gameboy_micro

Steve Reich played on Game Boys is mesmerizing

Steve Reich’s exploration of rhythm and phase take on special meaning in the age of ubiquitous electronic instruments. What started with clapping, with pianos and marimbas, and tape loops doubles now as a way of thinking about machine rhythm, too. Hearing Reich on Game Boys here isn’t just a novelty. It feels like a real re-instrumentation – Wendy Carlos’ Switched on Bach approach for the Mario Bros. generation. Listen & watch (it’s all live):

READ MORE →
pocket

And now, some dreamy music made with tiny machines

“Computer music,” “digital music” – this doesn’t necessarily mean a big laptop. Game Boy musicians had it right to begin with: palm-sized machines can make music, too. And this track is gorgeous – the work of a user named “pselodux”:

READ MORE →
nintendokorgsync

Now you can sync a Game Boy to a Korg volca or monotribe

It’s sweet harmony as Korg and Nintendo come together at last. A musician from lower Saxony named eVADE/duality micro has produced a cable to sync up Game Boys running popular homebrew software with Korg drum machines and synths.

READ MORE →
nanoloopscreen

Nanoloop Comes to Android, with its Lovely, Minimal Music Idea-Making Interface

I think the first time I really understood handheld music making was when I first tried Nanoloop on Game Boy. While the more-popular LSDJ tracker is powerful, Nanoloop’s interface was unlike anything I’d seen before: aggressively minimal, it embodies in its interface design the feeling of a blank sheet of paper. Adding an idea feels like composition, like genuinely exploring open-ended possibilities and discovering what melodies may result. Now, Nanoloop – already on iOS – is available for Android, too. It remains simple stuff, the sense of what a music maker looks like when designed for your hand rather than …

READ MORE →
stefeye2

Hack by Day, Afrotronic Future Funk By Night: Handmade Music NYC Sat 4/2, Listening and More Free Now

If you’re in the NYC area, we hope you’ll mark your calendar; if not, we have some free listening for you to explore below. Hacking and inventing, creative musicians are making and modifying the tools of their performance to express the music they imagine, with stunning variety of results. And so it is that once a month (erm, more or less), we get together in Manhattan to celebrate music makers at a little thing we call Handmade Music. This month, experimental sound systems and Afrotronic future funk with new electronic instruments inspired by west African tradition join the lineup. 1-6 …

READ MORE →
hmusic1

Visions of Bleeps and Beats: Images and Video from Handmade Music

“Handmade music” has now been taken up by groups in cities around the world, without any central organization. It’s an open celebration of experimentation in music making and sound. Here, we get a look at the event series we’ve been running here in New York that helped spawn those others. Part of what I like about playing live is that it is unpredictable. We get to get together and try things, play wildly divergent styles of music, and explore ideas for what to play, all with a friendly group of people. So, here – thanks to the lovely videography of …

READ MORE →
galapagoose

Grids, Chips, and Blips: Handmade Music NYC, Saturday 2/5 Lab + Party, Video Samples + Listening

Galapagoose plays a Brooklyn rooftop at the monome community tour in the fall. Now he’s back to celebrate the release of new software, and meets up with artists from across the digital music-making spectrum. Handmade Music is back on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with an epic lineup spanning digital synths to monomes to interactive installations to chip music. It’s a bit like stepping into the music tech world described on the Web. (For the vast majority of you outside NYC, hoping to have good documentation of recent events edited and available shortly.) We’re moving to Saturday night and …

READ MORE →

In Photos: Discovering Sound Making, Electronics at Culturefix NYC

Photos above: Jennifer Meagher, with additional photography by myself. Handmade Music found a new home on New York’s Lower East Side, at Culturefix, an electronics boutique cum gallery, bar, and tapas. The philosophy of this event has long been to simply open the doors, letting a community of people come together, make some noise, and have fun and learn. So we’re indebted to the people who made it happen – and I think there were some lessons to hopefully reproduce. And yes, part of why I share this is I hope we can work over time to provide more resources, …

READ MORE →

Reformat the Planet, Feature-Length Chip Music Documentary, Arrives on DVD

REFORMAT THE PLANET trailer from 2 Player Productions on Vimeo. The journey to complete and release a documentary is a long one, but Reformat the Planet, a feature-length documentary on the chip music scene, has reached the other side. Focused on the hub of artists in New York and the Blip Festival, Reformat the Planet has had some significant success out on the festival circuit, and it’s the product of a talented team of producers called 2 Player Productions, who do some really lovely work. (Staking out a corner of the indie game world, they also have worked on the …

READ MORE →