Drumactica Augments Percussion with Gestures, Ice Cube Trays; Here’s How it Was Done

Bacon and eggs on a drum snare? Hands-through-the-air gestural control with Leap Motion? Water pianos in ice trays and a hacked Makey Makey, all talking to Ableton Live? Drumactica has a little bit of everything. London-based percussionist Dr. Enrico Bertelli shares with us how he “augmented” percussion for his latest project – with all the details – for a guest post on CDM. Just make sure to give due respect to John Cage.) -Ed. Drumactica 2.0 is a solo, augmented percussion set up, created for Hack the Barbican, London. The piece is about the creative bond between the desire to …

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80s Roland engineers never imagined ... this. Welcome to the age of the Real. Photo: Jürgen Lösel.

A Robotic, Physical 808 Machine Advances Weird Science of Music, Tech Alike

So, you’re really hot stuff now that you’ve got a vintage Roland TR-808, huh? Ready to have your pride taken down a few notches? If you haven’t seen it, have a look at this. The MR-808 is a “real-world” replica of the Roland sounds. And when people throw around buzzwords like “post-digital” to try to describe the spirit of the age in which we live, this is what they’re trying to get at. In some sense, this creation is a tribute to the 808’s minimalism and essential design. And this is still a creation of the digital realm. The robots …

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Or, Download a Free Ableton Live Pack Made By a Cat

In speaking about iPad apps this week, I mentioned the possibility of music made by cats. And, of course, today we look at the possibility of going inside Machinedrum’s musical technique. So, it’s only appropriate to offer you the opportunity to produce music with a sonic toolbox … developed by a cat. (Apologies, Mr. Stewart and Mr. Eno.) AfroDJMac writes: I was reading your post on Brian Eno and the blurb about cats making music, and I have something kind of relevant. I just put out Free Ableton Rack #65, which features my cat playing a rubberband, recorded with a …

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Playing Live, Dangerously: Mouse on Mars as Augmented Band [Video]

When it comes to live performance, this might be the year of living dangerously. There’s not one answer to the question of how to play live, but as we consider the possibilities – and the risks of playing live – Mouse on Mars is one terrific case study. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma are joined by drummer/vocalist Dodo Nkishi. Since part of their setup is playing live as in Ableton Live, Ableton shot a video mini-documentary of their performance rig earlier this year. It’s an intensive setup, but you might just glean some ideas for how you play live. …

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haale

The Mast’s UpUpUp, with Stunning Music Video and New EP, a Must-Hear Track

Touring as Haale in 2009, The Mast’s vocalist Haale Gafori. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Sean Richardson. We watch an exquisite music video on Create Digital Motion today for The Mast’s recent single “UpUpUp,” so it’s only right to call attention to this terrific New York-based duo. Combining acrobatic percussionist Matt Kilmer with skilled and silken-voiced composer/singer Haale Gafori (she also directs that stellar video), the two continue to please as “The Mast.” Beatport called the single, released at the end of May, “must-listen,” and I won’t argue. The full EP is worth a listen, with remixes contributed by a nice roster of …

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Feeling Sound, Physically: ‘Touch the Sound’ Documents Deaf Percussionist

What is sound? What does it mean, and why does it matter? It’s never too fundamental, too basic a question to ask ourselves again when we make music. So, I’ll leave this trailer otherwise largely without comment, except to say, it’s well worth watching (or re-watching). Touch the Sound, produced by German director Thomas Riedelsheimer in 2004, focuses on the work and world of nearly-deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie. See a trailer, below, and excerpt, above. Thanks to Morgan Hendry for the tip. IMDB link On this topic, and the inspiration for this link: For a Deaf Artist, The Process of …

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Remixing a Playground in Ableton Live

Sonic and musical inspiration are never far away, especially with a microphone in hand. For the latest example, Ableton Live meets a local playground. Jason Richard, aka “bassling,” used field recordings in the park to compose a track. He writes: I’ve been recording playgrounds and remixing the sounds in Ableton Live to create tracks. To help people understand what they’re hearing, I’ve been making short videos showing some of the process. It’s an idea I’ve had in mind for a while and the centenary is deadline to work towards. I’m inspired by the Italian Futurists and Alan Lamb, who mentored …

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808steps

What Really Makes Rhythms Human? New Research Investigates Perception, Preference, Tech

Machine rhythm: the steps on a Roland TR-808. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Brandon Daniel. What makes rhythm human? Music technology has introduced machine rhythms, perfectly-calibrated to electronically-perfected grids, yet we know that natural playing is more organic. Or, that is, we know we have certain intuitive preferences. How do those preferences and rhythms really work? And what does that mean for music technology? Fascinating new research investigates more deeply, using – you know, science! Here’s the summary of the research itself: Although human musical performances represent one of the most valuable achievements of mankind, the best musicians perform imperfectly. Musical rhythms are …

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Two Visions of Instruments from Björk: An App with MIDI, a Gamelan-Celeste with MIDI

Sometimes, images and video can say far more than words, and it’s best to stand back rather than ramble on. (Cough, ahem.) From Björk this year has come two visions of how to make new instruments. The Biophilia software for iOS is an interactive rendition of the album. As apps, you have the curious separation of tracks into individual application icons, available as separate purchases or a bundle. But the effect is one we’ve traced for a while: the music becomes non-linear and interactive, blurring the line between recording as reproduction and dynamic instruments that can transform what you hear. …

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A MIDI Robot Percussionist and a New Album, from the Duo Electrocado

Sydney-based duo Electrocado (Bill Day + Ryan Whare) have been busy making machines to make music – and banging things. In the video above, their inventive robotic percussionist, triggered via MIDI, plays tunes and rhythms. The CP1 (Creative Project 1) uses servos to control drum sticks (chopsticks, in fact) pivoting on rods, which can then strike metal, plastic, and drum skin surfaces. Playing a G# Minor scale on a xylophone along with drums, the robot responds here to MIDI patterns sent to it by Ableton Live. You can read loads of commentary on the process of making it in a …

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