In Videos, a Battle of Controllers and Live Electronic Performance

In a competitive show of virtuosity, artists at an event in San Francisco over the summer battled to show that live electronic and laptop performance can be physical. It’s dance music that makes the artist sweat, and not just the audience. Hosted by the new Controllerism.com blog with San Francisco’s LoveTech and Slayer’s Club communities, the West Coast Championship Controller battle saw some fierce competition from some top names in live laptop music. The events itself was back on June 25, but this week, full video documentation has become available, so those of us who couldn’t be there can get …

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Music with Your Face: Artist Kyle McDonald Talks Face-Tracking Music-making with FaceOSC

Music making with your face? It’s just the latest novel way of manipulating your computer with movement, thanks to a revived interest in camera-based interaction spurred by Microsoft’s Kinect and hackers making it work, and other computer vision libraries. One original work: FaceOSC, which uses custom tracking code and a standard computer webcam (no additional hardware required) and free code to send control information for applications like live music performance. Kyle McDonald may have already wowed you with his face-tracking wizardry, but it’s easy to want to know more. Sure, it’s cool, but, um, what is it for? How do …

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Rainlith: A Robotic, Responsive Rainstick, Powered by Kinect

In a responsive, real-time sculpture, the simple sonic qualities of a rainstick become electronically enhanced. Rainlith, a “kinetic sound art” work by Rui Gato, makes the rainstick itself robotic, its sounds transformed in space in a way that is itself sculptural. Responding to movement in the space using Microsoft’s Kinect, the apparatus is a geektastic brew of just about every tool you could imagine involved in this sort of construction. The artist shares full details, reproduced here in both English and Portugese – and Rui, thanks for sending this in:

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You Are the Lazor Music Controller: Kinect + LASERS + Ableton + Max/MSP

Matt Davis [namethemachine] is seen here with Microsoft’s Kinect computer vision / 3D camera controller, plus – stealing the show – lasers. The lasers in question are a rig by Henry Strange, which allows computer control of laser direction using the DMX protocol. (DMX is a protocol similar to MIDI – though actually a bit simpler, if you can believe that – generally associated with lighting and show control.) I could say more, but I’ll let you watch the video and ponder. The ingredients: OpenNI, the “natural interface” not-for-profit standards body and organization that allows drivers across multiple hardware (Kinect …

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Free Patching Circles: In SoCal, A Community Gathers Around Multimedia Creation with Pd

Handmade software distribution: homebrewed USB keys store free software. Photo courtesy Theron Trowbridge. Imagine Pd everywhere. Pure Data, a free tool for constructing music and media by creating graphical code, is spotted this week hacked to run on a lowly Nook tablet and interfacing with the powerful Kinect camera system. A community in Los Angeles and Southern California is growing around the idea of the “patching circle,” in which users of various tools (Processing, Max for Live welcome, too) gather to share the process of making, like knitting circles of yore. (Yeah, okay, I made up the term, so you …

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A Kinect-Based Instrument; Polyphonic Theremin, No April Fool’s Joke?

It’s hard to assemble an April Fool’s Joke involving technology these days, because actual inventions keep proving stranger than fiction. When Google created a prank involving gestures for controlling email, it was only a matter of time before someone whipped up a prototype that actually did the job. The Moog Music company, therefore, may be asking for trouble. Their highly-entertaining polyphonic Theremin is spot-on parody, down to the “Stairway to Heaven” solo. And part of the geekier joke for Theremin players is the knowledge that the technology behind this instrument makes what they’re describing safely impossible. But what’s impossible with …

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At Music Hack Day, Amidst Listening Interfaces, Novel Performance Control a Winner

One top prize-winner: Stringer, which applied Kinect camera magic to simulated strings. More on how it was made below. Photo (CC-BY) Thomas Bonte. With Web data providers offering generous cash prizes and a strong emphasis on harnessing data to transform listening, music consumption took center stage at Music Hack Day’s debut in New York. But it was novel music controllers, the sort that once were commonplace only at academic music conferences, that stole the show. That suggests that whereas building the next MySpace was once the hot music tech, the future might look more like a race to build the …

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Virtual Theremin Made with Kinect; Real Thereminists Will Make it Useful

Therenect – Kinect Theremin from Martin Kaltenbrunner on Vimeo. Who says technology has to move fast and die young? Leon Theremin may have been a full century ahead of his time, before computers, before transistors, before jet engines or atomic power or rockets. ReacTable creator Martin Kaltenbrunner has a virtual Theremin prototype built with Microsoft’s depth-sensing, 3D Kinect camera. And what he really needs is some players of the real Theremin to help develop it. Martin writes CDM:

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Kinect with MIDI, with Microsoft’s 3D Camera

Ben X Tan writes to let us know he’s working with hacks for Microsoft’s Kinect 3D camera system for Xbox to perform MIDI control. Result: depth-sensing, gestural musical manipulations! It’s just a prototype, but since today I cover the larger landscape of what’s happening with Kinect, it’s well worth teasing. From the description: Coded in C#.net using this: http://codelaboratories.com/nui Very hacky ugly, yucky, alpha prototype, source code available here: http://benxtan.com/temp/pmidickinect.zip Next project is making a version of pmidic that uses Kinect. Then, you can control Ableton Live or any other MIDI software or hardware with you limbs. Isn’t that amazing!!! …

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