thedrummachine

Multi-Player Music Installations and Moldover’s Jamboxes [Video]

The Drum Machine. Warning: may materialize on unfriendly alien planets, or just in UK rock quarries. Musical tradition is, by definition, often “multi-player.” From people playing in bands and strin quartets to families getting together to sing, live performance is often shared. But while you can drop a computer player into an ensemble, the computer interface itself is largely focused around one user. The “personal computer” is just that – one person, one interface. So, why not extend that performance to more than one person? Having championed the term “controllerism,” artist Moldover is now back with a video and site …

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A Symphony of Speakers, Carried By a Crowd, as Choir “Of Sleeping Birds” [Android+Geolocation]

Orchestras generally sit in place, safely contained in a hall. Speakers are arranged in twos, fours, and sixes in fixed positions. Audiences sit and listen, and players play. In “Of Sleeping Birds,” those boundaries are all erased. In “Of Sleeping Birds,” dubbed “a geo-locative multi-speaker symphony,” mobile speakers held by participants form a chorus of sound. Location is everything: it spreads the music through a city, and, with the aid of GPS satellites, determines the music that the speakers play. That same mobility also gets an audience on their feet, participating in the performance. All of this aside, the work …

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bengavid2

Visual Music: A Waveform Made of Vinyl Records, Benga Single, Inspired by Seeing Sound

Benga’s latest video was released early last month and made the blog rounds, but it’s worth considering as we continue our ongoing thread on visual music and how sound can go from invisible to tangible. A stunning video whets fans appetite for the upcoming Benga full-length Chapter 2, constructing a wave shape in physical form as a series of vinyl records. Using some 960 hand-cut vinyl records, the track’s waveform materializes in stop motion-filmed animation. Physical as it may be, the inspiration, say the creative team, was SoundCloud. UK-based creative team Us, consisting of Christopher Barrett and Luke Taylor, explain:

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Visual Music: My God, It’s Full of Dots – Yayoi Kusama Meets Musical Design

Tenori-On and iPad apps, hardware designs and visual creations: set against the beautifully-generative mind of Japanese/New York artist Yayoi Kusama, the flurries of dots and circles and patterns in musical interfaces take on a richer meaning. This video, from a workshop hosted at the Tate Modern alongside an exhibition of Kusama’s work, needs little introduction. Instead, the dizzying cuts of geometric abstraction, the array of visual ideas for musical interface begin to take on the same personality of her expansive creations. The galaxies produced out of the minds of musicians somehow overlap with this iconic artist. I hadn’t really made …

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dgphilly1

Music for Plants, Music by Plants, in Two Eco-Themed Album Releases [Listen, Galleries]

These green things, for once, are the stars, in Data Garden Quartet. From the installation version in Philadelphia. All Data Garden photos courtesy the artists. “On lead synthesizer, a philodendron …” (And the crowd goes wild…) Vegetation may not be the first association you have when thinking of electronic music. But two new albums, each released via Bandcamp, celebrate biological life of the green, leafy variety. One is a benefit compilation, with proceeds going to help trees and music inspired by that green goodness. The other uses plants as “performers,” generating its form from plant life in an installation and …

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refunct

Art From Trash, as ReFunct Media Makes a Symphony from Obsolete Gear [Videos]

Obsolescence: it seems inescapable, as generations of old gear are replaced with shiny, new ones. But one person’s discarded electronic trash can be an artist’s electronic treasure. ReFunct Media is a collaborative to make something out of all that used junk. In parades of strange, twitching machines and orchestras of electronic noise, gear goes from landfill fodder to art stars. The collective effort has made its way from Ireland (Imoca, RuaRed) to France (Gaité Lyrique) to, most recently, Berlin and the LEAP gallery, where we catch up with it in the form of some raucous video documentation. The artists themselves …

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woods

On Record Store Day, Music in Physical Places – In a Forest, Even?

If you’re heading out into the wilderness to find a record store, why not actually head out into the wilderness – the one with trees – and find music there? Today, a you’ve no doubt heard, is Record Store Day. The official site is a useful resource, today and around the year. Today brings a number of special physical releases, favoring vinyl but also including CDs. A mobile app download will help you locate record stores in your city, both in the US and other countries around the world. All of this does raise some deeper issues. Record stores can …

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unravel

FOUND Installation Plays Narration, Robotic Music with Vinyl, Unravels Truth

One perhaps unexpected impact of technology has been to change the way we think about ourselves and our experience. Recording equipment – from photography to phonograph – has given us a new sense that memory itself might be fixed, unchanging, an accurate record of an unmoving truth. Except, of course, neither the recorded object nor the thing it is recording ever quite seems to work out that way. (Ask your local theoretical physicist, or for a more localized, humanized, sociological view, any loved one.) UNRAVEL is an installation that uses just those sorts of technologies to construct a narrative, and …

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paperNote1

Voice Messages Become 3D Paper Waveform Sculptures: Paper Note

Instead of writing on paper, a sound executed in paper in three dimensions. All images courtesy the artists. Speaking of making the ephemeral tangible, as artist Andrew Spitz tells us, “it’s a fun process to map something that is so fleeting as a sound to a physical object.” That’s what he does in a new collaboration with Andrew Nip of the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in Denmark. It’s a simple process – and that’s a good thing, as it means anyone with access to a laser cutter can get in on the fun. Using software written in the open …

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musicbox2

The Hand-Cranked, Antique MIDI Sequencer (High-Res Images, Details)

Music, ephemeral and fleeting, to many of us wants tangible embodiment, some physical sense of the tug we feel from its unseen vibrations. We’ve regularly featured the image of the circle as a sequence; even as music software prefers left-to-right piano rolls and scores and tracks, it’s a logical shape. Here, Finnish sound artist Martin Bircher looks to a last-century invention to build a mechanical expression of the sequencer. From an antique music box, comes MIDI, as in the video above. And if that’s too discordant for you, have a look at the original video below. Even in comparison to …

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