DIY Sequencer Videos: the Foundation of Techno, Reimagined in New Hardware

I ask you: what is the foundation for rhythmic electronic music? I suggest that the humble step-sequencer is the backbone of many of today’s musical genres and memetic evolutions. To have electronic rhythm, you need to start with a clock and go from there, dividing it into fractions and multiples. Then start assigning sounds to those divisions and you’re pretty much there- techno is happening. I’ve been working on prototyping a sequencer-synth and in doing research, I’ve come across numerous projects that tackle this idea with great enthusiasm. Because a sequencer can drive any type of electronics, projects tend to …

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Ars Technica DJ Software Review Round-Up, But Where’s djDecks?

The mighty Ars Technica regularly takes on technically-intense reviews of processors and operating systems, but this time they’ve turned their attentions to something else altogether: DJ software. Dave Girard helms the review, with an exhaustive look at both basic DJ virtual decks (Disco, FutureDecks Lite, DJ1800) and full-featured software (VirtualDJ, Traktor DJ Studio from Native Instruments, and MixVibes Pro). (Thanks for the tip, Ryan Pollack!) DJ Software for Windows and Mac OS X [Ars Technica] The DJ apps get the full Ars Technica treatment, down to helpful figures explaining how DJing works for the uninitiated. Traktor DJ wins handily on …

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Tips: Vocoders + Ableton Live; Vocoder Resources, Free Universal Vocoder Plug-in

Vocoding is capable of a broad range of sounds, from the traditional “robot talking” effects to unique, organic-sounding synth and drum effects. Like many commonly-used techniques for synthesis and processing (and qualifying as both), vocoder effects can be cliched — but they can also be used to great effect. Before today’s vocoders, there was the voder, developed at Bell Labs as a sound compression mechanism. From “As We Think”, Vannever Bush 1945, via Obsolete.com. The only real challenge in using vocoders in software is routing, since you need two signals — a carrier and a modulator. People are regularly asking …

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Max/MSP Resource Roundup: Computer Music Special [Updated]

Welcome, Computer Music readers — feel free to drop me a line. Here’s a roundup of Max/MSP resources, as a companion to the feature story on Max I wrote for Computer Music Magazine. Max is a deep, deep program, but to get you started, I’ve lined up: Unusual controllers for performance (tablets to game controllers) Cool Max projects (flaming sound organs to musical punching bags) Essential Max tools (my favorite add-ons and upgrades) It’s everything you need to start making weird, futuristic music and art. Well, not quite everything, but enough to blow my mind, anyway. I’m planning more online …

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