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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Exquisite Sonic Sculptures, Made with Motors and Cardboard

Granular synthesis, as described by Iannis Xenakis, imagined sound as constructed from elementary elements. In the work of Zimoun, elementary sonic grains are physical. An undulating wall of cardboard rubs surfaces against one another to form a chorus of sound. Cotton balls roll against boxes in throaty clouds of sound. Wires wriggle like some sort of insect antennae. Below, the newest video of his work, in which cardboard petals form an animated wall of rustling noise. The results, powered by simple DC motors in kinetic musical action, recall some kind of natural, organic colony. Assembled in structures sculptural and architectural, …

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Music, Like Clockwork: Modular Music Boxes with Rotating Wheels, Inspired by monome

Working with music in software means thinking a bit like a music box maker, using sequences to create note and rhythm machines. Nick Rothwell sends a project in which he literally engages the mechanical music box, with rotating electro-magnetic discs and a set of digital devices that recall their 19th-century predecessors. The designs are modular, interconnecting with one another into a little music box ensemble. And in another sign of the influence of the design of the monome, they explicitly nod to that hardware and its community as an aesthetic cue. (I have to admit, though, I’m more envious of …

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Turntable-Based, Kinetic Sound Sculptures and Instruments

Works For Turntable from Stephen Cornford on Vimeo. Digital sound, and electronic sound in general, can become abstract. In fact, sound itself can be abstract. So there’s something beautiful about rendering sound as something kinetic, mechanical, and physical. Watch the hypnotic works by Stephen Cornford, top; as the video progresses, the pieces deepen in subtlety. (Thanks to Richard Devine for spotting this one.) Cornford isn’t the only artist finding new sonic frontiers in the turntable. From a recent event in San Francisco sponsored by our friends at MAKE Magazine, artist Walter Kitundu talks about his own fascination with the turntable …

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Black Friday: Free Synths+Effects from Cakewalk, Plus Steep Discounts

Take my synth, please! Grab this instrument, the sample playback plug-in SFZ+, free for Windows. “Black Friday” has become a traditional date for talking discounts, but one price you can’t beat is free. Cakewalk is giving away some of their older effects and synth plug-ins. These aren’t just hand-me-downs – Cakewalk forum members lamented that a couple of these didn’t receive greater development attention. They’re eminently usable on Windows systems now. Available free: SFZ+: The real highlight here, rgc:audio’s excellent SoundFont sampler player, with built-in effects, various performance options, and an all-in-one interface Square I: A very lovely analog subtractive …

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