"Look, [darling significant other], it'll even be totally at home in our modern decor!" Photos courtesy the artist.

Flying Saucer UFO Controller, Ultrasonic MIDI Instrument; Coming as Kit [Arduino]

The desire to be a little different in a band might drive someone to choose a custom guitar, or maybe, you know, change their hair. For some, it drives them to build a giant flying saucer they can play like an instrument by waving their hands. No, MIDI controller, don’t destroy Earth. Klaatu barada nikto. That’s the case with Helsinki-born artist Tommi Koskinen, now doing this as part of an MA thesis in the Media Lab of Aalto University. Another strange gestural controller? Yes. But this flying saucer might just land a bit closer to home. This is just the …

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Dear Elektron: Do You Need Some More Natural Sunlight?

Jeez. Maybe you should just pick up a Monomachine from Craigslist, because it seems like life with the Analog Four might be a bit … uh … apocalyptic. Other thoughts: 1. Winter in Sweden: it’s dark. Not a lot of sunlight. Your synth teasers can start to get a bit … odd. 2. First Aid kits. Keep them around the house. (Alternatively, speaking of Sweden, keep First Aid Kit around to sing you something cheery.) 3. “ATTENTION!!! POLICE ARE WATCHING! IS THERE A VIRUS? IS THIS THE SOURCE? 3 BILLION DIE?” Sorry… I may have just confused Elektron’s analog synth …

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"I don't always make music by the pool, but when I do, I use Roland." Like a boss: Giorgio Moroder.

Giorgio Moroder Rarities Free on SoundCloud; The Most Interesting Electronic Man in the World?

He’s been called the father of disco. He has Oscars for Top Gun, Flashdance, and Midnight Express. (Impressive with or without Oscars.) And he scored the epic of 80s youth childhood, The Never-Ending Story – and the original Battlestar Galactica. He’s worked with Bowie, and Freddy Mercury, and Blondie. He’s a pioneer in composing for electronic music, but he’s also earned honors for automotive engineering, with a hand in developing his own 16-cylinder sports car. Even the man’s mustache is legendary. Giorgio Moroder is obviously a very smart man. And so he’s smart enough to use SoundCloud to earn yet …

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Minority Report Meets GarageBand: Airborne Beats is Hand-Controlled Music Making

From the Lab: Airborne Beats from Oblong Industries on Vimeo. With hand gestures recalling those that first reached the mainstream in Minority Report, “Airborne Beats” lets you make music just by gesturing with your hands and fingers in mid-air. You can drag around audio samples, and make gestures for control, controlling both production and performance. Coming from the labs at Oblong, it’s the latest etude in a long series of these kind of interfaces (see below). They in turn point out this could work with any time-based interface. And because of the nature of the interface, it also makes those …

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Bitwig in Staged Beta; Video Reveals Features Up Close, Strange Song Lyrics

Live performance DAW Bitwig Studio is now moving forward with their beta, and a video demo this time provides a clearer look at what the software actually does. Ableton Live users, just be prepared for more of a sense of deja vu all over again: “Bitwig Studio has two views: the Arranger View, and the Mixer view. Both views share a powerful non-linear environment called the Clip Launcher.” Let’s talk for a moment about why that similarity has people talking. How is this any different from other DAWs that share common editing paradigms? Is Bitwig any more a “clone” of …

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kingbritt_sns

Analog Frontiers: Listen to King Britt’s New Fhloston Paradigm EP [CDM Track Stream, FACT Mix]

Finding new sounds in our pulsing electronics means refining our working techniques isn’t just a technical matter. It’s a musical one. King Britt, who has been granted many successful musical incarnations over the years, set off on just such a quest under his new identity Fhloston Paradigm. In a much-watched debut EP for brilliant UK imprint Hyperdub, the Philadelphia artist produces an out-of-this-world, cinematic sonic journey. King is perhaps best known as a name in house music; here, the style is experimental, but the groove rolls behind each track, sequencers softly shuffling along in a way that makes them seem …

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3D Modular Sound Gets Real: Stunning AudioGL Demos, Crowd Funding, Beta Coming to You Soon

Electronic music making has had several major epochs. There was the rise of the hardware synth, first with modular patch cords and later streamlined into encapsulated controls, in the form of knobs and switches. There was the digital synth, in code and graphical patches. And there was the two-dimensional user interface. We may be on the cusp of a new age: the three-dimensional paradigm for music making. AudioGL, a spectacularly-ambitious project by Toronto-based engineer and musician Jonathan Heppner, is one step closer to reality. Three years in the making, the tool is already surprisingly mature. And a crowd-sourced funding campaign …

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teasers

Leak the Future: Traktor Controller, Loads of Synths, Livid, Akai, Casio, Nord, and Teaser Tracking

The only good teasers are Malteasers. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Ranma Tim. Guess who’s gotten really bad at keeping a lid on upcoming product announcements? The manufacturers. We’re suddenly utterly awash with teasers. Yes, it seems from intentional leaks to advance campaigns, we’re now destined to see every significant new piece of music gear before we see it, cast in shadows and partial photos and more. Apparently, the folks doing publicity think that this will cause people on the Internet to talk about them. They’re … right, in fact. And with the biggest American trade show for music gear landing next week, …

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Subcycle, Insanely Futuristic 3D Music Interface, Reaches New Levels of Pattern and Sound

Compare the complex model of what a computer can use to control sound and musical pattern in real-time to the visualization. You see knobs, you see faders that resemble mixers, you see grids, you see – bizarrely – representations of old piano rolls. The accumulated ephemera of old hardware, while useful, can be quickly overwhelmed by a complex musical creation, or visually can fail to show the musical ideas that form a larger piece. You can employ notation, derived originally from instructions for plainsong chant and scrawled for individual musicians – and quickly discover how inadequate it is for the …

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In Videos, Face Control and Prostheses Make the Craziest Sounds

You may have already seen FaceOSC, free software that eases the use of facial tracking from a computer camera for use as a controller, here with music software (top). Synthtopia picked up the story in July, featuring artist and engineer Kyle McDonald. But one FreeKa Tet has done his own implementation (second from top), and while the video is a bit grainy, he sounds wonderfully terrifying, as if his face is trying to slip out of The Matrix. Sometimes, I’m rendered entirely silent (no, really, it happens), and it’s best to let videos speak for themselves. So here, after the …

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