paperrecordplayer

A Record Player Made from Paper, as the FlexiDisc Lives; Thanks Be to Pythagoras

It’s not in any way digital – we’re in paper and needle territory – but clever design transforms packaging and notecard into playable music device. Create Transducer Music, anyone? Designer Kelli Anderson concocted a novel approach to the wedding invitation for her friends Karen and Mike: turn the paper invite into a playable sound device. The couple even made and recorded their own song for the occasion. (The story of the individuals is worth mentioning – Karen advocates for the rights of makers and coders and Mike is a Grammy-nominated engineer.) The device itself plays music without electricity or circuits. …

READ MORE →

BBQ Chicken Ambiences, and Ten Other Inspiring Sound Design Stories

Whether your trade in audio is in soundtracks for screens and games, or you’re just exploring strange, new worlds and seeking out new life and new timbres in your music, the discipline of sound design is as rich and deep as cooking. It’s something you can do every day. Okay, now just put that “cooking” metaphor out of your mind and steel your stomach. Sound maker and dirt bike rider Jim Stout of Austin (Roland, Sound Ideas, The Hollywood Edge) does some ungodly things with raw barbecue chicken and dog food. For more on Jim Stout, check out the exclusive …

READ MORE →

A Gramophone that Plays the Earth Instead of Vinyl, and a Sonic iPhone Epidemic

Images courtesy Olle CornĂ©er. Used by permission. If you think culture has become too disconnected from the Earth, “Harvest” and the Terrafon instrument surely count as a shock to the system. A traditional ensemble picks up an enormous tone arm and transducer and, through back-breaking labor, drag it across arable fields. It’s part sound art and performance, part agriculture. But it certainly counts as a gramophone – it’s just a really big one that reads the grooves of the earth. Beat juggling with two of these I’m guessing is largely out of the question. One half of the artistic creative …

READ MORE →

Immersive Music: Revo:oveR Installation, Lightbent Synth, Max + Unity

As an addendum to the last story, Ivica Ico Bukvic sends along an example of the [myu] Max/MSP + Unity game engine combination in action. Here’s the surprise: Unity isn’t generating visuals. Instead, Unity simulates ripples created by movement in the space, and builds physical models that are sonified and spatialized by Max/MSP. Speaking of work involving art museums and the combination of Max and Unity, VJ Anomolee notes in comments his own work with the pairing. Lightbent Synth is an in-progress piece with alternative controllers and sensors that produces sound with a novel visual representation (sound’s very quiet in …

READ MORE →

Making Music with Fractals

Photo: Lara Sobel plays with naturally-synthesized fractals by burning into wood via high voltage. Fractals, those wacky self-similar, rough geometries that resemble so many patterns in nature, were once all the rage. Ravers and digital artists embraced them, only to get bored with them, apparently. To billions of years of evolution and natural phenomena, they’re still cool. And to me, there’s still plenty to talk about when it comes to thinking how fractals might be all the rage. Composer Terran Olson, a musician with a long resume that includes work with the Ives Quartet and Quartet San Francisco, takes on …

READ MORE →

Tiction: Animated, Nodal Generative Music App in Progress, in Processing

Electronic music is filled with grids and repeating loops. But get off that grid, and you can quickly wind up, well, floating in space. The challenge of marrying music that’s pre-sequenced with music that can generate itself, between self-evolving music and music that you can control live, is the challenge a lot of people are exploring right now. Hans Kuder has been sharing a promising-looking project on the CDM forums, built in the code-sketching tool Processing (site | CDMu | CDMo). The idea: explore nodes live and let your sequences float free on the screen. Hans writes: tiction – early …

READ MORE →

Free Gravity-Simulating Music Generator, Built in Java

It’s the music of the spheres. Or at least, the music of the various, floating geometric shapes, bouncing around a virtual galaxy with gravity simulation. Kepler’s Orrery is a (newly) open-sourced generative music maker, based on a gravity simulation algorithm. As bodies collide, they make sound; it’s a bit like what would happen if you crossed a music box with a snow globe. Different worlds represent different songs. You can reach in and grab some of the objects, so it’s possible to “perform” with the project. The application runs directly in a web browser (assuming your Java is up to …

READ MORE →

Physics for Music, Visuals: Free pmpd Patch for Pd, Max/MSP, SuperCollider

As we continue physical modeling month, here’s a free piece of software that lets you create music and sound (and visuals) using real-world physics: pmpd, free external for Pd Johan Strandell writes: It’s not physical modeling in the usual sense; pmpd simulates things like friction, acceleration/deacceleration etc.; i.e., more useful for control of parameters rather than synthesis in itself. Some of the examples are really intriguing, but I’ve only scratched the surface on it. An article about it would be great, to see what other people are doing with it. Consider your challenge accepted. May take me a while, but …

READ MORE →

Happy Birthday, Doppler! Sounds, Sights, and Software of the Doppler Effect

November 29 is the 205th birthday anniversary of Christian Doppler, the Austrian mathematician and physicist who hypothesized what’s now called the Doppler Effect. (You know, that effect when an ambulance or other fast-moving vehicle flies by and the perceived pitch changes.) That calls for Doppler trivia, astrophysics, audio software, and a drink. In celebration, go check out the excellent Wikipedia page on the Doppler Effect, including one of my favorite Physics equations (while I wasn’t failing.) And if the idea isn’t sinking in, there are plenty of online demonstrations of why this effect occurs. (Science aside, I also recommend celebrating …

READ MORE →