Theremin Music for Aliens, Theremin of the Damned

Seed Magazine asked recently, “Who Speaks for Earth”? Answer: Russian kids playing Theremin music! In 2001, Zaitsev and a group of Russian teenagers created the “Teen-Age Message to the Stars,” which was broadcast in August and September of that year in the direction of six stars between 45 and 70 light years from Earth. The Teen-Age Message notably included greetings in Russian and English, and a 15-minute Theremin symphony for aliens. Unlike Drake’s Arecibo message, Zaitsev’s messages target nearby stars. So if anyone wishes to reply, we may receive it in the next century or two. I’m all about instant …

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Phil Dodds, The Synthesist You’d Want to Make First Contact, Dies

There are synthesists, and then there are people like Phil Dodds. He’s perhaps best-known as the man who wrangled the (real) ARP 2500 synthesizer in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind so that it could perform an elaborate jam session for (fictional) aliens. But he left an extensive legacy of achievements that helped make music technology more than science fiction. Our friend Yann Seznec (aka The Amazing Rolo) writes: You’ve mentioned Phil Dodds on your site before, the guy who played the ARP 2500 in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He was VP of Engineering at ARP, …

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Hands On Tenori-On: Close Encounters of the Interactive Music Kind

Game and film composer Gary Kibler is back from Tuesday’s TENORI-ON launch event with words and images reflecting upon this new instrument. (See comments for lots more discussion, of course!) And for some reason, he’s been playing with his mashed potatoes… -Ed. See also: Yamaha TENORI-ON Launch: Photos, Videos, Interviews, Demos, Details, and a Music Box THE TENORI-ON : I know this. This means something … Literally what TENORI-ON means in Japanese is "sound in your palm" but what I came away feeling after hearing Toshio Iwai‘s story and later experiencing this innovative musical device for myself at Yamaha’s UK …

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Doctor Who Sound Editor on Virtual Katy 2

Speaking of audio post, last year, a mention of the use of Virtual Katy 2 on the new Doctor Who TV program (and King Kong, and Lord of the Rings stirred up some naysayers of this popular audio conforming tool. The folks involved on these projects have since spoken up. First, a Foley Editor from King Kong jumped in to say Foley work for the big ape worked well in VK2. This week, we hear from the man behind sound on the Doctor: Hi, I’m Paul McFadden Supervising Sound Editor on Doctor Who and I have to say that VK2 …

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Star Wars, for Sound Designers and DJs: More Links for the 30th

For many of us, few movies can inspire sound design quite like Star Wars. From the clash of lightsabers to the screech of TIE Fighters to … well, seriously, the whole set of movies sounds damn fine, even if you skipped the whole film and put the sound effects on loop. On its 30th anniversary, I’d love to hear any stories you particularly appreciate about the sound of the films. In the meantime, a quick roundup: Lightsabers recreated with Wii remotes and granular synthesis … and reflections on the more organic, non-digital process that created the original. Why sound designer …

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Wii as Lightsaber: More Kyma-Synthesized Goodness, But the Original was Cheaper

I think we’ve reached a geekdom singularity. Nintendo Wii controller + physical computing + OpenSoundControl + Mac + Kyma granular synthesis = Star Wars lightsaber sounds? Nicely done, Matteo Milani! More details from these Kyma sound synthesis experts at Unidentified Sound Object, which also has lots of resources on sound design in general on the main blog. Ready to do this yourself? Full details on how-to at kyma-tweaky, the Kyma collective, for users of this advanced DSP-powered synthesizer. This demonstrates the potential power of granular synthesis, so geeking out aside, there is something to be learned here. What’s fascinating is …

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Bear McCreary: Rocking the Electric Violin on Battlestar Galactica

Film/TV composers have a particular interest here on CDM in that they tend to think creatively about style, instrumentation, and sound in their work and have to meld one technology (music) with another (film). It’s Friday night, so having resisted this long, I can no longer avoid mentioning Galactica. Composer Bear McCreary, who has scored the Battlestar Galactica TV series, has a blog going in which he talks about his music and some of the instruments featured in the show’s eclectic (and often surprisingly ethnic) sound textures: For tonight’s episode, McCreary blogs his featured violinist, Paul Cartwright, whose electric violin …

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Audio Post Conforming on Doctor Who: Make Those Screams Fit

Sound editing can be an unenviable job: against some sometimes absurdly tight deadlines, you have to work with complex, extensive changes to the film or TV show. Virtual Katy is a piece of software that integrates with Final Cut and Avid video editing and handles conforming — basically, taking all those changes and making everything fit. It’s not a wildly expensive piece of software, ranging from US$400 to $1000. But it’s surprisingly elegant, at least from my layperson’s point of view. If you’ve ever been curious how these things work, check out the short quick start tutorial. VK is used …

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TC Electronic Announces Klingon-Designed Audio Software Interfaces

We’re all for interface innovation and TC Electronic does fantastic audio processors. But their new “MINT” interface technology not only wins for silliest meaningless acronym since synth maker Kurzweil’s “V.A.S.T.”, it also looks like the interface panels from a Klingon warship in Star Trek III. What’s going on here? (Hint: it might actually be cool and, unlike Klingon user interfaces, usable.)

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Darth Vader DJs Imperial March in Video

From Adrian Anders comes a video by a DJ Keltech — or, should I say, Sith Lord Darth Vader: Vader, Scratch Lord [Google Video] To quote Chris Rock’s character in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back: “I think George Lucas is gonna sue somebody.” Thanks, Adrian. Can’t fault the concept, though I’d like to see the bit where he employs his death grip. (Granted, that’s usually what I’d like to do to certain DJs . . .) More videos and info at DJ Keltech’s site (warning: embedded music).

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