RYAT's production setup.

In LA, looking to what new tech means for music makers

This week, the eyes of the music world will look at what’s new in toys. But how about looking further, to how technology is used? Going deeper to what’s happening in live music and music making is the essence of our new series Practice Space. CDM is excited to host a living-room style gathering of musicians and performance artists in the heart of downtown LA, and we hope you’ll join us – in person and online.

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Dark Shadows: Listen to Stroboscopic Artefacts’ Lucy Mix and Reflect on Music and Society

Here, in the season so many associate with sun and sand, the gothic factories of dark techno continue to clang away. So, yes, the results may not be cheery. But the music defining this new generation of adventurous techno is uniquely focused on timbre. It is a soundscape set against the groove, not only about tweaking just the right high hat, but forging some terrain of sonic design, taking the listener on a journey to actually find something new. It makes landfall on undiscovered countries, rather than simply assembling an expected framework for the dancefloor. It also carries with it …

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Music and Performance, Made On The Spot: Hacklab, Open Call in Berlin

Inventing technological hacks in short time is one thing. At CTM Festival in Berlin, we want to push collaborative participants to go further. First, invent the technology for performance. Then, invent the performance – and be ready to perform publicly – and it do it all in just one week. It’s time again to join a MusicMakers Hacklab. Last year was the first week-long event hosted with CDM, and the first at CTM Festival. CTM makes a perfect venue, a brilliant and packed showcase for adventurous sound (and in parallel with another digital media fest, Transmediale, in the same city …

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Erika: Musical Restraint, Space, Future, BBSes, Detroit [Interview]

From being a long-time mainstay of the Detroit scene to, at last, debuting a proper solo LP with Hexagon Cloud, the one word that can sum up Erika for me is, simply, “inspiring.” And if Hexagon Cloud’s perfectly-calibrated analog sounds and imaginative musical frequencies indulge our futuristic sonic fantasies, here we get the chance to talk to Erika a bit about what lies beyond musical parameters, too. That ranges from Detroit (past the fetishization of ruined buildings, please) to the liberation of early-90s BBSing to the appeal of outer space. You can listen to Erika’s work and revisit some reflections …

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Dance and Music: Convert Kinect to MIDI, Free Beta on Mac and Windows

When we first saw movements and dance converted to music in February, it must have sparked some interest. Developer Jesper Nordin tells us popular demand has prompted him to release a free (as in beer) version of his Gestrument Kinect controller. With a beta download and a Windows or Mac machine, you can translate Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera to MIDI events you can use with instruments. Previously (including mention of the iPad version of this idea, if you don’t fancy prancing about in front of a camera): Gestrument, Shaping Music with Kinect, Touch, and Acoustic Ensembles [Videos] Now, you can grab …

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If Your Body Were a Moog: Experimental Voyager Sounds + Contemporary Dance Portraits

six short stories about… from Vlaicu Golcea on Vimeo. The ubiquity of the classic subtractive synthesizer could make you think that its sounds are limited to familiar sounds. But it simply ain’t so. Part of why I think these designs endure is that it remains possible to coax new musical gestures, to voyage through new timbres. And so, with a small dose of Reaktor, Romanian composer/musician Vlaicu Golcea coaxes beautiful and surprising sounds from the Moog Voyager. In a strangely synesthetic experience, these sounds match perfectly the choreography. I’m often a fan of creating musical spaces that don’t touch each …

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From Beautiful Ambient Modern Dance to Dubstep, Gestures to Music in Kinect (Download the Tool)

It started as some compelling demos or proof of concept, but it’s plenty real now: the tools for translating movement, gesture, and dance from the body to interactive music march forward. Empowered by Microsoft’s Kinect and an artist-friendly toolchain, even a single, clever developer can do a lot. Sound designer, music producer, and Max/MSP developer Chris Vik of Melbourne has been one of those busy early pioneers, with an incredible tool called Kinectar. So, the tech is cool and shiny and impressive: what about the actual music? And, even more importantly, what if all the hand waving and moving about …

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Music Box Creations, with a Pd Score Made from Dance

In a twist on generating music from dance, artist and coder João Pais sends us Pd-generated scores, transformed into twinkling sounds by music boxes. As it happens, the music boxes are the same featured in Friday’s story on Ritornell. The piece is RISS, a “performative installation/concert” produced outdoors in Berlin, with a 30-meter score generated by Pd from movement. João describes his work: “The patch was simple, it analysed the sounds, and made a score using data structures. then I printed the score, and spent lots of hours puncturing all the holes.” The video documents those sounds, in a project …

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Richie Hawtin Teases Modular iOS Ableton Touch Control at SONAR

Well, I can’t quite see it, but this picture is really flattering. Come to think of it, I sometimes look a little better with a short depth of field, a sharp focus, maybe some haze over the lens. Yeah. That’s better. I don’t even need to shave. Touch performance control on devices like the iPhone and iPad has become increasingly popular, but the question remains: can developers push these interfaces further? Richie Hawtin has initiated a new touch control project and promises more “advanced” control of Ableton Live for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users. Details remain murky – developers …

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Merce Cunningham Dies at 90; How Electronic Music Shaped His Sense of Time

One of the great creative forces of our time died Sunday, choreographer Merce Cunningham. It would be almost disingenuous to call him one of the leading artistic revolutionaries of the 20th Century, if for no other reason than he remained choreographing past his recent 90th birthday and continued to the end a profound influence on our view of movement and time.

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