What Can You Hack on KORG volca series? First Mod Details, as KOMA Meets KORG [Video]

When KORG’s Tatsuya Takahashi is involved in a project, you can expect some hackability. KORG surprised the music tech community by releasing filter schematics for its monotron and designing the boards for the monotron and Monotribe in such a way that opened them to modifications – like adding much-needed MIDI capability absent on those first devices. The KORG volca series already has MIDI input and most other features you want, so the majority of volca buyers won’t need or want to modify anything at all. That’s not bad for boxes that cost just US$150. But there are some opportunities for …

READ MORE →

Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.

READ MORE →

MusicMakers Hacklab Report: Blinking Lightbulbs with MIDI, Why Working Together Matters

It’s a wonderful time to be experimenting with technology and music. You can create something that looks like the stuff most people imagine as “the future” – elaborate dances of light, power over sound just by waving your hand, software that seems directly out of Star Trek. But you can do it with technology that is now reaching maturity – decades of experience of artists, engineers, and designers is at your back. “That’s not new,” someone might say. Exactly. Instead of technology being a disposable commodity, forgotten in a couple of years, it’s actually something you can get good at. …

READ MORE →
In Berlin, musicians and creators gather to work collaboratively on new means of creation and performance. Imogen Heap and her team are among the participants, presenting an interactive workshop on wearable tech. Photo from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson.

Hack Into MusicMakers’ Future in Berlin [CTM Open Call]

Happy New Year, from the future. It’s too late for sci-fi movies with a dateline of 2013. If you want something futuristic, you’ll just have to get to work. That’s what we’re doing in Berlin at CTM Festival later this month, with some of our favorite artists and engineers and designers and artist-engineer-designers. And we’d love to have you join us. We’ll have live music to enjoy. That includes high-tech original creations — Sonic Robots’ real-life 808 drum machine and band, and Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant with their three-dimensional audiovisual space trip. Tim Exile will treat us to his …

READ MORE →
dj2gomorebuttons

DJ Control: Up With Extra Buttons, Down with Clean and Store-Bought, Says DIYer

Praxis Doktor Andy is adding extra buttons to his Numark DJ 2 Go, ripping it apart and putting it back together again just in the name of making it more … button-y. But he also has something to say to the industry, something that might surprise you: There are too many good DJ controllers. He’s posted a full walkthrough of the modifications, enough so that you could duplicate it yourself if so inclined. But you might be equally inspired by a manifesto of sorts interwoven with the build pics. I’ll excerpt here my favorite parts: Digital Dj’ing has become too …

READ MORE →
midipal1

MIDIpal is an Open Box for Doing Stuff with Notes and Sequences and Things [Gallery, Interview]

Musically, compositionally, we think in notes and rhythms and patterns. MIDI may be a simple way of describing those elements, but it can be surprisingly expressive. And so, just as we have all sorts of boxes for adding effects to sound, there’s clear appeal to boxes that do stuff with musical patterns and information – a bit like a MIDI stompbox. We saw one example last week in the form of the MCP. Here’s another appealing “magical MIDI box” – and it’s also open source hardware. Created by Olivier Gillet, maker of the open source Shruthi-1 synth, it’s an affordable …

READ MORE →
syitcases

SJS-ONE: Open, Arduino-Based Synth, with Crazy Cases and Web Troubleshooting

SJS-ONE is an 8-bit synth that you add to an Arduino board, making it ideal for hardware and firmware tinkerers and lovers of unique monosynths. But we’ll give it bonus points for two other reasons. First, it has some really bizarre cases available as add-ons, which look a bit like punk birdhouses. (Birdhouse squats? Hot rodded bird tenant buildings?) Second, in a really clever move, they help you troubleshoot hardware issues with a Flash animation. It could make it clear even to a complete beginner how to use a multimeter (a measuring device that checks electrical connections). The Arduino design …

READ MORE →

Music Performance as Real-Time Special Effect: Kinect Jamming Gets More Futuristic

The V Motion Project from Assembly on Vimeo. It’s all real – in a manner of speaking. And it’s all real-time. But just what is a live performance made with cameras, gestures, and projection? It’s worth watching The V Motion Project and pondering those possibilities, amidst the flashy visual eye candy. It’s certainly optically impressive. It’s music made to be watched (and, in the video, filmed with iPhones and whatnot). Watch a second time, and you wonder: as we reach a new peak of maturity, decades into alternative interface design, what will come next? To say that this is a …

READ MORE →
livef1maschine

Traktor 2.5 Remix Decks + Custom Controllers: What You Need to Know, Why HID Matters

“People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware,” said computer visionary Alan Kay in 1982. And when it comes to making computer software into something you can control physically with your hands, that has made some music tool makers look to integrated hardware for control. But music users – DJs included – also expect to be able to use their own controller hardware when they play, an expectation cemented by decades of access to the standard MIDI protocol. That meant that Native Instruments stirred up some controversy from its users when it failed to match third-party …

READ MORE →
styharp2

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 …

READ MORE →