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 …

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kinectarui

From Beautiful Ambient Modern Dance to Dubstep, Gestures to Music in Kinect (Download the Tool)

It started as some compelling demos or proof of concept, but it’s plenty real now: the tools for translating movement, gesture, and dance from the body to interactive music march forward. Empowered by Microsoft’s Kinect and an artist-friendly toolchain, even a single, clever developer can do a lot. Sound designer, music producer, and Max/MSP developer Chris Vik of Melbourne has been one of those busy early pioneers, with an incredible tool called Kinectar. So, the tech is cool and shiny and impressive: what about the actual music? And, even more importantly, what if all the hand waving and moving about …

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covello_color

A Monster Frankenstein Controller, with Fur Keys and Borg-Like Eyepiece, Built by Julie Covello

Photo by Nina Mouritzen; courtesy Julie Covello/Shakey. In an explosion of color, buttons, keys, velcro, and fur, and coupled with a cyborg-chic eyepiece, the VoltAxe is controllerism gone Mad Max, a post-acocalyptic keytar bred from salvaged parts. And if you want to make a unique construction of your own, creator Julie Covello – aka New York’s DJ Shakey – is willing to tell all her secrets, as well as why this was important to her music. In modeling (the basement hobby variety, not the skinny fashionista one), “kitbashing” is the act of combining bits of multiple kits to produce one …

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scratchmarkup

Proposal: A Markup Language for Turntable Scratch Performance; Open Call

Scratching, captured. Photo (CC-BY-SA) karl sinfield / sindesign. Add this to the Internet of Things: imagine data recording scratching and scratch performances. Technologists Jamie Wilkinson, Michael Auger, and Kyle McDonald propose a new way of storing scratch moves as data. They’re not just working in traditional ways, either: they’re hacking turntables and optical mice and cameras, and imagine not only recording performances, but having machines recreate scratching. (Robots!) And they want your help. Kyle writes: i’m going to be leading a group at art hack day ( brooklyn, january 26th-28th www.arthackday.net/ ) about scratch markup language, a tool for recording …

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notorious-siri

iPhone’s Siri Plays a Real Grand Piano, Raps with Notorious B.I.G.

Music lovers are hacking Apple’s Siri voice recognition technology. By connecting to some of the “intelligence” of the cloud, these tools can make your phone rap or send music files to a player piano for instant musical playback. First up: Yamaha’s piano taking requests, thanks to music grabbed online. A Yamaha rep explains: Yamaha consultant Craig Knudsen demonstrates a unique implementation of Apple’s incredible Airplay technology in an exciting new way. Here’s how it works: Take a standard MIDI songfile and convert it to an audio file (while maintaining the MIDI data). The songfile is then sent wirelessly via WiFi …

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ander

Preview: NYC’s In/Out Festival, in Videos, Embraces Eclectic Lineup and Music DIY

You can complain about music events and festivals as they are, dream about what you’d imagine an event could be – or you can go and make it happen. And since the latter category fits friends-of-the-site Chris Gilroy and Lara Grant, it’s well worth an endorsement for this weekend’s In/Out Festival. (For their part, both Chris and Lara have been regulars at our Handmade Music NYC series; Chris as an electronic audiovisualist, and Lara as a textile-and-sound-melding felted signal processing guru.) If you’re in New York, hope you can make it or even help cover it for CDM. If you’re …

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blipbox

New Open Grid Gear: A Hackable, Touchable, Light-up Array – BlipBox

Light-up grids of buttons are nearly commonplace, but the BlipBox is something different: its array of lights is also a sensor, making it both X/Y controller and light-up grid. And it’s designed to be completely open — firmware, hardware, schematics and documentation are all fully GPL-licensed and open source. For those of us who aren’t ninja coders, it’s also easy to customize, thanks to friendly software (pictured below) .k for making nifty interactive animations on its display and support for the artist-friendly Processing code environment. As the creators describe it, it’s three (three!) pieces of hardware in one: a creative …

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mhdmtl-gridpie

A Killer Performance Grid in Renoise Shows Off This Hackable Music Tool

If you just want to fire up Renoise, the modern tracker/music production app, and not worry about the fact that its innards are hackable, you can. But for a reason why you might at least want to explore customization of this music tool, give the video above a look. It starts sleepy and slow … and then, part of the way through, as creator Dac Chartrand starts demoing the tool, something really special happens. (Anyway, that’s what I think. See if you agree.) Dac explains his work, completed at the recent Montreal Music Hackday: My Renoise hack was Grid Pie. …

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mhd-mtl-bagels

Events: Canada Gets Its First Music Hack Day, as Hackers Take Montreal

Good fuel for coding and hacking? Bagels, natch. Photo by Dac Chartrand for CDM. Music Hack Day is an event that’s been gaining lots of steam. Packing engineering experimentation into a marathon session of collaborative, improvised work, followed by lots of sharing, the event tends to focus largely on Web services but also includes novel musical instruments and other inventions. The events have grown in depth, quality, and attendance – the New York event I attended was just massive. (See the intro video below.) And now, for the first time, there’s an event in Canada, in the tech-rich Quebec hub …

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it-lives

Debut of MeeBlip micro Synth, Workshop, Handmade Music: Toronto on Friday

In Toronto this Friday, we’ll be connecting with InterAccess Gallery in a celebration of DIY, adventurous music making, and blipping synthesizers. It’ll also be the first public debut of the new MeeBlip micro, a pocket-sized version of our MeeBlip open source hardware synth. Part of why I’m excited to be hacking away with the fine folks of Toronto is that we’ll be able to document that new design and what you might make with it for everybody else. The MeeBlip micro and revised MeeBlip se will be coming very soon to everyone. What’s the MeeBlip micro? It’s the brains of …

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