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I Played the Oval Digital Hand Pan, And It’s Amazing

Making a futuristic new music instrument requires more than just the spark of a clever idea. It needs resources, funding, input from musicians, and other ingredients, in perfect balance. Those dimensions can offer cold, hard reality, but met properly, they can also offer opportunity. And that’s part of what made Barcelona’s SONAR+D such a compelling place to be last week. Tucked into the packed SONAR festival was a convergence of the engineering, musical inspiration, and business knowhow required to make musical inventions. The Oval, superstar of a pavilion hosted by Kickstarter, was the highlight for me. We saw it in …

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8-bit Remake of Hasselhoff’s True Survivor is the Best Thing We’ve Watched This Week

Okay, we hit some sort of nerd singularity just now. Start with David Hasselhoff’s cheeky, cheesy “True Survivor.” Remake it on the 8-bit SidTracker 64 app. You’ll swear all of this actually happened in the 80s, even if it didn’t. Retrorgasm. And yes, this gem is included in the app. Musical arrangement: Fredrik Segerfalk Graphics by Vanja Utne: http://twitter.com/CheesePirateEq2 Video and extra GFX by Moppe SidTracker programming by Daniel Larsson Please roll down your windows and ghetto-blast this one this weekend.

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SidTracker 64 Puts Retro Chip Music Creation on Your iPad

Pity the iPad. Unlike the Commodore 64, Apple’s wundertablet doesn’t come with a state-of-the-art SID synthesizer chip inside. Well, now emulation solves that problem. SidTracker 64 is both an emulation of the SID sound chip on the Commodore computer line, plus a workstation for arranging your own songs. And it’s already got some songs to get you started, like the classic “Commando” by Rob Hubbard, which you can play or remix. It’s loaded with all the usual production extras. And don’t let the “tracker” name put you off: you can play in real time, which naturally works well on the …

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Here’s How To Get Yourself on Apple Music – Even Unsigned

Okay, so you’re not Trent Reznor or Drake, but you do make music. Will you be able to get your music on Apple’s streaming service? And what about these artist pages for connecting with fans? Answer: yes to both, if you like. Apple today gave a lot of lip service to independent producers and “bedroom” music makers – even going as far as showing the latter in their video. (He had a vintage M-Audio Trigger Finger Pro and a new IK Multimedia iRig Pads, no less.) It seems there are specific plans, too, posted for the moment on a page …

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5 Tidbits of Good News from WWDC for Musicians and Visualists

Apple’s WWDC keynote this year is an mix of mostly consumer-focused, end-user features and the occasional nerdier developer-centric discussion, plus a healthy heaping of hyperbolae. (The App Store, compared to the invention of the telescope and the discovery of electricity – did I hear that right?) But, if you’re paying close attention, there are some tidbits of good news for people using Apple’s platforms for creative work – or making the tools those people use. Before we talk about Apple Music, let’s look at the OS news. 1. Metal in OS X will open up new visual possibilities. Metal is …

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Novation’s Launchpad Grid, Now in Color, for Ableton or iPad

Novation’s Launchpad has seen slimmer and smaller versions. And upcoming is a Pro version with pressure/velocity and MIDI in and out. But if you just want the grid, you can now get the base model with RGB color. It’s officially called the Launchpad mk2. No availability or pricing yet (damn you, unstable Euro), but you can sign-up for notification. The update has the same basic design as the original, but updated with styling from its Pro sibling, and RGB color behind the pads for more visual feedback. Here’s the obligatory video of the new model, which gets a very cute …

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New Animoog for iPad Fixes Everything; Hear it Go Indian, Do Improv

Forget for a moment whether it says Moog or not. Maybe it could say “Rogue” or “Brogue” or “Kylie Minogue.” Animoog would still be one of the handful of software instruments that really make the iPad feel like a proper synth. And yes, it is also beautifully polyphonic, expressive, features an interface that could only work on iPad, and sounds amazing. There’s been just one problem: amidst an avalanche of Apple OS updates, that synth wasn’t always working reliably. And the love from the developer (yes, the famous one that rhymes with “Vogue”) didn’t seem to match the love from …

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zMors Puts a Modular on Your iPad – Now with Pd Patch Support

There are lots of one-off apps for iPad – a synth here, an effect there. zMors is something else: a complete modular patching environment. And that doesn’t just mean putting some virtual patch cables onscreen. zMors does MIDI input. It works with hardware modulars (via audio and control voltage). And now, it adds Inter App Audio for use with other apps – and it loads Pd patches. That’s right: you can put a modular patching environment inside your modular patching environment. Load a Pd patch from your computer into zMors, and combine it via other modules. That looks simply amazing …

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Inside The Glitch Mob’s Crazy Rockstar Live Electronic Rig

Press play? More like bang drums hit stuff finger warp touchpad go crazy. The Glitch Mob are one of America’s leading festival electronic acts. (And members like EdiT have IDM, not just EDM, credits to their name – so they were “glitching” before it was cool, in other words.) But while that circuit is in a frenzy of one-upmanship when it comes to spectacle, there’s some real playing behind this act. And that distances them from artists that put on a big show visually but have shied away from anything risky in the set – like actually playing the parts, …

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Watch These Videos and Make Musical iOS Apps with Pd, Free

The challenge in making tools, as in making anything else, is really the making. It’s one thing for an idea to exist in your head, another to really get down to construction. And very often great engineering means testing, means building the idea and then refining it. So prototyping is everything. That could explain the increased passion for hacking. Whereas big development efforts are a morass of meetings, or traditional prototyping could mean elaborate distractions from testing what we really works, “hacks” work to get something usable more quickly. And that means testing the usability of an idea happens faster. …

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