diagrams

Now, Everything in the Real World Can Be Modular – Candles to Plants to Lava Lamps to Motors

You know that saying about everything looking like a nail when all you’ve got is a hammer? Well, someone got a little carried away dreaming of wires, and it seems they’ve now a module that can begin to see all kinds of objects and substances as control voltage. We’ve seen a new collections of modules and tools. And it turns everything in the world into a modular synthesizer input and output. We already knew the strange and wonderful Czech team of Bastl Instruments (of Standuino fame) were up to some weird science. It just got a whole lot weirder. Sure, …

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Spinning Optical Drum Buddy and the Wild DIY Punk World of Quintron and Miss Pussycat

Deep in the Ninth Word of New Orleans lies the workbench and studio of one Mr. Quintron, the inventor-organist who has applied his DIY mad-scientist sonic production to a unique flavor of insistent punk. Mr. Quintron was this week in my home neighborhood in Berlin, accompanied by his wife Miss Pussycat – maraca player (maracaist?), vocalist, and puppeteer behind Flossie and the Unicorns. There was a puppet show. It was about cake – demon cake. There was the debut of a new inflatable puppet. Shirts came off. Sounds were made. It was hot. It was loud. Just as these puppets …

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Listen as a Compiler Makes Weirdly Good Blippy, Glitchy IDM Sounds [Free Tools]

What’s the sound of a computer program running? Normally, nothing – the number crunching that takes place as software allocates memory forms patterns, but not ones that might immediately make sense of sound. “malloc” is a C function that allocates memory in which code executes. But a simple hack takes the output of a compiler, and makes sound files out of it. It’s the equivalent disconnecting the pipe from a widget-making factory, and instead of producing useful tools, making cool shapes out of sugary icing – useless and delicious. It’s a sonification of the memory allocation and reading process itself, …

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Meet the Strange, Wonderful 70s Machine that Used AI to Make Music

The 70s were one heck of a groovy time. When they weren’t postulating theories about the very underlying essence of all physical reality being reduced to computational models, pioneering AI scientists were … creating weird music sequencers? Seriously? The Singularity will be brought to you by Giorgio Moroder, perhaps? Yes, as we saw earlier this week, AI legends Edward Fredkin and Marvin Minsky somehow managed to take their research in philosophy, digital physics, and cognitive science, and make a weird box that most definitely is capable of blinking lights and making sequences of bleeps. The Triadex Muse really seems like …

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Watch: McRorie, Legend of Wearable Music Instruments, Still Rocking

The one-man band from the future, McRorie, is still going, it seems. Unbeknownst to us, the artist – real name, Stuart McRorie Tait – revealed a new live electronic show reel at the beginning of the year. See top: he’s still tapping his shoes for drums and beating his chest for toms, but he’s swapped out Starr Labs for his original, more conventional keyboards. The kilts are gone, sadly, but there’s an acid-distorted VJ mix in the background. And if the mood is right, lightning bolts apparently shoot from his crotch. MIDI keyboards strapped to the body have perhaps become …

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generalmidi

MIDI Piano Roll Turned Into Platformer: Adventures of General MIDI

It turns Logic Pro into a game level editor. It makes a standard MIDI file into a terrain of platforms to explore. As you navigate, your footfalls on piano roll-visualized notes procedurally generate sound effects and music. And it turns General MIDI — and Super Midio, and my personal favorite, the SysExorcist — into heroes. It’s Adventures of General MIDI, a platformer made from MIDI files. And it’s the creation of Will Bedford, who quips that he fails miserably at his own game in the YouTube video and gives up at the end. Even more unlikely (arguably), it’s built in …

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cube

A Big Ass MIDI Cube with Hakan Lidbo, Live at MIDI Hack Stockholm [Video, Code]

It’s a big-ass MIDI cube. Okay, sometimes the name kind of sums up all of it. But among various wonders at MIDI Hack Day here in Stockholm this weekend, “developer/designer/entrepreneur” Per-Olov Jernberg has teamed up with artist HÃ¥kan Lidbo to bring a giant, inflatable green cube into the offices of Spotify and transform is into a musical instrument. This is what I would have at my birthday parties if I could go back in time. Or, really, now. And you can, too, because code in Processing is already available. Good, clean fun – with oversized musical instruments, a recent fascination …

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turbo-gusli

Play a Russian Folk Instrument with Your Mind, Or Turn Seashell Patterns, Likes Into Generative Art

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” demo performance from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Musical instruments: make a move, get a sound. Or, musical instruments: apply an algorithm, get a sound. Read the tattoos on your arm as a score, turn the black-and-white patterning of a seashell into generated audiovisual artwork, apply brainwaves to a folk instrument and let a robot play it… Such are the mental excursions of one ::vtol::, aka Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov. He’s been busy over the past year or so, wearing robots that interface with tattoos to make music and constructing surround sound umbrellas. And we still have more crazy-science goodness to …

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analogdrumandbass

Drum and Bass, Made Analog, with Robots: Watch

What if Drum and Bass had been invented before computers, all with analog gear? And what if the drums were played by robots? Watch the video – it’s real. It’s real-time.

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The Player Piano with Drums and Gunshots: An Oddity of the Silent Film Era [Videos]

If you want wild, futuristic, and inventive, some of the craziest inventions come from the past. The Photoplayer makes today’s music tech look positively dull. Joe Rinaudo has made a business of bringing back antiques, but his 1926 Photoplayer may top the list. Built to add dynamic soundtracks for silent films, the machine is an ingenious contrivance for live music generation. First, it has the ability to run “two decks” – that is, by having two rolls instead of one, you can queue up the next roll while the other is playing. (Okay, so it sort of invented DJing.) Second, …

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