Sequencing in 3D, with Rubik’s Cube

I’m a bit behind the eight ball … uh … Rubik’s Cube … on this one, but I think it is worth pointing to the arcane awesomeness of code artist Douglas Edric Stanley. Douglas solves a problem that has plagued humanity since the diabolical creation of the Rubik’s Cube: how can we play with this fun-to-move cube of blocks without having to (augh) actually match up all the colors? (Okay, maybe that problem only plagued me. Or didn’t really plague me, as I’d just fiddle around with the Rubik’s Cube and make interesting patterns.) The answer: make a three-dimensional step …

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Turntable Art: Turntables as Interactive Servers, Fashion

The ways in which people can reimagine the beloved turntable seems boundless. We’ve seen bass guitar turntables, computer scratching visualizations, turntable-controlled vibrating chaise longues, and turntables embedded in tree trunks as art installations. Still, there’s more: TurntablistPC is an ongoing art project coupling a vintage turntable with a vintage PC, creating a hybrid, record-playing server that can be controlled remotely by remote websites around the world. It’s the creation of artist Mogen Jacobsen, and it’s currently being exhibited as part of a show called Webscape at the Art Museum of West Sealand, Denmark. What? You’re not planning to pass through …

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Robotic Guitars, Lyrics as Art Installation

A beautiful art installation; pray they’re not programmed to play Stairway to Heaven. Saadane Afif’s Power Chords, view of the installation at the Lyon Biennial 2005. Image by Galerie Michel Rein. Maybe it’s something about music making in the digital age, the alienation of music technology. Or maybe there’s just something fun about mechanical objects making sound on their own. Whatever it is, artists lately have been fascinated by mechanical instruments. Here’s yet another one: French artist Saadane Afif makes sometimes-chilly installations out of musical objects, like a minimalist collection of guitars and amps, strummed by mechanical apparatus, in his …

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Controllers + Live, Reaktor, In Action: From Colombia to New York

Using old controllers in new ways, using new controllers in old ways … when playing live, having some controller gear is a must. Gustavo Bravetti sends video of himself playing Ableton Live using various novel controllers, live from Colombia. (That’s Colombia, not Columbia.) Yes, you can wow crowds playing with laptops — especially when you perform synth lines with drumsticks. (Pity some of us are worse drummers than keyboardists; this solution would definitely not work for me!) As it happens, Gustavo’s email hits the night of a MIDI controller “brain dump” at the Warper Party here in New York City. …

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Online Grain Silo Music Performance, on the Silophone

Photographer Diana Shearwood took these images in a haunting photoessay documenting the Silophone. (Yes, “haunting” and “grain silo” can go together.) See the “Reservoir” section of the Silophone site. Music itself may be ephemeral, but it’s deeply connected to the spaces in which it’s performed and heard. You’ll notice that space all the more readily if it’s, say, a giant, cavernous grain silo, and you can access the space not only in person but over the Internet. And, really, you can’t call yourself an audiophile if you don’t have a grain silo handy for listening. JollyRogered writes with this gem …

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Turning Economics into Music: Sing Along with Philippines GDP

Click To Play Max/MSP visionary David Zicarelli is fond of saying that Max/MSP is really about numbers. You might hear music, but it’s number crunching that makes it all happen. Understand how to make the numbers work, and you can make your music and visuals do what you want. (Happily, this does not require a whole lot of math acuity, or I wouldn’t be able to do it. Instinct and imagination seem to be the best hallmark of Max masters.) Lest you believe numbers can’t really make music, though, there are always bizarre and unusual examples of sources for Max …

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Drop Spin Fade: Gestural, Game-like Sound Control in 3D

Chris O’Shea sends along his latest project, a collaboration with sound designer and composer Owen Lloyd called Drop Spin Fade. Part of the Future of Sound tour, Drop Spin Fade allows users to position, sculpt, and play with sound in a 3D environment using gestural control. Drop Spin Fade The music/sound environment: Through a series of iterations, Chris and Owen have started simple and built increasingly-sophisticated sonic control using the setup, manipulating granular samples by spinning and bouncing them around the space. It’s not just positioning at work here: you can actually shape the sounds you’re hearing by interacting with …

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Maker Faire: Giant Bicycle-Part DJ Looping Reel-to-Reel Tape Deck

Reel to Wheel is a massive sound-making device built from bicycle parts and a dismantled reel-to-reel tape deck. Move around the absurdly over-sized controls, and its analog inner workings groan and creak their way through recorded sound. Move the wheel at the right speed, and you get an effect quite like scratching — or, since it’s tape, it’s really “scrubbing.” Reel to Wheel Project Page, with wonderful hand-drawn illustrations featuring Hank the Dummy. The project, shown last weekend at the Maker Faire, is the creation of Sasha Leitman, Steven Backer, Jesse Fox, and Jen Carlile at Stanford University’s Center for …

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Gallo’s 5LS Prototype: Gorgeous, 78-inch Tall Giant Speakers

While on the subject of Gallo Speakers, here’s about as far as you can get from the baby-sized A’Diva satellites: speakers that tower 78″ tall, pack some 12 4″ aluminum woofers each, and deliver nearly omni-directional sound. Micro speakers (5″ each), yes, but in a slender but tall enclosure. The Reference 5LS speakers, due third quarter 2007 but shown recently at CES in prototype form, alternate mid-range spheres with tweeter cylinders vertically. The idea is to deal with phase and dispersion issues in a nearly (though not quite) omni-directional speaker. Gallo also showed off a reference amp that would couple …

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Mac Pro Watch: Apogee Syphony Drivers with 2ms Latency; 64-Channel Surround Installation

We don’t have to wait for press releases around here; an enthusiastic Apogee employee (not from the sales and marketing end, he says) writes in to brag about Apogee’s support for the new Apple Mac Pro. Not only are drivers available today for using the Apogee Symphony PCI-Express audio card, but Apogee says the combination of Apple and Apogee hardware acheives an unheard-of 2ms latency. From Apogee’s official statement: Apogee’s new Universal PCI-Express driver, in combination with the powerful Intel processors in the Mac Pro, lowers the latency of the Symphony PCI-Express card by over 50% into the 2ms range. …

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