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 …

READ MORE →

Shake It Like Euclid: Grooving Patterns, Open Source Tool, Now Sends MIDI – Watch

There’s something about symmetrical rhythms, it seems: through the power of math, these rhythms sound really good. We’ve looked a couple of times before at the spread of the Euclidean Algorithm for producing rhythms; see below. Wouter Hisschemöller has updated what began as an in-browser Flash tool to build an free and open source, Java-based MIDI utility. You dial in the rhythms you want, and now, with the addition of MIDI output, you can play those rhythms in any software of your choice. (Ableton Live plays the part of the MIDI recipient in the video above.) Yes, you can actually …

READ MORE →
paperrecordplayer

A Record Player Made from Paper, as the FlexiDisc Lives; Thanks Be to Pythagoras

It’s not in any way digital – we’re in paper and needle territory – but clever design transforms packaging and notecard into playable music device. Create Transducer Music, anyone? Designer Kelli Anderson concocted a novel approach to the wedding invitation for her friends Karen and Mike: turn the paper invite into a playable sound device. The couple even made and recorded their own song for the occasion. (The story of the individuals is worth mentioning – Karen advocates for the rights of makers and coders and Mike is a Grammy-nominated engineer.) The device itself plays music without electricity or circuits. …

READ MORE →
TonysPulsesLCD

Euclidean Rhythms in Ableton MIDI Clips for Polyrhythmic Good Times; Microtonal Operator

Ready to make your Ableton Live pattern programming a bit more polyrhythmic with the power of math? In Monday’s reflections and round-up of cycles and circles, I mentioned Euclidean evenness and Godfried Toussaint’s research. The basic idea is that a mathematical algorithm for spacing pulses has a lot in common with traditional preferences for polyrhythms spanning everything from rock hits to conga patterns and musical cultures around the world. Reader Tony Wheeler has turned those patterns into MIDI clips so you can drop patterns into Ableton Live. Drum patterns and dance music are obvious applications, but this could be an …

READ MORE →

Circles and Euclidean Rhythms: Off the Grid, a Few Music Makers That Go Round and Round

Loopseque on the iPad. Courtesy the developer. We continue our 3.14 celebration with a round-up of circular logic. There’s no reason apart from the printed score to assume music has to be divided into grids laid on rectangles. Even the “piano roll” as a concept began as just that – a roll. Cycles the world around, from a mechanical clock to Indonesian gamelan, can be thought of in circles. Imagine an alternate universe in which Raymond Scott’s circle machine – a great, mechanical disc capable of sequencing sounds – became the dominant paradigm. We might have circles everywhere, in place …

READ MORE →
chalkpattern

Flickr Find: Harmonic Patterns on a Playground

Photo (CC-BY) Jan Tik. We celebrate 3.14, PI day, with some selections of mathematics, music, and visualization… Sometimes the results resemble scores, sometimes toys, and sometimes – more rarely – real musical instruments. But part of why I love computing as a window into music is its ability to visualize music’s mathematical beauty. I happened across this image from Flickr. It’s a chalk pattern on pavement for a children’s game (I’m not actually sure what game). But the math-compelled photographer found in it musical, harmonic intervals. I’ll have to sketch a little Processing and Pd design that plays with this …

READ MORE →

Pulsing Geometries, Free Massive Synth Downloads: Ableton + NI + Cinema4D Music Video

Artists Leisure-B and Usselino collaborated on this Autechre-inspired audiovisual short, filled with pulsing geometric primitives. The work is a kind of A/V composition, the music arranged with abrupt, video-style edits. For fans of Native Instruments’ thick-sounding Massive synth, you also get some free preset downloads in the deal. With Native Instruments’ software providing the sound palette, Ableton Live became a context for editing the music as you would video: Leisure: “I tried to approach the composition as “sound design” as possible. Since the video was animated on the BPM (117) and rhythmical accents of “Vose On”, all I really had …

READ MORE →

Music on the Game Grid: Interactive Arpeggiators Al-Jazari, reacTogon

The step sequencer. The sixteen-pad drum machine. The piano roll. The step sequencing piano roll. The waveform editor. The multi-track recording. Live music is a dynamic and changing phenomenon, but much of our technology assumes fairly predictable interfaces with time. Elysium, which we saw early this week, breaks out of that mold by defining generative systems that live on a hexagonal grid or “honeycomb.” There’s lots of great reader feedback on that story, and Elysium’s creator wrote in to talk a bit about what influenced him. I want to highlight two sequencers that you play as if they’re games. (Just …

READ MORE →

Alternative Sequencers: Elysium Generative Mac App and the Joy of Hex

Switching tools isn’t a panacea, but it can inspire new ideas, by changing the way you structure your music. Elysium is a powerful new sequencer in development for the Mac the creates generative patterns on a beehive-shaped hexagonal grid. For the hardcore, you can even extend the tool with Ruby and JavaScript. Elysium is a MIDI sequencer only: it has no sound generation facility of its own. But that makes it an ideal complement to your existing tools and favorite synths; the creator shows it off with Apple Logic Studio (Sculpture physical modeling, anyone?) and Native Instruments Kore. Elysium [Mac-only …

READ MORE →