Interview: Jon Hopkins Talks Live, Studio Process, Habit, Instinct

Jon Hopkins performs live at the ICA. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Matt Biddulph. Classically trained as a pianist, musician and producer Jon Hopkins has one of the richest resumes in electronic music. He’s a frequent collaborator with Brian Eno, wand has worked with artists like Coldplay (who featured his music on their last album), Tunng, David Holmes, and Imogen Heap. He worked with director Peter Jackson, and has a sci-fi score on the way. He also has a rich set of solo releases. And we’ve seen him here recently with remix swaps with Four Tet and contributions to Eno’s upcoming Warp record. …

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BBQ Chicken Ambiences, and Ten Other Inspiring Sound Design Stories

Whether your trade in audio is in soundtracks for screens and games, or you’re just exploring strange, new worlds and seeking out new life and new timbres in your music, the discipline of sound design is as rich and deep as cooking. It’s something you can do every day. Okay, now just put that “cooking” metaphor out of your mind and steel your stomach. Sound maker and dirt bike rider Jim Stout of Austin (Roland, Sound Ideas, The Hollywood Edge) does some ungodly things with raw barbecue chicken and dog food. For more on Jim Stout, check out the exclusive …

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Real for Reel: The Amazing Sherlock Holmes Experibass, and More Winter Cinema Sounds

Sometimes, the best sounds come not from synthesis, not even from electrified instruments, but from the purity of a mic and acoustic instrumentation. It remains electronic, or even digital sound, but its source is organic. And so, one of the best reasons to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie in theaters is the wonderful noises that bounce around Hans Zimmer’s score. Behind many great film scores are great soloists as much as great composers, and Sherlock Holmes is no exception. Zimmer worked with Diego Stocco, sound designer, sound artist, inventor, and composer in his own right. To realize the inner …

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Camp, Remixed: Free Halloween Music Compilation Samples Horror Films

It’s campy horror sounds, remixed into digital music — the perfect way to celebrate the holiday! From our friend TRASH_AUDIO’s Surachai, who’s on the compilation: We have teamed up with Cock Rock Disco to compile a horrific compilation of the very best campy 80’s horror movies ever made, remixed by some of the greatest digital grind, metal, breakcore, and electro artists from around the world. Artists including Silon Fist, Terminal 11, Vytear , The Teknoist, Sgure, Toecutter, Duran Duran Duran, Eustachian, Bong-Ra, Captain Ahab, Surachai, Dead Noise, DJ Floorclearer, Droon. Enjoy the ride into hell, because this will be your …

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Futurism and Sphere Fetish: Microsoft Channels Woody Allen; Let’s Play Music with Spheres

I actually hadn’t had time to watch my tech RSS feeds yesterday when I said I “lost half an hour dreaming of my new lounge-style studio where I adjust envelope breakpoints from a giant aluminum sphere like the one in Sleeper.” But, anyway – wish granted! *Disclaimer: The following video, while demonstrating some insanely cool tech, may bore you to tears. In response to reader requests, we feel it’s important to warn you. Microsoft’s multi-touch Sphere plays crazy Pong [Boing Boing Gadgets] Now, of course, researchers being researchers, Microsoft R&D has taken a massive sphere controller and turned it into …

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Hello? It’s the Future Calling. We Have Your Synth, the Omega Orion.

The faux-Pan Am logo. The sleek, mod, curved white casing. The elegant controls. Yes, this is indeed a synth that would look at home in the space station in Kubrick’s 2001. Technically not the future so much as the 1960’s version of the future – but surely we’re getting around to reshaping our future to look more like that, right? At least for synths? The synth in question is the Omega 8, a “luggable” 20-pound, 8-voice analog synth with individual stereo pairs for each voice. It’s really, truly, old-school analog, with discrete analog oscillators, voltage-controlled filters of the 24dB and …

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Remixing Karate Kid Live: The Real Power of 3-Way MIDI Sync

Karate Kid AV Remix from momo_the_monster on Vimeo. A major highlight of the party CDM held last weekend with our friends at TRASH_AUDIO and VJKungFu.tv: a live remix of The Karate Kid. Momo the Monster mangled the video while Shane Hazelton and Stephan Vankov did music. The whole event was powered by some clever MIDI sync that managed to wrangle the gear — enough hardware that it seemed like the crew had just raided a Guitar Center — and sync up the video. Sure, the remix may sound silly — and it was. (Deliciously so.) But the interplay between the …

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Phil Dodds, The Synthesist You’d Want to Make First Contact, Dies

There are synthesists, and then there are people like Phil Dodds. He’s perhaps best-known as the man who wrangled the (real) ARP 2500 synthesizer in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind so that it could perform an elaborate jam session for (fictional) aliens. But he left an extensive legacy of achievements that helped make music technology more than science fiction. Our friend Yann Seznec (aka The Amazing Rolo) writes: You’ve mentioned Phil Dodds on your site before, the guy who played the ARP 2500 in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He was VP of Engineering at ARP, …

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Kermit the Frog Casio EP-30 Keyboard

It’s easier being green than you thought. Dig the fantastic green sharp and flat keys on this Casio EP-30, a kid-friendly variant on the legendary (okay, maybe just infamous) Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard. Our friend Bohus Blahut covered this on Retro Thing, but I missed it during various travels. It’s worth repeating here for one reason and one reason alone: it should inspire you to paint the keys on your MIDI keyboard. (Speaking of which, anyone got some good tips for that? Sounds like a tutorial wants to happen there. Nothing worse than peeling painted keys.) As a keyboard, otherwise, …

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Air Guitar Movie: Instrument of the Future is No Instrument at All

We’ve talked a lot on CDM about the future of instrument design. Here’s one for you. It’s entirely wireless. It’s touchless, but it uses sophisticated gesture tracking to translate motions into sound. Incredibly, it’s able to track the exact position of your body, wherever you are. It requires no electricity. No matter your skill level or experience, or even if you have any musical background whatsoever, you always sound exactly like your favorite guitarists. It only produces music you love; it doesn’t function with music you don’t. Sophisticated new instrument from researchers at an academic institution? Straight out of the …

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