Traversing a Score in 3D Space: Free IanniX Explores Strange, New Worlds

IanniX — From UPIC to IanniX from IanniX on Vimeo. In the beginning, there was the bar. Actually, wait – that came later. In the beginning, there were sketched outlines of notes. And the notes became fixed in pitch space, and then, increasingly, in time, in divided measures from left to right. And so, what we know today as Western music notation came to be. But then, in the 20th Century, composers began to undo the rigid boxes that score produced. First with pen and paper, later armed with the computer, composers connecting graphic and sound started to violate those …

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Bitwig in Staged Beta; Video Reveals Features Up Close, Strange Song Lyrics

Live performance DAW Bitwig Studio is now moving forward with their beta, and a video demo this time provides a clearer look at what the software actually does. Ableton Live users, just be prepared for more of a sense of deja vu all over again: “Bitwig Studio has two views: the Arranger View, and the Mixer view. Both views share a powerful non-linear environment called the Clip Launcher.” Let’s talk for a moment about why that similarity has people talking. How is this any different from other DAWs that share common editing paradigms? Is Bitwig any more a “clone” of …

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Tunes, in Drops of Color: Design Project Mixes Minimal Notes with Audible Hues

Perhaps it’s the sense of detachment that comes from long hours spent staring at screens, peering into pixels and abstraction. But whatever the reason, when experimenting with design and music, creators seem increasingly drawn to simple, physical interaction. Somewhere in the mysterious play between senses, between seen color and unseen sound, they look for intuitive relationships. Designers Hideaki Matsui and Momo Miyazaki send in the latest adventure in induced synesthesia. Students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, they use a camera to connect color to sound. audible color from Momo Miyazaki on Vimeo. Full description:

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Gameplay, With Your Ears: Meltdown Lets You Squash Monsters Using Binaural Sound

Meltdown – Gameplay from Varun Nair on Vimeo. Crack – that snapping wood might just be something about to eat you! There is likely some evolutionary need for human hearing to be good at localizing sound in space. Whatever the reason, human perception is exceptionally precise when it comes to working out the position from which a sound originates. Conventional stereo sound just doesn’t do much with it. Using binaural sound, by contrast, you can position sound more accurately. And then you can play a game with your ears instead of just your eyes. “Meltdown” applies that idea to gameplay, …

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In a Swirl of Particles, luanna Uses Gestures to Touch Samples [iPad]

luanna is a beautiful new application out of Tokyo-based visual/sound collective Phontwerp_. Amidst a wave of audiovisual iPad toys, luanna is notable for its elegance, connecting swirling flurries of particles with gestures for manipulation. I imagine I’m not alone when I say I have various sample manipulation patches lying around, many in Pd, lacking visualization, and wonder what I might use in place of a knob or fader to manipulate them. In the case of luanna, these developers find one way of “touching” the sound. As the developers put it:

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Visual Music: My God, It’s Full of Dots – Yayoi Kusama Meets Musical Design

Tenori-On and iPad apps, hardware designs and visual creations: set against the beautifully-generative mind of Japanese/New York artist Yayoi Kusama, the flurries of dots and circles and patterns in musical interfaces take on a richer meaning. This video, from a workshop hosted at the Tate Modern alongside an exhibition of Kusama’s work, needs little introduction. Instead, the dizzying cuts of geometric abstraction, the array of visual ideas for musical interface begin to take on the same personality of her expansive creations. The galaxies produced out of the minds of musicians somehow overlap with this iconic artist. I hadn’t really made …

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Visual Music: SketchSynth Lets You Draw an Interface with Marker and Paper, A Brief Drawn-Music History

Today, I’m in London doing a hands-on workshop on visual metaphors for music, and covering various topics filed under “synesthesia” at Music Tech Fest. It seems appropriate, with the subject matter on the brain, to revisit the topic of visuals and music in a series of posts. When you make hardware, with knobs and faders, you’re constrained by physical space – the amount of room on a circuit board, the radius of a knob cap, the size of your fingers. But before you get there, the first step is to sketch an idea. Imagine if you could do that with …

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SoundCloud Provides First Look at a New Interface [Gallery]

For all you hear about the primacy of visual culture, you might not expect a Web service exclusively focused on sound to be a big hit. SoundCloud, however, has seen meteoric growth, hitting 10 million users in January. Its interface, however, hasn’t quite grown and matured at the same pace. We’ve seen a lovely-looking new HTML5-based player embed, but the main site hasn’t gotten the same refresh – until now. Yesterday evening, SoundCloud provided press and some members of the public with a first view of the new site. The facelift is organized around even greater focus on SoundCloud’s signature …

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Plink: Play Music with Strangers, In Your Browser; and the Webby Music Goodness Continues

It starts as just another toy to play around with in a few minutes of distraction in your Web browser – as if the Web were short on distraction. But then, something amazing can happen. Like a musical Turing Test, you start to get a feeling for what’s happening on the other side. Someone’s stream of colored dots starts to jam with your stream of colored dots. You get a little rhythm, a little interplay going. And instead of being a barrier, the fact that you’re looking at simple animations and made-up names and playing a pretty little tune with …

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Borderlands, Amazing-Looking Granular Sampler [iPad, Desktop, Free Source], and Beautiful Sound

How do you visualize the invisible? How do expose a process with multiple parameters in a way that’s straightforward and musically intuitive? Can messing about with granular sound feel like touching that sound – something untouchable? Music’s ephemeral, unseeable quality, and the ways we approach sound in computer music in similarly abstract ways, are part of the pleasure of making noise. But working out how to then design around that can be equally satisfying. That’s why it’s wonderful to see work like the upcoming Borderlands for iPad and desktop. It solves a problem familiar to computer users – designing an …

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