Listen as a Compiler Makes Weirdly Good Blippy, Glitchy IDM Sounds [Free Tools]

What’s the sound of a computer program running? Normally, nothing – the number crunching that takes place as software allocates memory forms patterns, but not ones that might immediately make sense of sound. “malloc” is a C function that allocates memory in which code executes. But a simple hack takes the output of a compiler, and makes sound files out of it. It’s the equivalent disconnecting the pipe from a widget-making factory, and instead of producing useful tools, making cool shapes out of sugary icing – useless and delicious. It’s a sonification of the memory allocation and reading process itself, …

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Fork this Chant: GitHub Goes Gregorian, with Open Source Notation

Before there was computer code, there was music notation. And before there was forking code or remixing music, there were centuries of variations to the musical code, stored in notation. So it’s fitting that musicians would begin to use GitHub – built originally as a repository for programmers – to store notation. And that means that in addition to music software and the like, you can find the WWII-era Nova Organi Harmonia organ accompaniments today on GitHub. Adam Wood, Director of Music with St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Hurst, Texas, made the addition, with help from a team including Jeff …

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A Big Ass MIDI Cube with Hakan Lidbo, Live at MIDI Hack Stockholm [Video, Code]

It’s a big-ass MIDI cube. Okay, sometimes the name kind of sums up all of it. But among various wonders at MIDI Hack Day here in Stockholm this weekend, “developer/designer/entrepreneur” Per-Olov Jernberg has teamed up with artist Håkan Lidbo to bring a giant, inflatable green cube into the offices of Spotify and transform is into a musical instrument. This is what I would have at my birthday parties if I could go back in time. Or, really, now. And you can, too, because code in Processing is already available. Good, clean fun – with oversized musical instruments, a recent fascination …

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littleBits Open Source Synth Kit on GitHub; KORG Filter Secrets Revealed, Music Projects

Open source music hardware has gone from promising concept to practical reality. It incorporates not just hacker-friendly kits, but end user products, from synths to controllers to effects. And now, for the first time, you can find one of the biggest names in the musical instrument industry on GitHub. KORG and littleBits promised they’d release their collaboration under the same open source license as the other magnetic, snap-together modules from littleBits. This week, they’ve delivered. It’s a little tricky to find, so let’s walk you through it. The good stuff is in the EAGLE files – the circuit diagrams, here …

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aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything

monome, the iconic grid controller that launched them all, has always been a device tethered to a computer. Without a USB connection to your machine, it is an attractive but functionless box. The latest monome project, the result of a collaboration between Brian Crabtree and musician Ezra Buchla (yes, there’s a relation) is different. It is a computer, with all the functions that entails, but in a box designed for sound. It has: A brain: Two of them, in fact – a DSP chip (BF533 blackfin, 533 mHz with 64 MB SDRAM) and an AVR32 for control. Audio connections: 4 …

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Grid Tricks: How Launchpad S Differs, Emulate Push with Launchpad, 11 Launchpad Display, More

Life on the grid gets better and better. Yes, these blinky, lighty arrays of squares do continue to proliferate. But musicians are also hacking away to make them more useful. And they do that with perhaps nothing as much as the Novation Launchpad, a kind of workhorse of the grid world. While one of the simpler grid controllers available, Novation’s hardware is also uniquely affordable – and uniquely rugged, standing up to plenty of abuse. Here, we get to see how the Launchpad S differs from the original, how both Launchpads can emulate Ableton’s flashy-new Push, and what happens when …

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Tuning Ableton Live, Push: Undersea Colors for Push, Important Bugfixes for Live

If Push’s whites have been giving you the blues, everything’s better down where it’s wetter. And while some readers happily dove into the Live 9 waters right on release, recent bugfixes have made this software significantly more mature. (Uh, read: yeah, some stuff was rather broken for a bit there.) First off, just for fun, let’s talk about making your Push “seapunk” in coloring. RGB LEDs have gotten brighter, but color calibration remains an issue, and so many Push users have complained about inconsistent white coloring. Even if you haven’t had calibration issues, too, you might just want a change. …

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Record Anything on Mac, Free: WavTap Now Has Installer, 20s Buffer, More

Wouldn’t it be great to capture audio on the Mac as easily as you can take a screenshot? We covered the brilliance of WavTap last month. Now, we like living on the bleeding edge, but some of you, uh, weren’t thrilled by things like having to compile the software from source. Well, the creator of WavTap, Patrick Ellis, has been hard at work. The tool now has a friendly installer, the ability to save the last twenty seconds (so you don’t miss anything when you turn it on), an animated icon, and lots of reliability improvements. It also happily coexists …

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Tibersynth Makes Crazy Sounds in Your Browser, Free

Lovers of experimental sound are finding a new canvas in the Web Browser, thanks to evolving work on standard audio tools. Cory O’Brien sends us his creation: “a real-time vector synth.” The result: crazy sounds. You’ll need Chrome, Chromium, or Safari 6 to try it out, but it’s quite a lot of fun. I especially like the percussive sounds I get just clicking spots. And it’s worth some different tries – and hitting the ‘R’ key to randomize – if at first you don’t like what you hear. The deeper significance: you’re going to be seeing more things like this. …

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WavTap Makes Recording Audio Easy as Taking a Screenshot [Free, Mac]

Press a key or two, take a screenshot. It’s been dead-simple for ages. But not so if you just want to grab some sound – until now. WavTap, from coder and GitHub user Patrick Ellis of Berlin, finally makes grabbing audio on the Mac work the way you’ve imagined it should work. Hit a keyboard shortcut – ctrl-cmd-space, though that default can be customized – and start recording. Hit it again, and stop. WavTap is a fork of the wonderful Soundflower from Cycling ’74, the free menu tool for inter-app audio. That means WavTap shares Soundflower’s sophisticated routing solutions, so …

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