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An ‘Interspecies’ Music Interface Combines a Mask, Bacteria

Organum Vivum – a interspecies interface from Paul Seidler on Vimeo. Your next digital interface might be grown, not made. Organam Vivum drops the usual combinations of knobs and hard surfaces and wires for something organic – an “interspecies” interface. The sensors are grown from bacteria, formed into alien-looking, futuristic materials and a mask. The bio-interfacing project began as a collaboration between Aliisa Talja (who has a background in industrial design) with Paul Seidler at the CDM-hosted MusicMakers Hacklab at CTM Festival earlier this year. Not only are the materials literally organic, but in touching and breathing into these delicate …

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clip mode and drill

Beyond Listening: Ninja Tune Launches Ninja Jamm, Opens Artists to Mobile Remix [CDM Exclusive]

What if you could do more than just consume music as a passive listener? It’s a question that has fascinated musicians ever since the dawn of digital technology. Now, a very big label is releasing an app that provides an answer to that question. Ninja Tune – and, crucially, founder Matt Black of Coldcut – are going to mobile platforms with an app that does far more than simple remixing. It can let you radically transform some of Ninja’s artists, even going in a direction that might be considered instrumentalism. CDM contributor Matt Earp has been quiet in these parts …

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Insane, Starship Control Panel Controls Sound Morphing-Synth in 3D: COSMOSƒ

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: manipulating sound presets should be as intuitive and powerful as regulating plasma coolant flow to the antimatter injector on a warp drive nacelle. I mean, knobs? How quaint. COSMOSƒ is a graphical morphing engine for sound, a standalone synthesizer with a wild, sci-fi interface. You can actually set up polar coordinates and navigate sounds through a sphere, in three dimensions. The sound engine is all internal, but looks like a lot of fun. (For more of this sort of thing, see the excellent, free and open source IanniX, which …

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Beautiful apps, high-performance apps, both possible on Android. Now, if Google could only turn "possible" into "practical."

Good Things for Android: Beautiful SphereTones, Low-Latency SPC Sketchpad

Owners of Android phones and (if you’re out there) Android tablets have had a rough time of it as far as music apps. A lackluster market combined with inconsistent-to-awful audio performance have kept the bulk of mobile development on iOS. But if you do have an Android phone or tablet, we’ve got a beautiful app you can enjoy. And if you’re lucky enough to have one of a handful of specific Nexus devices, you can use the very-powerful SPC Sketchpad with low-latency support. In fact, these two apps represent a microcosm of what’s possible. Creative apps that aren’t latency-dependent can …

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NodeBeat, Visual Sequencer for iOS + Android Built with Free Tools, Back on Android Market

NodeBeat is the kind of experimental music application that’s thriving in the age of the multi-touch tablet. Its dynamic interface and sound are built on the foundation of free and open source software tools regularly covered here on CDMusic and Motion. OpenFrameworks, the Processing-like C++ library, handles the UI, as libpd, the embeddable version of graphical media environment Pure Data, manages the sound. What you get is an open-ended plane on which you can graphically array sequences, far away from the standard grid, for generative and sequenced music. It’s good fun, which made it a hit on iOS. Developer Seth …

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In Videos, Face Control and Prostheses Make the Craziest Sounds

You may have already seen FaceOSC, free software that eases the use of facial tracking from a computer camera for use as a controller, here with music software (top). Synthtopia picked up the story in July, featuring artist and engineer Kyle McDonald. But one FreeKa Tet has done his own implementation (second from top), and while the video is a bit grainy, he sounds wonderfully terrifying, as if his face is trying to slip out of The Matrix. Sometimes, I’m rendered entirely silent (no, really, it happens), and it’s best to let videos speak for themselves. So here, after the …

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Music with Your Face: Artist Kyle McDonald Talks Face-Tracking Music-making with FaceOSC

Music making with your face? It’s just the latest novel way of manipulating your computer with movement, thanks to a revived interest in camera-based interaction spurred by Microsoft’s Kinect and hackers making it work, and other computer vision libraries. One original work: FaceOSC, which uses custom tracking code and a standard computer webcam (no additional hardware required) and free code to send control information for applications like live music performance. Kyle McDonald may have already wowed you with his face-tracking wizardry, but it’s easy to want to know more. Sure, it’s cool, but, um, what is it for? How do …

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Loops as Sketches of Guitar Pedals, in Multitouch Table Music Design

Working in open source code for any platform, Brazilian artist and developer Jeraman has produced a charming project that imagines musical interfaces in dynamic, whimsically-simple sketches. Like doodled knobs, cartoons of guitar pedals, interactive devices on the touchscreen control musical activity. And because it’s open, cross-platform code, everything from a computer-powered multitouch table to an Android tablet could get in on the fun. Jeraman explains:

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Bugs on the Game Grid: Synplode Makes Step Sequencing Tangible for an Interactive Dance Floor

Digital musician and artist Josh Silverman began the Synplode process with something familiar – a checkerboard. Play a game of checkers on its computer vision-equipped playing field and beats and loops triggered in Ableton Live generated a responsive soundtrack for the game. But as it’s evolved, Synplode has become a general-purpose musical grid. Whether with little robotic insects (the Hexbugs here) or full-sized human persons, the grid can turn any space into a dynamic, interactive dance floor. (I think I may actually prefer those cute little bugs to the people and dancers and whatnot. Robot rave, anyone?) I prodded Josh …

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A Game of Checkers Becomes a Step Sequencer, Ableton Live Controller

Checkerboard Step Sequencer V2 from Josh Silverman on Vimeo. Shall we play a game? Have your checkers chops ready, because Josh Silverman’s Checkerboard Step Sequencer, a tangible interface for music, will test both your game mettle and your grooves. Built with the open source coding tool OpenFrameworks and Ableton Live as sound source, the checkerboard fuses computer vision technology and … well, some beats. This video should make obvious the relationship between the position of the checkers pieces and the noises they represent and trigger. It’s still a work in progress, but for now I won’t subject you to the …

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