Futurism and Sphere Fetish: Microsoft Channels Woody Allen; Let’s Play Music with Spheres

I actually hadn’t had time to watch my tech RSS feeds yesterday when I said I “lost half an hour dreaming of my new lounge-style studio where I adjust envelope breakpoints from a giant aluminum sphere like the one in Sleeper.” But, anyway – wish granted! *Disclaimer: The following video, while demonstrating some insanely cool tech, may bore you to tears. In response to reader requests, we feel it’s important to warn you. Microsoft’s multi-touch Sphere plays crazy Pong [Boing Boing Gadgets] Now, of course, researchers being researchers, Microsoft R&D has taken a massive sphere controller and turned it into …

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Hello? It’s the Future Calling. We Have Your Synth, the Omega Orion.

The faux-Pan Am logo. The sleek, mod, curved white casing. The elegant controls. Yes, this is indeed a synth that would look at home in the space station in Kubrick’s 2001. Technically not the future so much as the 1960’s version of the future – but surely we’re getting around to reshaping our future to look more like that, right? At least for synths? The synth in question is the Omega 8, a “luggable” 20-pound, 8-voice analog synth with individual stereo pairs for each voice. It’s really, truly, old-school analog, with discrete analog oscillators, voltage-controlled filters of the 24dB and …

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Delia Derbyshire Recordings Found, Including Ahead-of-its-Time Dance Track

Here’s some very good news from the UK: pioneering electronic music composer, sound designer, BBC Radiophonic  virtuosa and Doctor Who theme creator Delia Derbyshire left us more recordings than previously thought. Some 267 tracks of music and documentation were found in her attic. The Radiophonic Workshop’s Mark Ayres – who has been single-handedly leading the charge to make sure the Workshop’s place in history is safe – had been preserving them. But now this archive will be a “living archive,” meaning, at last, we should get to hear them and new music will be commissioned for the archive from musicians …

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From Daedelus: Free MP3, Fanciful Story of Nikola Tesla’s Inventor Assistant

1893 Columbian Exposition, Chicago, and Vikings — basically a convergence of things I take geeky historical pleasure in. Reproduced from Stanley Applebaum’s The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, p. 51.  Snagged by Karla Kaulfuss, via Flickr. Daedelus remains one of my favorite electronic music personalities. A virtuoso of his hand-built Monome (the early prototype) dressed in Victorian garb, he always manages to exude charisma in his music. And sure enough, as opposed to the usually bland, generic, and hideous emails I get in my inbox about artists (my eyes ache the moment they see a press release), I get two …

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Music Tech History Day: Inside BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and Delia’s Lampshade

The UK electronic music scene lost its pioneer Tristram Cary this week, so it’s the perfect time to look back again at the marvels of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Low-budget but long-running Doctor Who is unlikely to be remembered for breaking new ground in, say, fancy props, sets, or visual effects (though they did plenty with what they had). But when it comes to sound and music, the BBC’s DIY approach to sound, ranging from Who to "serious" classical music (even my composition teacher Thea Musgrave worked there) remains significant today. The BBC is again offering a look inside the …

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Tristram Cary, Tape Music Pioneer, VCS3 Designer, Composer, Dies

It’s been a rough week for electronic music — having lost Bebe Barron, we’ve now lost one of the other great early pioneers of electronic music, South Australian Tristram Cary. Tristram is credited by some as the father of tape music, originating tape music techniques in World War II. He’s notorious to the general public and sci fi fans as the composer of the music for the Daleks in Doctor Who (along with other music) — like an evil counterpart to Delia Derbyshire, who built the studio Cary would later use. But he was also a pivotal composer of music …

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Obituary: Bebe Barron, Pioneering Electronic Composer

There are pioneers and artists — and then there are people whose impact is great enough that they become inseparable with the history of a medium. Bebe Barron, along with husband Louis Barron, was far enough ahead of her time that her ideas remain futuristic today. The Barrons didn’t just produce the first full-length electronic film score with Forbidden Planet; they created an ambient sonic world between music and special effects, and tied it to cybernetic theories. That score stands in contrast to films still dominated by Alfred Newman-style, post-Wagnerian theatrics. Today, artists are only just re-discovering the possibilities of …

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Free Music Mixes from Amon Tobin, Deru in Celebration of Space

We had a blast (ahem) Saturday night at the Yuri’s Night party at NASA Ames Research Center; stay tuned for video and more, including the results of the Futuristic Musical Design Challenge. But that’s no reason the party has to end. If you’ve listened through all 55 songs on the 45 Tribute and want still more music, Amon Tobin and Deru have kindly donated music mixes for the yuricdm.com minisite. It’s good listening to pick up your week: Exclusive Free Mix: Amon Tobin, Back from Space Exclusive Free Mix: Deru And here are the direct links to listen / download: …

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Ground Control Broadcasting Now: Space-tacular Music + Motion on yuricdm.com

I’ll be live from the hangar, working to connect you virtually from around the globe. Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. Hello from Ground Control: this week, I’ll be coming to you live from CDM’s micro-blog for Yuri’s Night Bay Area, ground zero for the global space rave celebrating human exploration of the cosmos. CDM’s challenge: to bring all the goodness up close and personal to you, from California to wherever you are on Planet Earth. Watch the minisite now, during the event, and in the couple of weeks following at: http://yuricdm.com or subscribe to the yuricdm.com RSS feed. Yuri’s …

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Yuri’s Night Space Celebration: Music Lineup Announced, Will Wright, CDM Coverage

  Photo: Lydia White. How nerdster-chic is this: a global convergence of the exploration of space exploration, ecological savvy, technological innovation, and musical-motional performance, in honor of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin launching the first-ever human flight into space? Described as “Cinco de Mayo” for space, Yuri’s Night is a 35-nation cosmorave. It was big last year. It’s going to be much bigger this year. What’s all this space stuff got to do with music and motion? Everything: music and visual performance are a big part of this party, as Sun Ra-loving, space-inspired, Space Age technologist artists push creative tech. (Amon …

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