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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Entering the Third Dimension: One Evocative Take on Real-Time Music Creation with a 3D Interface

AudioGL, a project teased in videos first in April and then again last week, is a new concept in designing a user interface for real-time music creation. Visuals and sound alike are generative, with the rotating, 3D-wireframe graphics and symbolic icons representing a kind of score for live synthesized music. The tracks in the video may sound like they’ve been pre-synthesized, polished, and sampled from elsewhere, but according to the creator, they’re all produced in the graphical interface you see – what you see is what you hear. The newest video, released this week, reveals in detail the project’s notions …

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Auto-Tune for Guitars Doesn’t Have to be Like Auto-Tune for Vocals; The Digital Guitar Future?

Auto-Tuning a guitar is coming, say Antares. But if that seems frightening, it may be worth a closer look. Photo of the (classic) guitar (CC-BY) John W. Tuggle. A new tool could be for the expressive, not just the lazy. That’s the read of Auto-Tune for guitar, and it makes me excited to see what people will do with it. It could be the advent of the true digital guitar. Antares teased their efforts to bring Auto-Tune technology to guitars earlier this month, having gotten as far as working proof-of concept. (See Harmony Central’s exclusive video above, and Axetopia, Synthtopia.) …

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Sound, the Final Frontier: Audio Collections as Planets in Space, Intelligently Related

Two spacey ways of finding media: music collections, heirarchy, and images of planets in Planetary for iPad, top. Sound and loop collections, “magnetic” relations, algorithmic categorization, and rapid torchlight auditioning in Soundtorch 2.0 for Windows, bottom. If your music and sound collections seem like outwardly-expanding universes, two new tools promise to bring order by representing media as virtual planets and stars. One works on albums and tracks on the iPad; the other uses computer-aided analysis of loops and samples (not just music) on Windows. One will make your eyeballs pop; one might help you manage gigs of samples for a …

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What Makes a Truly New Instrument? Human Gestures Power Winners of Guthman Competition

Interlude Consortium’s competition-winning MO makes everyday objects interfaces and does some surprisingly-sophisticated analysis of gestures. Nearly as long as we’ve had electronics, musical inventors have tried to imagine new electronic instruments. In the crowded world of new instrument design, the Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition has emerged as a key prize for the best work, with creations battling fiercely for attention. But in the oddball world of sound and music, how do you judge a winner? As a starting point, organizers this year asked the judges what they personally found important. With an expert panel including synth pioneer Tom Oberheim …

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Onyx Wants to Make Himself Into Helmeted, Wearable-Music-Tech Tron, With Your Help

A helmet and hand units make up the TRON performance system for a style of music artist Onyx Ashanti calls “beatjazz.” And he’s well on his way to making a reality. All images courtesy the artist. Onyx Ashanti is insane – in the special, essential way that makes certain brilliant musicians. An experienced busker, having crossed from the US to Berlin, he’s a rare virtuoso of wind instruments and electronic improvisation, the kind of musically-free soul who can just let loose live. But his latest project really crosses into some new territory. He’s making himself into Tron. No, really – …

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A Flute Made on a 3D Printer, and the Possibilities to Come

Digital models and acoustic instruments have traditionally been studies in contrast. And instrument making has by definition been a craft and an art. But what if making an acoustic instrument was a matter of hitting “print”? That’s the question asked by MIT Media Lab researcher Amit Zoran. Using the Objet Geometries Connex500 3D printer, one capable of on-the-fly use of multiple materials, he made a flute in 15 hours. The results are surprisingly good for a first attempt. The instrument is playable, but Amit plans additional iteration and improvement. (Be sure to watch through the video for some feedback on …

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Paper, Drawing as Musical Controller: A Round-Up

Imagine drawing an interface on paper, then being able to use it as a musical interface. Or, heck, don’t imagine it – do it. Unfortunately, the kinds of intelligence necessary to make the music video in yesterday’s post just aren’t practical yet. (That is, you could draw a picture of a keyboard, and even use the picture as a music controller, but while you or I could recognize a keyboard from a drum pad and know that line is a fader, a computer would need some sort of advance structure for any recognition to work.) But you can do some …

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Millioniser 2000: 80s-tastic MIDI Harmonica Whose Time Has Come?

“It comes from tomorrow …but it’s here today.” Well, now it is tomorrow. And yesterday’s tomorrow still looks futuristic. Try this test: show someone the video above for the Millioniser 2000, a MIDI harmonica designed by Ronald Schlimmer. Tell them this is a 2009 video designed to go viral, a fakery of 80s cheese. After all, the instrument itself looks impossibly futuristic. Surely this wasn’t really designed in 1979. Surely the close up thigh shots of the backup singer girls in the back are tongue-in-cheek parody. Your friends will believe you. Of course, you’ll be lying.

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