The Terror of Watermelons and Your Niece Screaming: Interactive Sonic Fear in Dead Space 3

Wilhelm wasn’t going to cut it for A-list game release Dead Space 3. Meet the young Amelia, instead, screaming. And behold the sheer horror that only a squishy watermelon can produce. I always knew fruit and toddlers were up to no good. Kill Screen, the indie game mag, collaborates with The Creators’ Project to go behind the scenes at developer Visceral Games to talk about the audio design and interactive sound system in Dead Space. Producer and editor Jamin Warren tells CDM it was his favorite of the series yet. In addition to examining sound design and field recording, the …

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This holiday, take a holiday to another world, chip music style. An imagined NES dimension, here envisioned (CC-BY-SA) torley.

Cool Yule: Toy Company’s Free 8-bit/Lo-Fi Christmas Album, from Montreal

Whether you’re unwrapping presents or not, we’re spending these twenty four hours unwrapping some beautiful musical gifts: have a Yule that’s cool with fine, free/donationware releases. First in the queue… If unimaginative holiday music on endless repeat has given you the winter blues, the fine folks of Toy Company have the cure. The Montreal-based collective and 8-bit/lo-fi techno party series have brought together a number of friends with original tunes and noise and digital-fuzz-laden covers of tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Meticulously-rendered, quirky music is free to hear, or thank the artists by naming your own …

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Pinball Pianola: Pinball Game Meets a Piano in a Wild Constructed Instrument

Pinball Pianola from Lucas Abela on Vimeo. The mechanical and kinetic collide – literally – with the sonic, in a devilishly-inventive hybrid instrument that cross-breeds a pinball table with a piano. Australian artist Lucas Abela is joining us next month as part of CTM Festival: The Golden Age. In the meantime, he shares this work. I’ve devised a Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’, a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front …

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Artist Decktonic, aka Christian Montoya, hovers over his sound machines, as neon-fantastic as his music sounds. Photo courtesy the artist; (CC-BY-NC) Ben Mason.

Retro-futuristic and Free: All DS-10 Music from Decktonic [Download, Video, CC]

A generation of gaming has done something to our ears. It has primed listeners to appreciate the sound of digital instruments in raw form: dry and immediate, crisply-synchronized machine dance music. So, while I wouldn’t call the music of Decktonic “chip music” or “game music,” somehow it’s a modern take on each. It’s retro-futuristic, electro-techno unadorned with effects. And, hell, while Korg’s DS-10 running on Nintendo DS is far from a high-fidelity sound experience, there’s something irresistibly funky about its sound. Listening to the DS-10 dry in the hands of a creative musician can be a cure for the ear …

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Tokyo Blip: A Chip Music Interlude for Blip Festival

How do you prefer to compose? Pen and manuscript paper? Recording ideas from a piano? Firing up your favorite music software? How about … coding in 65c816 Assembly language? The trio behind this video prefers the latter, more intensive approach, to get close to the chip hardware by communicating directly with the Super NES. It’s one heck of a way to make an invitation to an event, but that’s just what they’ve done, in celebration of Blip Festival Tokyo 2012, in a kind of audiovisual spectacular. With code by Batsly Adams, music by Zabutom, and graphics by KeFF, the result …

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In Bad Hotel, Addictive iOS Game, Composing Music to Tapped Interactions [Behind the Scenes]

What if a game made you both player and remixer/composer? What if that music plugged into your gameplay brain just like the interactive elements? This week, we get another try at just that – and find out how the whole thing works behind the scenes, with free software you can use, too. If you’re like me, you’ve loved the soaring, gaslight-style music soundtrack, as it makes its sweep across a film, swelling at just the right moments. Or you’ve closed your eyes and enjoyed the frozen narrative of a great score or great record as it washes over you. But …

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Gameplay, With Your Ears: Meltdown Lets You Squash Monsters Using Binaural Sound

Meltdown – Gameplay from Varun Nair on Vimeo. Crack – that snapping wood might just be something about to eat you! There is likely some evolutionary need for human hearing to be good at localizing sound in space. Whatever the reason, human perception is exceptionally precise when it comes to working out the position from which a sound originates. Conventional stereo sound just doesn’t do much with it. Using binaural sound, by contrast, you can position sound more accurately. And then you can play a game with your ears instead of just your eyes. “Meltdown” applies that idea to gameplay, …

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Sword & Sworcery, Remixed By Japanese Game Music Legends [Preview]

This may sum up how I feel about this project. It almost certainly embodies how composer Jim Guthrie must have felt, as a who’s who of Japanese game music takes on his work. Photo (of the Tokyo Game Show, natch) (CC-BY) kanegen. Sword & Sworcery, the iPad album-as-game, has gotten plenty of love from this site before, and recognition for friend-of-the-site composer Jim Guthrie. (See Jim open up about what happened behind the scenes.) Now, it seems the Canadian songwriter and soundmaker will meet up with some of the biggest game composers from Japan in a unique remix album. In …

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Matthew Herbert’s One Pig, On Tour, and the Making of a Sty Harp

Composing the sounds of an animal’s life cycle and ultimate consumption into a musical portrait, Matthew Herbert’s “One Pig” is in turns grotesque and sentimental, rock and opera. I expected squeamishness and vegetarian conversions when I saw it on tour, but instead, the crowd eagerly devoured the creature at the end. (Make of that what you will.) One Pig is in Manchester, UK tonight before continuing to Brighton and Portugal. As my own incurable appetite is for musical instruments, for me a highlight of the show is Scotland-based, American artist Yann Seznec’s Sty Harp. (See also our coverage of his …

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Art From Trash, as ReFunct Media Makes a Symphony from Obsolete Gear [Videos]

Obsolescence: it seems inescapable, as generations of old gear are replaced with shiny, new ones. But one person’s discarded electronic trash can be an artist’s electronic treasure. ReFunct Media is a collaborative to make something out of all that used junk. In parades of strange, twitching machines and orchestras of electronic noise, gear goes from landfill fodder to art stars. The collective effort has made its way from Ireland (Imoca, RuaRed) to France (Gaité Lyrique) to, most recently, Berlin and the LEAP gallery, where we catch up with it in the form of some raucous video documentation. The artists themselves …

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