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Sound, the Final Frontier: Audio Collections as Planets in Space, Intelligently Related

Two spacey ways of finding media: music collections, heirarchy, and images of planets in Planetary for iPad, top. Sound and loop collections, “magnetic” relations, algorithmic categorization, and rapid torchlight auditioning in Soundtorch 2.0 for Windows, bottom. If your music and sound collections seem like outwardly-expanding universes, two new tools promise to bring order by representing media as virtual planets and stars. One works on albums and tracks on the iPad; the other uses computer-aided analysis of loops and samples (not just music) on Windows. One will make your eyeballs pop; one might help you manage gigs of samples for a …

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Onyx Wants to Make Himself Into Helmeted, Wearable-Music-Tech Tron, With Your Help

A helmet and hand units make up the TRON performance system for a style of music artist Onyx Ashanti calls “beatjazz.” And he’s well on his way to making a reality. All images courtesy the artist. Onyx Ashanti is insane – in the special, essential way that makes certain brilliant musicians. An experienced busker, having crossed from the US to Berlin, he’s a rare virtuoso of wind instruments and electronic improvisation, the kind of musically-free soul who can just let loose live. But his latest project really crosses into some new territory. He’s making himself into Tron. No, really – …

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Alternative Controllers: Eigenharp Users Reflect on Playing a New Kind of Instrument

Photo courtesy Eigenlabs. Novel instruments come and go; futuristic ideas appear in demos, wow crowds, and then vanish just as quickly. In order to really become part of musical practice, they require practice. And with something as unusual as the Eigenharp – a digital music controller that looks like the love child of a bassoon and a fretboard and connects to a computer – they even necessitate new techniques and strategies. Enter musician Geert Bevin. As the creator of the fan site Eigenzone, he’s been a tireless champion of the instrument. He’s been compiling videos revealing player techniques and ideas …

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Interview: Jon Hopkins Talks Live, Studio Process, Habit, Instinct

Jon Hopkins performs live at the ICA. Photo (CC-BY-SA) Matt Biddulph. Classically trained as a pianist, musician and producer Jon Hopkins has one of the richest resumes in electronic music. He’s a frequent collaborator with Brian Eno, wand has worked with artists like Coldplay (who featured his music on their last album), Tunng, David Holmes, and Imogen Heap. He worked with director Peter Jackson, and has a sci-fi score on the way. He also has a rich set of solo releases. And we’ve seen him here recently with remix swaps with Four Tet and contributions to Eno’s upcoming Warp record. …

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Free Soundtrack for an Imagined Tron Movie: Rise of the Virals

What if, between the original classic Tron and the upcoming Tron 2: Legacy, there were another Tron movie, lost forever in cinematic history? Between the soaring score by Wendy Carlos for the original and Legacy’s Daft Punk music, what would the soundtrack have sounded like? Of course, it would have absolutely had some Journey in it. Such a movie was rumored, but as with so many projects, leaves behind no evidence. What if it had left a score you could hear? The mysterious “Flynn 1.5” writes to share a free, downloadable soundtrack that answers that question. And you can argue …

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The Sonic Manipulator: Bizarre Wearable Musical Inventions, Stolen from Space Aliens?

It may be 2009, but you can still play electronic music as though you’re an invading alien visitor from the future. Just ask The Sonic Manipulator, an electronic musical performer and inventor, alias Claude Woodward. His musical creations range from warped radios to instruments derived from turntable scratches and Theremins. And then there are some instruments that seem to be sonic weapons. (Apologies to recent protesters in Pittsburgh.) CDM reader Andrew Cordani caught Claude at the UK’s British Invention Show. Claude is apparently a Perth, Australia transplant, by way of Cambridge, though Andrew writes that he “has been known to …

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Music Video Favorites: Birdy Nam Nam’s Wonderful Animated World

BIRDY NAM NAM – THE PARACHUTE ENDING from Steve Scott on Vimeo. This is the music video you’ve always dreamed of getting when your track gets a music video. It’s been round the Web a few months ago, but I only discovered it today via the lovely 8-bit punk Anamanaguchi (see our interview), on their Twitter feed. It’s like what you worked out when bored in grade school Chemistry class with your best friend who planned to become a comic book artist for a career, scrawled in the margins of your notebook. There’s an evil Egyptian alien sarcophagus shooting what …

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Tron, Redux Redux: Trailer with Daft Punk Music, New Reaktor-Reason-Live Score

In a Hollywood overrun with remakes, a new Tron has quite a daunting challenge. The original film may be a cult hit for its 80s arcade cool, but it also was a seminal moment in the evolution of computer animation, at the nexus of obsessive-compulsive optical effects that came before and digital effects that came after. (Google Perlin Noise, if you must.) But where the bits of the effects look uneven or dated alongside the brilliant, it’s nearly impossible to top the genius of Wendy Carlos’ score. Her deft blend of choirs, orchestras, organs, and rich electronics wasn’t just forward …

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The Star Trek Studio: DIY Dragon MIDI Touchscreens Control Cubase

Touchscreens are often compared to the ground-breaking – if imaginary – designs of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But Brazilian Paulo Egidio Silva must be a real Trekker. His elaborate touchscreen panel configuration really looks like the LCARS computer system simulated on the TV show. Of course, that isn’t to say this isn’t a practical system. By making extensive use of the MIDI SDK for Cubase, the Dragon MIDI rig controls every element of a Cubase session, from mixing to routing to adjusting plug-in parameters. It actually has three elements: 1. A multi-screen touchscreen for selecting mix and send settings …

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