FRACT, a Game Played Inside A Synthesizer World, Explains Itself [New Video, Mogi Grumbles]

FRACT, a 3D world-puzzle game based on synthesis, is after a long development beginning to become clear. And the voiceover from the latest trailer sounds a little like what happens when you get a teaching post in a university somewhere or a friend’s studio and discover the state of the analog gear in their dusty equipment storeroom: You arrive in a strange, forgotten world. A world that was once built on sound. You’re not really sure what happened here, or why, and you’re not even sure why you’re here. Part of the journey is figuring out where to go and …

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‘Edge of Nostalgia’ is a Calming Ambient iPhone Album Transformed by Mic

Edge of Nostalgia from Michael McDermott on Vimeo. Ambient, and — actually, literally ambient. Mikronesia’s “Edge of Nostalgia” is a chilled-out 7-track record of gentle grooves and crystalline melodies, delivered as an app. That’s nice enough. But with the aid of your iPhone’s microphone, you and the environment around you become part of the soundscape. Ambient sounds are fed through great washes of reverb and chattering chains of delays. Recently updated for iOS 7, the result is an album that is different each time you listen. As the creator notes, plenty of records include stock sounds of field recordings. Here, …

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A Quick Jam in Arcade Music Gaming, Making Synchronized Beats

So, electronic musicians and dance music makers just push buttons, huh? Actually… why not? There are certain parallels between the synchronized, quantized grids of computer music and video games. Rhythms, aesthetics, and even interface have evolved in tandem. Early games even hard-coded synthesizers and scores into the same circuitry that made the music, and each has made its impact on the other. Game designers keep toying with this concept in game design. I gave a talk on interactive music in gaming last week at Berlin’s A MAZE Indie Connect. But here’s one person at that same festival who did one …

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The Terror of Watermelons and Your Niece Screaming: Interactive Sonic Fear in Dead Space 3

Wilhelm wasn’t going to cut it for A-list game release Dead Space 3. Meet the young Amelia, instead, screaming. And behold the sheer horror that only a squishy watermelon can produce. I always knew fruit and toddlers were up to no good. Kill Screen, the indie game mag, collaborates with The Creators’ Project to go behind the scenes at developer Visceral Games to talk about the audio design and interactive sound system in Dead Space. Producer and editor Jamin Warren tells CDM it was his favorite of the series yet. In addition to examining sound design and field recording, the …

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How to Make a Music App for iOS, Free, with libpd: Exclusive Book Excerpt

What will you do with this blank slate? Photo (CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. Apple yesterday described their iPad as “this magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” So – how about making mobile devices into what you want it to be? With the help of author Peter Brinkmann and publisher O’Reilly, we’d like to give you a taste of Peter’s new book, Making Musical Apps: Real-time audio synthesis on Android and iOS. Imagining that a lot of you are especially curious about iOS, we’ll include the chapter on how to get started with development. It …

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Pd, Everywhere: Free libpd Gets a New Site, New Book on Making Mobile Music Apps

Pure Data (Pd) is already a free, convenient tool for making synths, effects, and sequencers and other musical generators. But imagine stripping away all the things that tie it to a platform – UI, specific hardware support – so it will run just about anywhere, on anything, in any context. That’s what libpd, a free, embeddable, open source (BSD) tool for making interactive music, does. Coders can take their favorite language and their favorite platform, and just plug in the power of Pd. They don’t even have to know almost anything about Pd – they can let an intrepid Pd …

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InvisiBall: Play Tennis with Sound, Blindfolded – or Blind

Trust your ears. It seems a simple instruction, in the teaser video for this project by Stockholm-based producer/composer HÃ¥kan Libdo. But for those of us used to having vision, focusing in on one sense – even the sense on which we rely for music and sound – can be an extraordinary experience. If digital interface design has done anything, it has forced new ways of looking at design across senses, and not just in a weary repetition of “we always do it this way.” Playing tennis in InvisiBall becomes a new experience. Sonic cues along direct the ball from side …

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Pugs Luv Beats Marries Music, Gaming on iOS: How it Was Made, How Free libpd Music Tool Helped

The iPad becomes a canvas for a game with an atypically-musical, interactive sound score. All images courtesy the developers. Photos by whatkristensaw. Truly generative musical scores in games have been few and far between, and “music games” has traditionally meant arcade-style rhythm games in which you repeat phrases or whole songs as accurately as possible. Pugs Luv Beats breaks those molds. Part of a vanguard of new gaming creations that generate dynamic music on the fly, it marries grid-based sequencing and resource-gathering gaming, as music making and gameplay blur together. The interactively-produced music could itself become a new way of …

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An Album That Can Be Heard Only in One Location, in Interactive Ode to Washington, D.C.

“You had to be there.” Live performance has always been dictated by being present in a particular place, at a particular time. Now, the same is true of an interactive album produced by brothers Hays and Ryan Holladay, aka Bluebrain. Both a two-man band and a two-man development team, there’s no clear dividing line between “coder” and “musician” for the artists on this project. But the only way to hear the work is to physically go to Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, and begin walking around. The satellites that populate the GPS received in your smartphone, currently on iOS but with …

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Portal 2’s Musical World, Available Free, in Non-Adaptive Form “For Testing”

Portal 2? It’s only love, and that is all. Following the score in adaptive – and freely-downloadable non-adaptive – form. Photo (CC-BY-ND) _Superbeast_. Game lovers may lap up anything the title Portal touches as though it’s covered in powdered sugar, but resident Valve Software composer Mike Morasky deserves special mention. His music for Portal, and now Portal 2, is dead-on: chilly, atmospheric, dystopian, but also pulsing with energy and able to capture the gaming blockbuster’s strange combination of diabolical cerebral puzzles with wit. It’s all the more impressive, as Morasky has straight-up parodied musical styles in his whimsical Team Fortress …

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