Animating in Light, Hand-Carved Creations: The Stunning, Glowing Effects of Marilyn Myller

MARILYN MYLLER – Mini Making: Light Effects from Mikey Please on Vimeo. Mastering today’s digital media often means expertly melding optical and digital. One of the films that launched modern digital animation as we know it, ironically, developed its signature look primarily via optical effects. And resonances of that film, Tron, are certainly here. The six-minute short Marilyn Myller gets a bit of everything. It’s hand-carved physical forms, stop-animated. It’s light painting with optical effects, captured digitally. And it seems that optical/digital fusion holds a lot of promise for his medium, including live contexts. I’m certainly inspired watching. Description of …

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BeetBox Lets You Play Root Vegetables; Latest Handmade Raspberry Pi Coolness

Bored by buttons and pads? Want something a bit more organice? BeetBox turns root vegetables into interactive percussion instruments, finally answering the question of “how can I work musical controllers into my five a day?” BeetBox is a simple instrument that allows users to play drum beats by touching actual beets. It is powered by a Raspberry Pi with a capacitive touch sensor and an audio amplifier in a handmade wooden enclosure. The project is the work of Scott Garner: Interactive > BeetBox Okay, maybe it’s not the most practical idea ever, but it is good fun. And that poplar …

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Crafted from aluminum, this DIY controller puts some of the store-bought options to shame. Photo by the creator, Adam Dzak.

DIY Maven: Apollo 13 is a Beautiful, Handmade Aluminum Ableton Live Controller

Years ago, when the phrase “controllerism” was still yet-to-be-coined and there was no official hardware for Ableton Live, DJ Sasha had one hell of a custom piece of kit. The Maven featured oversize, hard-to-disconnect plugs and beautiful metal hardware. Years later, it’d still make any Ableton user drool. What’s a Live user to do? Stop drooling, and start building. DIYer and musician Adam Dzak did just that. He created his own MIDI controller, constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, and used Ableton Live scripting to tailor control to software. The result is something a bit like the APC40 made by Ableton and …

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Credit Cards, Turned Into Musical Instruments, Sound Pretty Freaking Amazing [Video]

What sort of musical instruments can you make out of plastic credit cards? You might imagine results are limited. But with some clever use of mics, and brilliantly-simple application of time-tested ideas ranging from single-string monochords to music boxes, the results are eminently, wondrously sonorous. And the project benefits greatly from having some compositional intent behind it; the music is focused and makes those credit cards expressive. The project was a promotion for local Austrian banks, but they’re just as effective as promotions for making your own, unique instruments. Vienna-based composer Dr. Richard Eigner describes the project and the team …

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Quickie: Make a CD Case Out of a Piece of Paper

Quick! You need to send music to someone! You need to make it count! I love SoundCloud and whatnot, but with everyone so overwhelmed by music, there’s something about making something physical. We’ve covered this topic before, but: 1. I think we can all use a break from 2,000 word posts with 150 comments and controversy over deadmau5 (or Paris Hilton DJ debuts – staying away from that one). 2. CDM can only rarely link to wedding sites. This is one of those times. 3. With many variations out there, this one is especially nicely done, and nicely photographed, and …

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Handmade ‘Smomid’ Touch Guitar, in BOMB Video, Extends Expression and Samples Monks

What do you do if you can’t find an instrument that you can play the way you want? In the digital domain, you can just invent one. So, when Brooklyn-based artist Nick Demopoulos wanted a controller that’d allow him to articulate digital instruments more like a guitar and less like a keyboard, he built his own expressive touch controller. It uses arrays of touch-sensing strips on a guitar body. A future version, he says, will incorporate 6 “strings” (touch strips). New York-based literary/culture quarterly BOMB Magazine shot a video in which Nick walks through his creation. Nick has also played …

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Choppertone, Wooden Ableton Jazz Controller, and Folk Music of the 21st Century: Video

“Folk music of the 21st Century” – radio broadcaster, jazz aficionado, and jazz-based Ableton Live instrumentalist / remix artist Nick Francis really sums up what this whole site is about. As he chops up jazz greats in Ableton, his mash-up music chops are as much musical analysis as they are performance. He walks through his controller moves in a pedagogical way, highlighting the meat of the jazz legends he puts into play. It’s a kind of digital transcription, transcribing re-imagined for Ableton’s colored blocks in place of. Of course, you’ll only be able to reflect on this once you can …

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A Handmade Children’s Book, a 7″ Vinyl Record, and Tangible, Handmade Music

In the midst of all this talk of intangible digital intellectual property and arcane licensing and Internet policy, there’s something comforting about thinking of music and art as something you make with your hands and give to someone. It was a discussion of that – even in the context of technology – that first led me to the discussion of “Handmade Music.” (Tip of the hat to my friend, Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, with whom this discussion has crossed the Atlantic from Brooklyn to Berlin.) Via Cool Hunting, here’s an old-fashioned way of making a music object. The music is on …

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Experimental Turntablism with dj sniff – Inside the Rig, Process, Playing Technique (CDM Video)

Behind records, dj sniff hides a no-display computer-based rig running his own software, extending the possibilities of what turntablism can be. Photo by Tanya Traboulsi. dj sniff, aka Takuro Mizuta Lippit, has been a leading figure in experimental turntablism and experimental music in general. Following studies in New York and Tokyo, he’s been a key artist and curator in the scene, as well as a top practitioner of turntable technique that pushes the envelope of what the record player can do. I got to spend some time with him in the basement of STEIM, the cutting-edge “electro-instrumental” research center in …

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Reed Ghazala and Circuit Sound Artists in Videos, as NYC’s Bent Festival Gets Underway

Circuit bending has a reputation as involving far-out, unstructured experimental noise, of real violence and distortion done to instruments. And there’s probably a place for that. But Reed Ghazala, circuit bending’s spiritual father and electronic practitioner, takes a more organic, evolutionary approach. Reed recently told me about his favorite application of his iPad, apart from exploring new experimental soundscapes with tools like the brilliant granular app Curtis. He brings it with him into the forest, using GPS for location, and tracking plants and animals, identifying the sounds of bird and beasts. In our electronic ecosystem, fowl and beast are finding …

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