Polyrhythmus is an Insanely-Great, Free Generator of Rhythms, Arpeggios

Polyrhythmus is the machine generator of notes and rhythms many of us have long dreamt of. It does Euclidean rhythms – symmetrical divisions of time that beautifully produce common polyrhythms (not just for nerds, but modeling a lot of popular rhythms – see the research of Godfried Toussaint). It’s also capable of making other rhythms. It can be polymetrical or polyrhythmic. It’s … also an arpeggiator. It also automates parameters and MIDI Control Change messages. It has loads of modes. It’s modular. It’s dynamic. It’s amazing. It’s a music making nerd’s dream, friendly to anyone who loves rhythms, notes, and …


Max for Live Gems: Easier MIDI Mapping, Automation Recording, and Alternative Sequencing

As Max for Live has matured, this tool for extending the functionality of Ableton Live has played host to a growing wave of brilliant custom tools – enough so that it can be hard to keep track. This month saw a few that deserve special mention. In particular, two tools help make MIDI mapping and automation recording easier in Live, and point the way for what the host itself could implement in a future update. (Live 9, we’re looking at you.) And in a very different vein, from Max for Live regular Protofuse, we see an intriguing alternative approach to …


Bach Cello Suite No. 1, Visualized in Sweeping Arcs, and the Math Beneath

Alexander Chen, he of Kinect hacks and subways turned to strings, is back with another string visualization. Built in the browser (an interactive version is available), this work makes a visual accompaniment to Bach’s First Prelude from the Cello Suites. If you read music notation fluently, you may find the score itself suffices, but even so, the math to make this work – and the dance of circles across strings – is compelling. Alex, whose day job is with Google’s Creative Lab, talks to us a bit about the mathematics and process. First, his description: baroque.me visualizes the first Prelude …


Entire Musical Compositions Made from Just One Line of Code are Glitchy but Musical

You know you’re in for something different with an article that contains this line: “as 256 bytes is becoming the new 4K, there has been ever more need to play decent music in the 256-byte size class. ” In just a single line of code, Finnish artist and coder countercomplex, working with other contributors, is creating “bitwise creations in a pre-apocalyptic world.” What’s stunning is to listen to the results, even if you have trouble following the code – the results are complex and organic, glitchy but with compositional direction, as though the machine itself had learned to compose in …


Kompal Make a Crazy Sound and Light Machine, Ask You to Hunt for Triangles; Music + Video

They are so totally invited to our platonic solid and regular polygon music festival. Let’s hold it on the island of Samos, okay? Who’s in? Photo courtesy the artists. Perhaps channeling ancient cults of Pythagoras, the producer duo Kompal, based in Austria, have not only made an insane noise machine powered by light, but also ask you to hunt for triangles. Yes, the shape. Instead of a remix contest or photo contest or “like our Facebook page” business, they want you to take pictures of polygons. First, about that sound-and-light-and-noise thing that will scare your friends. It is “a unique …


Dodecahedronists, Unite: An Audiovisual Controller, Gestures and Polyhedra, Open Hardware

I love this controller, but I think we should keep it Platonic. Solid. Sorry, geometry humor. See, the controller in question is constructed as a convex regular polyhedron, such that all its faces are themselves congruent regular polygons meeting at each vertex, and … uh, never mind. Above, a stunningly gorgeous video from Polish media art group panGenerator, with some lovely chiming music following by the evidently-now-requisite dubstep demo. (Tip all of us could use, guys and gals – makeup. Styling. Now, they just need some post-production so you can’t see the IR sensors or the wires.) Hedoco, also based …


Eye, Ear, Body Candy: The Pulsing, Geometric AV Worlds of numbercult

Sometimes, to quote Depeche Mode, words are very unnecessary. Instead, lose yourself for a few minutes in the vibrating mathemagical lands of numbercult, audiovisual immersions in which sound and geometry fuse in a strange, abstract dance. Their most recent creation, found via Richard Devine’s prolific Facebook wall and posted earlier this summer, explores an actual audiovisual sequencer. See it at top: Connected is a graphical/musical sequencer system. a three way flow of information, between graphics, sound and external triggers shape the composition. Recorded in real-time. But actual functioning interfaces aside, I’ll leave you with some other video clips that traverse …


Fun with Waves, As Videos Reveal Guitar String Movement – and iPhone Shutters

At bottom, a strobe and high-speed camera accurately represent the way in which a string is moving. At top, a video taken with an iPhone camera distorts your sense of how the string is moving by capturing instead images of standing waves, caused by the rolling shutter on the device. The video isn’t wrong – it’s just showing you beautiful visualizations of standing waves that make visible how the shutter works on the camera more than they do how the guitar works. Full disclosure: I love waves. Analog, digital, acoustic, we’re talking vibrations in sound (and other substances, as well …


Shake It Like Euclid: Grooving Patterns, Open Source Tool, Now Sends MIDI – Watch

There’s something about symmetrical rhythms, it seems: through the power of math, these rhythms sound really good. We’ve looked a couple of times before at the spread of the Euclidean Algorithm for producing rhythms; see below. Wouter Hisschem√∂ller has updated what began as an in-browser Flash tool to build an free and open source, Java-based MIDI utility. You dial in the rhythms you want, and now, with the addition of MIDI output, you can play those rhythms in any software of your choice. (Ableton Live plays the part of the MIDI recipient in the video above.) Yes, you can actually …


Melodies Found in Barcodes, Then Shared, via iPhone

Strings of numbers are everywhere in our world, tucked just outside our awareness alongside identifiers like bar codes. Dutch media artist and inventor Leo van der Veen simply plucks that information and brings it to the fore. Barcodas is a barcode-scanning iPhone app that deciphers common EAN and UPC codes and translates them into musical patterns. Pick the scale you want, and out comes a melody. I’ve engaged in similar silliness myself, but in a sign of how handheld tech has changed, a project I did a few years back involved a USB scanner I purchased at an office supply …