Connect Your Brain to Synthesizers, with Desktop and Modular Creations for Brainwaves

Oh, sure, you can convert MIDI and clock and DIN and control voltage. But how about brainwaves? How about jacking your noggin straight into your synths and controlling synthesizers only with your mind? It’s not quite like The Matrix, yet, if that’s what you’re imagining. But some crafty Italian inventors/experimental musicians have already whipped up a working prototype of hardware that interfaces brainwave-sensing headsets to synthesisers via analog signal and MIDI. And tomorrow, the 26th of July, they’re putting their heads where their money is, premiering the whole system in a live performance. The boxes are designed to work with …

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Molding Sound with Flesh: Biophysical Muscle Music Keeps Evolving

Ominous | Incarnated sound sculpture (Xth Sense) from Marco Donnarumma on Vimeo. For all the interfaces that involve turning knobs or waving your hands in the air, artist Marco Donnarumma wanted to go deeper. His work pulses with his flesh, listening deep inside muscles for every slight impulse. And in Marco’s hands, it seems the air itself can be molded into sound – not with ethereal hand flapping, but as though the ether itself is made of dense clay. It’s been nearly two years since we spoke with Marco about his work, and the wwirord he coined for this kind …

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10 Great Releases From 2013 You Might Have Missed

Happiness is a list of new SoundCloud links to follow, records to go buy, artist names and sounds that are new – not the reappearance of repeated artists and musicians, usual suspects, and expected names, but something to actually discover. So, we’re grateful to CDM contributor Matt Earp, aka Kid Kameleon, for his selecting talents. Grab the headphones. -Ed. Top 10 lists are played out. Deconstructing what’s bad about Top 10 lists is ALSO played out. And people who make Top 10 lists miss a lot of music for all kinds of reasons – because an album isn’t in a …

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IK’s $99 BlueBoard Bluetooth Pedalboard, Stomps on iOS or Mac with MIDI

Singers or instrumentalists have plenty of brilliant-sounding apps these days running on iOS and Mac. But unless you plan to strip off those socks and play with your toes, you might want a stomp interface. IK Multimedia’s iRIG BlueBoard could be an ideal solution for Mac and iOS mobile users alike, a $99 wireless box that adds four switches and two expression inputs.

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Quiet Ensemble: Music by Pineapples, Mice, Snails, and Goldfish, and a Theater as Actor

In calm reflections on life and nature, the Quiet Ensemble lets flora and fauna compose their own ambient etudes, following their movements and tuning in on electrical frequencies. Mice running in wheels play music boxes; light and sound trace the slimy path of snails. Fruit charge up thick, glitchy bass, as goldfish perform an audiovisual quartet in rectangular aquaria. Based on Rome, this collective has produced a series of reflective audiovisual performances. Each project takes on a unique personality, musically and philosophically, so let’s look at them in turn. The snails Orienta; รจ qui ora, che decido di fermarmi from …

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Bio-interfacing Meets Music: Journal, Berlin Opening, and Get Started with Open Hardware Right Now

To understand the relationship between computer and musician, you have to first understand the relationship between computer and human. For many years, that interaction has primarily involved some gesture – the click of a mouse, the swipe of a finger – and an accompanying interface abstraction. But now, from phones to desktops, computers are not only data acquisition gadgets for photos and text and various hand gestures. They’re increasingly looking inward at their human masters, connecting to the biological feedback systems our bodies themselves use. And music is a perfect window into that world. It’s a big moment for bio-interfacing …

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CREATED: Digital Dub for 2012, Part 1 – A Quiet Bump, A Conversation with Peak

Photo by Phillip Stearns. The link between dub music and technology is as old as the genre itself – you could even argue that dub is THE purest example of a technology expressed through music. At its best, it’s like magic – when I first saw Scientist run the board for Mikey Dread live, it truly was like watching a magician at work. He had a way of flicking faders so fast but so subtly that they seemed to move with a will of their own. Although there are some core sonic elements of Dub that have been with it …

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Lovely, Ethereal Music, Made from New and Updated Reaktor Patches You Can Download

The wonderful, sometimes-inspiring, sometimes-daunting capability of the computer is to make any sound you like. Give someone an open toolbox, and they really limited only by skill and imagination. Graphical modular environment Reaktor by Native Instruments has a reputation for crunchy granular sounds and elaborate, multi-layered glitches, and those are to some of us certainly a good thing. But here’s some music made in Reaktor that tends in another direction. The creatoors give us some nice tools, to be sure, but they also give us some actual music and sounds to explore. At top, our friend Peter Dines has been …

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Pirating a Fundraising Album for an Italian Quake – Really?

Ligabue, one of the contributing artists, live in Berlin. Photo (CC) Matthias Muehlbradt. Sure, many issues around intellectual property are gray. But contributor Jo Ardalan has a disturbing story: what happens when a fundraising album gets pirated? Did illegal file sharing users know what they were doing — is there a need for a donation mechanism for these services — or is it really this bad? Apologies if this is old news – catching up during travel – but a question well worth considering. -Ed. We all know piracy forces labels, artists and developers to incur a huge cost. Recently, …

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Muon: Spectacularly Beautiful Speakers, with Gorgeous Sonic Visualization in Processing

The Speakers and Processing-coded visualization got a fittingly-lovely venue in Italy. Photo by Chris O’Shea, via Flickr. Looks can be a powerful agent for changing how we think about sound. Pairing liquid, organic speakers with equally fluid and dynamic visualizations, the launch of Muon last month in Italy made this principle readily apparent. I’m all about lo-fi, cheap gear here on CDM, but if you absolutely must launch luxurious aluminum speakers with spectacular animated visuals at a posh party in an Italian salon, I sure won’t complain. Pass the prosecco, please? This short YouTube video gives you an idea of …

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