leap

Move Over, Kinect: Early Gestural Musical Demos for Leap Motion Look Terrific

Microsoft’s Kinect has proven a compelling proof of concept for gestural control of music. But it could be just the beginning of mass-market gestural sensing technologies. The Leap Motion, like Kinect, promises to be affordable gear. Unlike the Kinect, the hardware is even more unobtrusive, and gestural control is more precise and responsive. Given the latency limitations of Kinect, that’s a huge deal for music. And better expression could inspire new musical ideas. We’ve spoken many times before about the limitations of touchless control – Theremins are spectacular but not the easiest instruments to play, and waving your hands in …

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The man who fell to Earth: Onyx Ashanti's open source hardware/software rig goes beyond computer and acoustic interfaces, alike, in a cyborg-style, enhanced human performance rig. Photo Zin Chiang, at CDM's recent Open Source Music showcase at Retune, Berlin.

Way Out From Behind The Laptop: Onyx Ashanti’s Beatjazz-Augmented Body Keeps Mutating

Onyx Ashanti can wail on a computer with no computer in sight, jamming on a virtual horn that has vanished into his cyborg-like live rig. Mouthpiece and head-mounted prosthesis replace what might have been a virtual reality helmet – or sax reed. Sensors in his hands provide more expression. But this isn’t just some flash and theater, while a laptop dutifully plays back loops. It’s really an interface to performance, both surfing samples and providing live solo lines improvised in real-time, in mid-air. For a sense of what I mean, check out the party hosted by Berlin’s Mindpirates, at an …

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AudioGL presents a new vision of visual music creation, extended into space. Images courtesy the developer.

AudioGL Beta Arrives, Complete With Futuristic 3D Musical Creation Flythroughs

Here in flatland, ideas for musical interfaces may have become largely well-trodden. Not so in the third dimension. And so, one of the most unusual audiovisual interfaces has now hit beta, ready for you to explore. And that does mean “explore”: think navigation through spinning, animated galaxies of musical objects in this spatial modular sound environment. With the beta available, you can determine whether that´s a bold, new final frontier, or just the wheel, reinvented. The work of Toronto-based artist and engineer Jonathan Heppner, AudioGL is a stunning vision of music creation in 3D space, with modular synths, advanced user-editable …

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Music Performance as Real-Time Special Effect: Kinect Jamming Gets More Futuristic

The V Motion Project from Assembly on Vimeo. It’s all real – in a manner of speaking. And it’s all real-time. But just what is a live performance made with cameras, gestures, and projection? It’s worth watching The V Motion Project and pondering those possibilities, amidst the flashy visual eye candy. It’s certainly optically impressive. It’s music made to be watched (and, in the video, filmed with iPhones and whatnot). Watch a second time, and you wonder: as we reach a new peak of maturity, decades into alternative interface design, what will come next? To say that this is a …

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Syntact is a Futuristic Gesture Interface That’s Tactile – Without Touch

Here’s how interfaces normally break down. You’ve got your conventional, tactile interfaces, like a knob. You’ve got your touch interfaces, which lack tactile feedback (you touch them, but they don’t push back). You’ve got your gestural interfaces, which have you waving your hands in the air without touching anything and without any tactile feedback. (They’re generally the most challenging, because your brain has no feedback for what it’s doing.) Syntact creates an entirely new category. It’s a gestural interface, of the “waving your hands around in the air” sort. But while your hand is in mid-air and isn’t touching anything, …

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Hypo Chrysos live at Trendelenburg AV Festival, Gijon, Spain, December 2011.

From Your Body to Music: Interview with Biophysical Xth Sense Interface Creator

What you’re watching in the video above doesn’t involve cameras or motion sensors. It’s the kind of brain-to-machine, body-to-interaction interface most of us associate with science fiction. And while the technology has made the occasional appearance in unusual, niche commercial applications, it’s poised now to blow wide open for music – open as in free and open source. Erasing the boundary between contracting a muscle in the bio-physical realm and producing electronic sound in the virtual realm is what Xth Sense is all about. Capturing biological data is all the rage these days, seen primarily in commercial form in products …

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FRACT, 3D Adventure Game Played with Synths and Sequencers: Myst Meets Music Making

FRACT is a curious combination of music studio and puzzle game, merging elements of games like Myst with the sorts of synths and pattern editors you’d expect somewhere like Ableton Live. You have to make sounds and melodies to solve puzzles; by the end of the game, say the creators, you’re even producing original music. The work of a small student team out of Montreal, FRACT looks like it has all the makings of an underground indie hit – at least for music nerds. As the creators describe it: FRACT is a first person adventure game for Windows & Mac …

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3D Modular Sound Gets Real: Stunning AudioGL Demos, Crowd Funding, Beta Coming to You Soon

Electronic music making has had several major epochs. There was the rise of the hardware synth, first with modular patch cords and later streamlined into encapsulated controls, in the form of knobs and switches. There was the digital synth, in code and graphical patches. And there was the two-dimensional user interface. We may be on the cusp of a new age: the three-dimensional paradigm for music making. AudioGL, a spectacularly-ambitious project by Toronto-based engineer and musician Jonathan Heppner, is one step closer to reality. Three years in the making, the tool is already surprisingly mature. And a crowd-sourced funding campaign …

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Across the Universe: Mind-Blowing AV Performance Makes Music a Spacey Trip

Turning music and sound into three-dimensional worlds often yields something that fields like a trip through space. But this feels like a real trip. Through pulsing, glowing starfields, “Versum”‘s audiovisual movements are brain-bendingly transformative. Artist Tarik Barri has created an integrated world of sound and image that makes the interface and the compositional realms seamless. It seems as though this really is a musical universe, through whose harmonies of the spheres you can fly like. Boldly going, indeed. Ingredients: Max/MSP/Jitter, Processing, Java, SuperCollider, GLSL [the 3D shading language], and … some serious skill and time, I imagine. The work has …

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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 …

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