Gijs’ Servo Sequencer, Opto-Mechanical Music, Events in Breda + Eindhoven

The Servo Sequencer with its hypnotic-looking optical disc. Photo courtesy Gijs Gieskes. Artists Gijs Gieskes’ sequencers are almost like physical, mechanical software, an expression of musical structure in object form. As such, even as they make strange sounds, they become musical sculpture. His latest Servo Sequencer combines optical and mechanical process, as frequency circles spin on a turntable and tone arms float above them. The Servo Sequencer is built for exhibition use – meaning, yes, he’s brave enough to let you play with this contraption. Sequence the arms using buttons, then adjust the volume mix and placement of each arm …

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GorF, the DIY Step Sequencer: Video Demo

Forget NAMM — one of a handful of hardware I’m most excited about in 2009 is all DIY, the 8-step GorF step sequencer. (I’m hoping for follow-ups like a Forg or Grof. Kermit (Muppet) fans know what I’m talking about.) With four sequences with parameters, steps with pitch, gate, and Control Change, sequencing controls, legato mode, and the planned ability to both send and receive clock, this is one useful-looking device. And from the video above, it looks like it’s progressing really nicely. In fact, if you think about it, it’s kind of puzzling that there isn’t a simple, cheap, …

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DIY Step Sequencer, Coming Soon as a Kit?

Here’s something I’d very much like to see: a hackable, kit step sequencer. nostromo tips us off to a blog item on his site on the project. The creation of Monowave maker Paul Maddox, the 8-step sequencer is based on an Atmel Mega16 micro chip. The whole thing is looking very compact, which could make a nice little unit or might integrate well with other projects (like a synth). The other good news to me: new DIY hardware could be a great way to run clock into software. Previously, that job has fallen to somewhat dull consumer drum machines. With …

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HP48 Graphing Calculator as MIDI Keyboard

It’s hard to write the first line of this, because in this case any reference to Kraftwerk’s “Pocket Calculator” is wildly redundant. This is a calculator. He is the operator. This is a real, working HP48 graphing calculator playing MIDI events. You can go, like, graph stuff with it afterwards, do some Calculus. And we can thank a few people responding in a mobile music poll on this site for making it happen. Andrew Turley, who has previously built a microfiche MIDI machine (thus making his way through arcane academic equipment as MIDI controllers), describes the project: This is a …

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Guest Blog: Software Programmer Dreams of New, Small Music Machines

The Arduino Piano, as photographed here by neonarcade aka Aaron Rutledge, serves as a jumping off point for imagining the mobile music hardware machines of the future. Marc “Nostromo” Resibois, aka “m.-.n,” lives the digital life of computers. The Belgian musician and hacker [@MySpace] is renowned as a Game Boy musician, as the inventor of legendary Nintendo tracker LittleGPTracker, and even has a day job as a programmer for VJ software maker Arkaos. But lately, his thoughts have turned to more traditional synthesis hardware – hardware that acts as tiny computers. Nothing is going to shake me from my love …

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Preview: OpenStomp, Open Source Effects Stompbox, US$349

Ever dreamed of being able to program your own DSP hardware as easily as you can connect custom effects on your computer? Earlier this summer, we saw the open source OpenStomp effects pedal. Then, information was scant and we hadn’t seen an actual unit. Now, the box is going into production for North America at US$349, available for purchase right now. The magic inside is Parallax’s Propeller CPU core. If anything kick starts a DIY revolution for DSP hardware, this could be it. The software is Windows-only, but Mac users, could be a good reason to install Windows dual-boot; there’s …

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Robot Drum Machine Roams, Samples, Bangs On Stuff

This has been making the blog-o-rounds, but if you haven’t seen it, the Yellow Drum Machine is a brilliant musical robot — brilliantly musical, and brilliantly simply technologically. (There’s something to be said for elegant design.) It rolls around, looks for objects nearby, bangs on them, and samples that sound. (Hmm, it’s like a little robotic equivalent of me around my apartment.) As seen on MAKE. The specs are terrific: Cost to build: $120 Time to build: 20 hours Actuators / output devices: 6 geared motors in total, 2 speakers, sound sampler Control method: autonomous (very) CPU: Picaxe 28 Operating …

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