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Making Digital One-of-a-Kind: Inside Icarus’ Generative Album in 1000 Variations

Even the artwork changes. This is my personal copy – #148. Digital: disposable, identical, infinitely reproducible. Recordings: static, unchanging. Or … are they? Icarus’ Fake Fish Distribution (FFD), a self-described “album in 1000 variations,” generates a one-of-a-kind download for each purchaser. Generative, parametric software takes the composition, by London-based musicians-slash-software engineers Ollie Bown and Sam Britton, and tailors the output so that each file is distinct. If you’re the 437th purchaser of the limited-run of 1000, in other words, you get a composition that is different from 436 before you and 438 after you. The process breaks two commonly-understood notions …

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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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Free Generative, FM Sequencer for Max/MSP, Max for Live

If you liked the generative, probability-based sequencing seen earlier this week, here’s another example – and it’s free and open source, so if you do want to pick it apart and you own a copy of Max/MSP or Max for Live, you can. Co-creator Giuseppe Sorce points us to the work: This is a simple generative music synthesizer built in Max/MSP created by Diego Caponera, Nicolò Paternoster and Giuseppe Sorce. It involves 5 FM generators which play notes randomly based on a root key and intervals defined by the user. It’s an university project made for an exam for Sound’s …

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Some Number on the Floor: Uncanny Sequencer for Ableton Live

Labeled as ready for IDM or “Braindance” music, The Uncanny Sequencer could be something tasty for those tired of regular rhythms. The creation of Julien Bayle, The Uncanny Sequencer is a graphical, generative, multi-part sequencing Max for Live device built for Ableton Live. At its core, it creates polyrhythms and irregular rhythms by making the appearance of each beat probabilistic rather than determinate. Thanks to Julien for sending this our way. (Matrixsynth and Synthtopia deserve credit for being faster.) Features, as described by its creator:

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Music Box Creations, with a Pd Score Made from Dance

In a twist on generating music from dance, artist and coder João Pais sends us Pd-generated scores, transformed into twinkling sounds by music boxes. As it happens, the music boxes are the same featured in Friday’s story on Ritornell. The piece is RISS, a “performative installation/concert” produced outdoors in Berlin, with a 30-meter score generated by Pd from movement. João describes his work: “The patch was simple, it analysed the sounds, and made a score using data structures. then I printed the score, and spent lots of hours puncturing all the holes.” The video documents those sounds, in a project …

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Entire Musical Compositions Made from Just One Line of Code are Glitchy but Musical

You know you’re in for something different with an article that contains this line: “as 256 bytes is becoming the new 4K, there has been ever more need to play decent music in the 256-byte size class. ” In just a single line of code, Finnish artist and coder countercomplex, working with other contributors, is creating “bitwise creations in a pre-apocalyptic world.” What’s stunning is to listen to the results, even if you have trouble following the code – the results are complex and organic, glitchy but with compositional direction, as though the machine itself had learned to compose in …

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Eye, Ear, Body Candy: The Pulsing, Geometric AV Worlds of numbercult

Sometimes, to quote Depeche Mode, words are very unnecessary. Instead, lose yourself for a few minutes in the vibrating mathemagical lands of numbercult, audiovisual immersions in which sound and geometry fuse in a strange, abstract dance. Their most recent creation, found via Richard Devine’s prolific Facebook wall and posted earlier this summer, explores an actual audiovisual sequencer. See it at top: Connected is a graphical/musical sequencer system. a three way flow of information, between graphics, sound and external triggers shape the composition. Recorded in real-time. But actual functioning interfaces aside, I’ll leave you with some other video clips that traverse …

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Sonaur, Ambient Android Toy, Built with Free Tools (Processing, libpd)

Sonaur is a US$1.99 ambient toy for Android mobile devices, with on-screen creatures you can manipulate to generate sound. It’s notable not only for being a fun toy – and on a platform that hasn’t had as many fun toys – but because the tools used to create it are also highly accessible and free. I’ve taught Processing, a code environment popular among artists and designers to people who never before imagined they could be coders. Pd (Pure Data), here in the form of libpd, is a free graphical patching cousin of Max/MSP. You can check out libpd, which allows …

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Generative Ambient Event Bots, Free in Ableton + Max for Live

Composing with rules instead of playing notes directly, composer Richard Garrett has built a series of generative, algorithmic, ambient note makers and processors in Ableton Live and the Max for Live add-on. (And yes, user-generated content continues to be a rationale for why many people would purchase Max for Live in addition to Live itself.) With loads of useful controls for duration, start, and voicing – and the ability to feed events into anything you like – the results in your own work could sound very different than what you see hear. But whatever your musical aspirations, you can check …

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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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