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Sound, the Final Frontier: Audio Collections as Planets in Space, Intelligently Related

Two spacey ways of finding media: music collections, heirarchy, and images of planets in Planetary for iPad, top. Sound and loop collections, “magnetic” relations, algorithmic categorization, and rapid torchlight auditioning in Soundtorch 2.0 for Windows, bottom. If your music and sound collections seem like outwardly-expanding universes, two new tools promise to bring order by representing media as virtual planets and stars. One works on albums and tracks on the iPad; the other uses computer-aided analysis of loops and samples (not just music) on Windows. One will make your eyeballs pop; one might help you manage gigs of samples for a …

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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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Inside the Rock Band Network, as Harmonix Gives Interactive Music its Game-Changer

There’s a lot of hype around the latest schemes for changing how artists get their music to fans, but not actually a whole lot of news. (It always seems to boil down to a website with some unpronounceable name.) Well, this is news: Harmonix is opening up Rock Band to anyone who wants their music in it, and giving you the same sophistication of tools they use themselves. That’s a real game-changer – literally. And I don’t mean just for the actual game Rock Band. Sure, Harmonix was the house that made music games a phenomenon in the US. They …

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Depressing Project of the Day: Stock Market, Set to Music with Microsoft Songsmith

I’ve been talking to folks about sonifying or music-i-fying data a lot lately; I even created a soothing, gamelan-like melody from my Gmail spam folder at South by Southwest last spring. But this particular example is, well … special. I hesitate to share this, because a) YouTube numbers suggest you may have seen it already and b) it’s pretty depressing. On the other hand, it’s not like the fact the economy is depressing is news, exactly, so I suggest we employ the time-tested coping method that is laughter. Thanks (?) to Paul Norheim for this. It also suggests a pleasing …

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Fight the Microsoft Songsmith Cheese with Samples, Styles

Okay, so you’ve seen the painful demo video for Microsoft Research’s Songsmith software – it was intended to me tongue-in-cheek, I think, but the self-parody didn’t quite work. But the idea of auto-accompaniment software that interprets your recorded singing remains impressive. And I’ve gotten some tips that it is possible to make Songsmith sound good. Naturally, the biggest variable will be the quality of your own singing. But to make the software side of the equation more interesting, it is possible to extend the tool. Garritan, maker of the samples in the tool, has two add-ons. There’s an orchestral pack …

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Will Someone Else Please Blog the Microsoft Songsmith Video For Me

CDM has been publishing for over four years. For once, I actually can say … nothing. Please provide your own snark in the comment space below. The CDM family thanks you. Beamz ad, there’s a new sheriff in town. Gizmodo: Beamz Infomercial Is Most Stupid Promo Video in History [Published in the more innocent times of April 2008] Updated: Yes, this is the Microsoft Research team doing the video. So, in their defense, they don’t do promo videos or music for a living. We love you, Microsoft Research. It’s not even worth saying “Don’t Quit Your Day Job.” As we …

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Microsoft Research’s Songsmith Will Sell for $30, Match Accompaniment to Your Singing

In a surprise announcement (well, surprising me, at least), the experimental MySong shown by Microsoft Research earlier this year will be available for sale. US$29.95 will buy you a downloadable auto-accompaniment tool. Windows-only, but it sounds as though a Mac release is in store (seriously). It’s a bit like Band-in-a-Box for singers: sing in a line, and the software will generate accompaniment to your singing with styles of your own choosing. There are thirty styles included, and apparently Microsoft focused on the content end in bringing this product to market: there’s a 1 GB space requirement and partnerships announced with …

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Generative Music Interfaces of the Future – Look to Games?

I’m going to make this a minimalist post because I’ve said what I’ll say about Kodu, the one really cool part of Microsoft’s keynote yesterday, on Create Digital Motion. (Am I the only person who wishes Sparrow had just done the whole keynote?) But have a look at the shot above. One of the complaints about generative and algorithmic music software (and music software in general) is that the interface has been so complex. Clearly, there are many other ways to design these interfaces, and in turn, to shape the way we use these to compose and perform music. Forget …

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