sinofsky_win8

Music Developer on Windows 8: A Leap Forward for Desktops; A Leap Backward for Metro, WinRT?

Steven Sinofsky showing Windows 8 last year. Photo (CC-BY) BUILDWindows. There’s good news and bad news on Windows 8 for music making. If you’re using Windows on a conventional, Intel PC, running conventional, desktop Windows apps, the news is really all good – really good. It’s still early days, but Windows 8 promises to be better than Windows 7 at audio performance metrics across the board, a no-brainer sort of upgrade for music makers. By contrast, if you’re using Windows 8 on a new ARM-based tablet or interested in seeing music apps that take advantage of the new-fangled store and …

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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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glitch_apclayout

Glitch Factory: A Complete Performance Environment for APC40 + Ableton Live

Some people release remixable stems. Some people release little tools or utilities. Glitch Factory is a complete tool set for live performance, combining performance presets, an Ableton Live set, and even remixable track stems. It’s like getting to borrow someone else’s computer to see how they play – after they first cleaned everything up and made it usable for you. It’s a chance to break out of your performance world and walk in someone else’s shoes for a bit, then use that starting point to warp things into your own musical aims. The work of Mr. Bill and Will Marshall, …

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Weekend Listening: Kishi Bashi Shows the Simple, Elegant Art of Looping

For all the sophisticated synthesis and remix tools out there, for a lot of musicians, the best thing sound technology can do is just give them a way to record and play. Looping is a simple technique – it involves recording a snippet of sound, playing it back, and then adding layers. But used masterfully, it can become transformative, producing rhythms and layers and letting solo artists accompany themselves. “How do I get started looping?” is a question I hear from a lot of musicians, particularly those who are already expressive with their instruments and voice. There’s a technical answer …

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bang

Patch Your Own Music Creations, Free: Pd-extended Arrives, Far More Usable

Pure Data is a wonder: a free and open source environment for creating your own musical and multimedia creations with graphical programming, from Miller Puckette, the original creator of Max. You can produce everything from interactive sequencers and drum machines to synths to video performance tools by connecting patch cables visually, and you can run on virtually any platform, from BeagleBoards and Rasberry Pi to Mac, Windows, and Linux desktop. Via libpd, you can target other development languages and environments, embed engines in games, or work with Android and iOS. What hasn’t been so wonderful, of course, is Pd’s graphical …

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Bitwig Introduces New Production+Performance Studio; Looks a Lot Like Ableton Live

For years, since the launch of Ableton Live, many have waited for a worthy rival, something that combines production and live performance for music users. Live isn’t without alternatives – Renoise, for instance, has earned some fans, though it isn’t necessarily built for live performance. But few provide the same real-time workflows. Bitwig, based in Berlin as is Ableton and featuring some Abletronic veterans, today took the wraps off its own Bitwig Studio. The good news is, it’s looking as though it might shape up to be a viable tool for DJing, performing, and making music. The bad news is, …

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cornford2_leap

A New Partnership, a New Series on Digital Sound and Art in Berlin; First Look at the Artists

Exploring the connection of the mechanical to sound, UK-based artists Stephen Cornford and Paul Whitty make reclaimed tape machines into instruments. All images courtesy LEAP. In performance and art, sound and music constantly pull against the formless abstraction of the computer, to find physical expression and realization. In physical control, in tangible production, and in exploration of space, artists explore techniques new and old to refine the still-youthful medium of electronic and digital sound. That adventure is at the heart of a new series at a gallery space in the heart of Berlin, LEAP – the Lab for Electronic Arts …

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Fruity Loops Gone Live: New FL Studio Performance Mode in Alpha (Video)

FL Studio, beloved to its users by its original name “Fruity Loops,” has long had a Playlist mode that could be used to assemble simple live performances by jumping to sections of your music. But a new alpha mode takes this mode far further. It’s still based on the Playlist, but can add clips dynamically – including Audio, Automation, and Pattern. While still in early testing, developer Image-Line has released some information about how triggering works, as well as the video above. And oddly enough, just like the video we saw earlier this week in Renoise, it employs a Novation …

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Thomas Kurzhals (KARAT) Bleeds on a Moog; Music Before the Berlin Wall’s Fall

You’ve seen a musician or two, no doubt, jamming away on a Moog synthesizer. But German band KARAT’s keyboardist Thomas Kurzhals really tears into it. Chris Stack, formerly of Moog and now producing the Experimental Synth series we cover with some regularity, shot this video interview / performance set, and tells us: I don’t think it shows in the video, but at one point I looked down from filming and saw that he was playing so hard he was bleeding on the keys of the Voyager Old School. With the fall of the Iron Curtain – and the accessibility of …

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drasko_install

Jamming Live in 3D, a TEDx Toronto Installation, and Call for Your Work

Something crazy going on here. Install image from Drasko V. Drasko Vucevic, Toronto- and Santa Monica (California)-based sound designer and artist/composer, is apparently not only interested in playing alone. His upcoming interactive installation at Toronto’s Royal Music Conservatory will have an audience jamming along live via Twitter. And the artistry is crowd-sourced, too – with a range of artists already onboard, Drasko is calling on musical and visual artists (read: you) to be involved with sounds and visuals. Drasko has sent along extensive notes, so I’m going to let him speak for himself:

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