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Sonaur, Ambient Android Toy, Built with Free Tools (Processing, libpd)

Sonaur is a US$1.99 ambient toy for Android mobile devices, with on-screen creatures you can manipulate to generate sound. It’s notable not only for being a fun toy – and on a platform that hasn’t had as many fun toys – but because the tools used to create it are also highly accessible and free. I’ve taught Processing, a code environment popular among artists and designers to people who never before imagined they could be coders. Pd (Pure Data), here in the form of libpd, is a free graphical patching cousin of Max/MSP. You can check out libpd, which allows …

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Flash-Powered, Animated Musical Painting: Visual Acoustics

Visual Acoustics is an online musical toy built in Flash designed by Alex Lampe (“Ample Interactive”) of the UK. (Via Music Thing.) The motion visuals are beautiful, and the music and interface is very reminiscent of Toshio Iwai’s work (see Nintendo’s ElectroPlankton, for instance). As with Iwai’s designs, just about anything you play will sound good and ambient. Now, there are two schools of thought on that. One suggests that these kind of futuristic interfaces make music accessible to anyone. The other would hold that part of what makes traditional musical instruments lovely is that, while they take a long …

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