Handmade Music NY 8/29: Meet the Musical Inventors, Pong to Dodecahedrons

Handmade Music is a community get-together, Science Fair, noise-making happening, and party for people making things that make music. We return to NYC on Sunday, August 29 at 7p. Our new Manhattan home is Culturefix, a new electronics boutique, gallery, and tapas bar on the Lower East Side. This month, we welcome a classically-trained guitar duo using their instruments to play games, an original string-modeling instrument, a sonic dodecahedron sculpture (really), artists using game chips, and more. Last-minute creations are always welcome. If you’re in New York, we definitely hope to see you Sunday night. And wherever you are, it’s …

READ MORE →

Guitars, Mysteries, and Magic: Inside “Tiger Flower Circle Sun” with Christopher Willits

How do you allow musical ideas to flower – technically, creatively, and when finding your musical voice? The floral images reflected in visuals and sound in Christopher Willits’ “Tiger Flower Circle Sun” are evocative imagery, but also an apt metaphor for Willits’ artistic process. The composer and artist spins unique, organic ambient worlds with layers of sound and pattern, transforming the timbres of his guitar. He’s also known for making custom software to craft his results, a prolific patcher in Max/MSP with a regular series on Ableton Live, Max, Max for Live, guitar recording, touring, and other topics translated to …

READ MORE →

Virtual Reality: Guitar Notation, Amps, and Effects Appear on Apple Mobiles

Competing solutions from IK Multimedia and Peavey extend the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad with custom hardware for connecting a guitar. Here, the AmpKit LiNK, by Peavey and Agile Partners. All images courtesy the vendors. Ah, amplifiers and stompboxes. We hardly knew ye. Once exclusively the stuff of tubes, wires, cabinets, aluminum, and electronics, guitar amps and pedals have for years been available in growingly-sophisticated software models. Once the electronics of sound become software, there’s nothing stopping them from running on any computer – which now includes computers disguised as mobile phones, like the iPhone. (In fact, I expect that …

READ MORE →

Rock Band 3 Gets Real Keyboard, Guitar, and … MIDI I/O

Nope, you’re not hallucinating. Whatever line there was between playing Rock Band as a game and playing Rock Band as musical instruments has now more or less evaporated with the release of Rock Band 3. Yes, there’s a keyboard, and yes, you can add a strap to it, if that makes it a keytar for you. But there’s more to it than that. For the gaming world’s take on the ratcheted-up difficulty and actual music making functionality, Joystiq interviews Daniel Sussman at Harmonix. The keyboard parts are real keyboard parts. The only difference between Rock Band / Guitar Hero parts …

READ MORE →

DAW Day: Digital Performer 7 Adds Effects, Easier Access, PT8 Support

DP’s clever channel strip integrates quite a lot of functionality in every view. I’d be remiss if I didn’t note another significant DAW release: DP7 is shipping this week. The Mac-only Digital Performer still has a loyal following, especially among the scoring crowd, some of whom have stuck with DP since the Performer days – one of the Mac’s first sequencers. I have to say, this particular update seems to focus more on bundled effects than core functionality – and, in fairness, because it’s tough to change core features without upsetting the stuff that keeps your users loyal, this isn’t …

READ MORE →

Audiomulch 2.0, Available Mac+PC; Live Patching Video with Hypnotic Guitar

AudioMulch 2.0 live patching screencast from AudioMulch on Vimeo. Wonderful things come from Australia. Developer Ross Bencina has released AudioMulch 2.0, the audio patching environment, now on both Mac and Windows. Audiomulch is all pretty in black now with a new UI. But why is it special? AudioMulch has always been distinguished in its quick workflow, its ready-to-use objects that allow sophisticated patches with relatively simple structures, and its idiosyncratic soundmakers. The Metasurface multi-parameter controller is also a favorite. The price is higher, which may scare away some – US$189, or $89 upgrade. There‚Äôs a 60-day trial that you can …

READ MORE →

“Music Simulation” Patent Unsuccessful, Gibson Mucks Up Own Case

Simulated guitar? Gibson gets carried away, but the law wins. Photo/bento creation (CC) Sakurako Kitsa.(Yup, this is a Fender Strat, but this is my kind of simulation of a musical instrument – in cheese form!) Gibson, the guitar company, has been on an utterly absurd campaign against music games, bringing lawsuits against the developers of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band and even against retailers. In the latest illustration of how screwed up patent law is, and just how over-litigious it has made technology in this country, the patent was based on a Gibson patent for a “System and method …

READ MORE →

GarageBand 09 and Logic: Compatibility, About Those New Guitar Effects…

Following GarageBand has long been a good way to follow what improvements might be in store for Apple’s flagship Logic. And many Logic users use GarageBand as a sketchpad for bigger sets – Apple, of course, hope that GarageBand is a gateway drug to their delicious higher-end studio. GarageBand ’09 is no exception. New Models Lessons may be the feature about which you’ve been hearing the most in GarageBand ’09, but the major improvement in the software itself is the new guitar amp and effect modeling. I’ve confirmed with Apple that this is a new engine from the ground up, …

READ MORE →

Guitar Adds iPod touch Controls, Plays Ableton, Lovely Ambient Music

So, the guitar with the Korg KAOSS Pad KP3 built-in wasn’t enough for you, huh? Here’s an axe with two iPod touch units attached. The sounds that result, with Ableton Live, the Eno/Chilvers app Bloom, and bowed guitar, are quite lovely. That shows some of the power of these apps: playing along with the generative/interactive music app Bloom is a bit like having an intelligent composition to work with. If these devices were more open and allowed easy creation of your own musical toys, you could built generative machines to play along with you. And it also demonstrates how touch …

READ MORE →