as the inventor of the impressive Moog Guitar. Here, we get look back at what came …

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The Monster: DIY Project Looks, And Sounds, Like Alien Spacecraft Control Panel

Leave it to the DIYer. Alex Pleninger’s name isn’t just marketing. This is one monster of a synth creation, looking and sounding like it was ripped, circuits still humming, from a wrecked UFO. Retro trackball, keyboard? Check. In-built computer display? Check. Makes … a mind-boggling array of sounds? Oh, yes. It’s retro-future goodness, powered by the legendary SID, Robert “Bob” Yannes’ synth-on-a-chip that powered the Commodore 64. (In fact, get Bob and Wolfgang together, and you have a fair amount of digital synthesis history – with Ensoniq and PPG represented. See today’s other story.) Thanks to Marc Resibois for the …

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