krystall

Teaser: The Joy of Music with Light, From Russia and Beyond

::vtol:: “luminescence” workshop from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Artists are, in endless cycles, rediscovering techniques that might otherwise have been discarded. And that includes performance concepts in the audiovisual realm. I’m this week in Moscow as a guest of the Polytechnic Museum (specifically their Polytech.Science.Art program. There is, I think, no more historically apt place on Earth to explore the connection between sound and image than the land of Scriabin, Kandinsky, Ballets Russes, and constructivist art, this epicenter of the audiovisual revolution. What you probably don’t know so well is audiovisual experimentation from the later Soviet period, and that was partly …

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playthebuilding_big

An Entire Building in Stockholm Just Became a Game Board

Not satisfied with producing hundreds of records and working with a litany of famous names, sound artist / composer / musician Håkan Lidbo several times a year embarks on some novel experiment in sound and interactivity. In the latest, he’s worked with smart lightbulbs from Philips to transform an entire building in Stockholm into your very own personal game board. They’re calling it the world’s biggest Master Mind game, and who are we to argue? The idea is, windows become pixels, and you play online to try to guess the color code of your opponent, in a game of wits.

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wej

Cool Tricks Wireless MIDI Can Do Now, on Mac, iPad, and iPhone

I love wires. You might even say I dream of them. But it’s time to stop thinking of MIDI as being a wire. MIDI has always been transport independent; that is, it’s a protocol that can run over anything. Apple has been doing more than anyone lately to exploit that potential, building wireless MIDI capabilities into iOS and (with the upcoming Yosemite) OS X. Now, here’s where wireless starts to look appealing – when you go mobile. Bluetooth is now capable of more reliable, low-latency, easy-to-configure setup than before, which means you might want to wipe your brain of your …

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MusicMakers Hacklab Report: Blinking Lightbulbs with MIDI, Why Working Together Matters

It’s a wonderful time to be experimenting with technology and music. You can create something that looks like the stuff most people imagine as “the future” – elaborate dances of light, power over sound just by waving your hand, software that seems directly out of Star Trek. But you can do it with technology that is now reaching maturity – decades of experience of artists, engineers, and designers is at your back. “That’s not new,” someone might say. Exactly. Instead of technology being a disposable commodity, forgotten in a couple of years, it’s actually something you can get good at. …

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Live does lighting. Mattijs and Michel working on lighting compositions in Ableton Live. All photos courtesy Mattijs Kneppers.

Playing Live From a Giant, Toothy Monster Mouth: Behind the Scenes with Feed Me

Spectacular spaceship showmanship, or actually synchronizing live electronic dance music performances? For Feed Me, aka Englishman Jon Gooch, the show had to be both. Software developer Mattijs Kneppers harnessed Ableton Live, Max/MSP, and Max for Live to make it all work. You may have seen the video; Mattijs gives CDM a unique look even further into how this is working, sharing a gallery of the stage rig and some of the technical details. CDM: So, of course, this was the summer that brought “press-play” performances into the public eye – and we’re actually I think indebted to deadmau5 for blowing …

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Lights and Music: The Harmonic Center of the Universe

The Harmonic Center of the Universe from Jesse Stiles on Vimeo. This beautiful, meditative installation of choreographed lights and sound, by way of Rucyl and Saturn Never Sleeps, is the creation of Chris Harvey, Olivia Robinson, & Jesse Stiles. The Harmonic Center of the Universe evidently narrowly escaped destruction last year during a thunderstorm, but perhaps Art is as much repair as it is creation. Artist Jesse Stiles specializes in such light shows. There’s a clear connection to the polytropes of Iannis Xenakis, with its own cascades of choreographed light – a reminder that lights can still have a place, …

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Playing Music with Light Pens, Flourescent Bulbs, Brought to You By … Sony?

The urgency of being way behind a single dominant player can make electronics makers do some odd stuff to promote their products. iPod, once an icon of digital cool, has achieved such ubiquity that it doesn’t even try to be hip any more. The thing is being promoted with American Idol, for crying out loud — not exactly indie cred. We saw Microsoft enlisting indie musicians and animators to sell Zune, of course. But here’s where things get surprisingly amazing: Sony is using weird and wonderful Japanese experimental music to promote Walkman. Now we’re talking. And whether or not Walkman …

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