Augmented cyborg performance by Onxy Ashanti, built with free tools and with freely-shared hardware, in the hopes of accelerating the rest of the musical human race. Photo courtesy the artist.

Sharing Music’s Source Code: Event Pairs Performances with Code, Patches, Schematics

At the Metropolitan Opera in New York, high in the rafters, there’s a set of unusually-cheap seats called the Score Desk section. There, in addition to the seating, panels of wood are oversized enough to accommodate full-orchestral scores. While leaning over the railing to see the performance (the section is not for those with fear of heights), studying composers, conductors, and musicians can pour over the details of Debussy’s orchestrations or Verdi’s prosody. Now, the line between tool, instrument, and composition is blurred, whether we’re talking dance music or experimental sounds. So, in a new event we’re kicking off in …

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Dan Deacon, in action - and judging by that array of gear oddities, one of us. Photo (CC-BY) Joshua Rothhaas.

Dan Deacon Makes Phones Into Instruments and a Live Light Show [iOS, Android, Dev Interview]

Cigarette lighters in the air may have given way to smartphones – but it’s hardly fitting at a concert to watch everyone checking their SMS inbox. In a new twist, Dan Deacon concerts use all that computational power in people’s pockets to make these devices part of the show, refocusing fans on the music. The work of Wham City Apps and developer Keith Lea, the Dan Deacon app synchronizes sound and light to make a sea of phones into objects of wonderment rather than business machines or Facebook hubs. Away from the show, the app doubles as a musical instrument. …

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In Films on French Pd Event, a Reminder: You Can Always Make Your Own Tools for Music

Pure [creative] Data / Stereolux Nantes (29-30 mars 2012) from stereolux on Vimeo. A personal note from this editor: I like to start my weekend with a bit of inspiration, so it seems good habit to leave you with the same. Looking through my story inbox, I almost posted a studio video of an artist who will at this moment go unnamed. (He or she may make an appearance when the time is right.) But, while I adore gear and a healthy tingle of gear lust now and then, something today felt wrong. Yes, of course, this artist has a …

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badhotel

In Bad Hotel, Addictive iOS Game, Composing Music to Tapped Interactions [Behind the Scenes]

What if a game made you both player and remixer/composer? What if that music plugged into your gameplay brain just like the interactive elements? This week, we get another try at just that – and find out how the whole thing works behind the scenes, with free software you can use, too. If you’re like me, you’ve loved the soaring, gaslight-style music soundtrack, as it makes its sweep across a film, swelling at just the right moments. Or you’ve closed your eyes and enjoyed the frozen narrative of a great score or great record as it washes over you. But …

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Fun with Turntables: Liberating the Decks By Dancing, Loading Hacks as Records

Here’s a way to change the relationship of dancer and deck: instead of the record “triggering” dancers, the dancers move the record. In “Autistic Turntable,” movement from onlookers gradually moves the platter. The work debuted earlier this year in the Nósomosòn exhibition at Normal at the Universidade da Coruña, España. It’s just one experiment in turntable re-engineering from artist, open source advocate, and electronic composer Servando Barreiro. In BInaer Platten, he modifies the mechanical turntable to instead read binary-encoded records with other audiovisual media. Seen at this year’s Transmediale 12, Servando’s work was some of the most practical to respond …

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Traversing a Score in 3D Space: Free IanniX Explores Strange, New Worlds

IanniX — From UPIC to IanniX from IanniX on Vimeo. In the beginning, there was the bar. Actually, wait – that came later. In the beginning, there were sketched outlines of notes. And the notes became fixed in pitch space, and then, increasingly, in time, in divided measures from left to right. And so, what we know today as Western music notation came to be. But then, in the 20th Century, composers began to undo the rigid boxes that score produced. First with pen and paper, later armed with the computer, composers connecting graphic and sound started to violate those …

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jellybeans

Android, High-Performance Audio in 4.1, and What it Means – Plus libpd Goodness, Today

It’s called “Jelly Bean.” But a 4.1 version of Android might also be called, at last, a version of Android musicians will find tasty. (Those last versions were a bit more of the disgusting variety from Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans; this is a bit more Jelly Belly.) Photo (CC-BY-SA) Hermann Kaser. Android devices may, at last, get the kind of sound performance that makes music and audio apps satisfying to use. We’ve suffered through generations of the OS and hardware that were quite the opposite. But material, measurable changes to software, combined with more rigorous standards for hardware makers, …

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Visual Music: SketchSynth Lets You Draw an Interface with Marker and Paper, A Brief Drawn-Music History

Today, I’m in London doing a hands-on workshop on visual metaphors for music, and covering various topics filed under “synesthesia” at Music Tech Fest. It seems appropriate, with the subject matter on the brain, to revisit the topic of visuals and music in a series of posts. When you make hardware, with knobs and faders, you’re constrained by physical space – the amount of room on a circuit board, the radius of a knob cap, the size of your fingers. But before you get there, the first step is to sketch an idea. Imagine if you could do that with …

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Music, to Go: The Mobile Music Computer Revolution, BeagleBoard Workshop and Software

Something like this could be the guts of your next digital musical instrument – and it might even mean leaving your laptop at home for the next gig. Photo (CC-BY) Koen Kooi. Mobile computing has already had an enormous impact on music making. A modern phone or tablet (and yes, most often, these come from Apple) is capable of out-performing a lot of dedicated hardware and easily runs the synths and workstations that required state-of-the-art desktops just a decade or so ago. But what if this same computing power – low-energy, low-cost chips – could be in other music gear, …

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Patchosaur: Audio, MIDI, and Max/Pd-Style Patching, in a Browser, Because You Can

If you’re looking to build your own instruments and effects and sequencers and play with patching, you really don’t want this software. No, seriously – while a fascinating, fun tech demo, something like the desktop Pd or Max is probably what you want. (As we saw earlier this week, Pd-extended just got much easier to use, and it’s free.) This makes sound, but it’s also buggy and in progress and likely more of interest to coders. Okay, now having scared off some people, let’s talk nerd-to-nerd for a second. Patchosaur, an open-source, GitHub-hosted project by BADAMSON, is nonetheless seriously cool, …

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