rachelarmstrong

The Future of Music in Skin and Molecules, Now in Berlin

The music technology industry continues to pump out things with knobs, and things that sound like the 1970s – sometimes, literally so. And we love them for it. But if you feel dizzy after all this tumbling backwards in time, let us take you on a ride back into the future. It’s the reason we’re in Berlin and not Anaheim this week, and I think you’ll enjoy it. A lot. CDM joins again with CTM Festival to explore the possibilities for music’s future in an intensive laboratory of creation, featuring speakers, on-the-spot hacking and experimentation, and finally a live performance …

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Apple Watch a Likely Target for Music Making Applications – Experimental and Otherwise

Apple Watch could be the first in a new wave of wearable technology for musicians. The idea isn’t new. We’ve seen various notions involving wearing extra controls for music. In fact, the whole category of alternative interfaces is deeply indebted to Michael Waisvisz, who helmed STEIM for many years and whose interface The Hands inspired generations of musical gloves and gestural interfaces. Guitarists have had various rings to wear; IK Multimedia is currently experimenting with rings that aid in gestural control of iOS. Apple Watch may not become the accessory the iPad and iPhone have for music, but – partly …

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Crazy Musical Machines: Musical Inventions at STEIM + Handmade Music [Video]

What are they building in there? Create Digital Music teamed up last fall with Amsterdam’s STEIM, a hub for musical research and invention, to invite makers of musical inventions to show their unique creations. Above, some excerpts of some of what we showed, capping off with a massive improv chorus of everyone making a racket at once, directed by yours truly. It was just one episode in the spectacular Patterns + Pleasure Festival, a really great cross-section of musical innovation, and I’m glad to be able to share it now. Our video coverage of the event was produced with support …

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beagleboard

Music, to Go: The Mobile Music Computer Revolution, BeagleBoard Workshop and Software

Something like this could be the guts of your next digital musical instrument – and it might even mean leaving your laptop at home for the next gig. Photo (CC-BY) Koen Kooi. Mobile computing has already had an enormous impact on music making. A modern phone or tablet (and yes, most often, these come from Apple) is capable of out-performing a lot of dedicated hardware and easily runs the synths and workstations that required state-of-the-art desktops just a decade or so ago. But what if this same computing power – low-energy, low-cost chips – could be in other music gear, …

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Moldover vs. Traktor Kontrol F1, in Live Sampling-Mash Mayhem [Videos]

Matt Moldover takes on Native Instruments’ Traktor Kontrol F1 in a hands-on demo; NI reportedly gave him a weekend to see if the “controllerism” advocate could do something interesting with their hardware/software combo. The resulting video really gives some insight into what controllerism is all about: the fundamental notion here, whatever you wish to call it, is relying more heavily on live sampling and real-time manipulation, to make this more of an instrumental performance and not just a DJ set. That’s part of what I admired about the direction of the F1 earlier on. And here, sampling in particular comes …

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junXion_v4

Make Music with Anything: junXion Universal Send-Receive for Mac [Video Tutorial Round-up]

“So,” you say, “I’ve got a … and I want to connect it to a … to make music. How do I do that?” One strong answer to that question, if you’ve got a Mac, is junXion. Developed by the landmark audio research laboratory STEIM – a hotspot in Amsterdam that for years has been imagining new ways of making music by connecting things to other things – it got a big update recently. It takes lots of the inputs you might imagine (joysticks, mice, touchscreens, MIDI, OpenSoundControl, audio, Arduino-powered hardware and all of its sensors, and video sensing) and …

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Meet the Little-Known DIY Music Pioneer of the Czech Republic, Standa Filip

From behind the long-gone, so-called “iron curtain,” nearly-lost musical innovation is beginning to become available. But perhaps more than any geo-political change, the power of an Internet-based community hungry to share knowledge is making national borders that once isolated information melt away. Earlier this week, I shared reflections I wrote up for Amsterdam’s STEIM on the significant of DIY Music. But one group of artists, the Standuino team from Brno, Czech Republic, really exemplified that spirit. First off, their hardware is utterly brilliant and eminently practical, an Arduino-based platform on which they’ve made it easy to create and modify designs, …

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Why DIY Music? Reflections from STEIM’s Patterns and Pleasure Fest, Handmade Music Amsterdam

Casper Industries’ Peter Edwards performs live at Handmade Music in Manhattan, at Culturefix. Why DIY, anyway? As we prepare for a special Handmade Music afternoon hosted by Amsterdam’s STEIM research center, my co-curator Takuro Mizuta Lippit (dj sniff) asked me to answer that question. Here’s what I wrote for STEIM’s international Patterns and Pleasure festival. “Do it yourself.” In the world reshaped by recording, in which music is ubiqiutously available on demand and even bare-bones DJing qualifies as “live” entertainment, the act of just making music surely qualifies as “DIY.” Add the fact that distribution, promotion, and booking of music …

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amstelriver

Musical Ideas into Musical Invention: Handmade Music at Amsterdam’s STEIM, Video, Open Call

Idyllic Amsterdam’s Amstel River, steps away from STEIM, makes nice inspiration. (Cross-processed film photo, which looks more like it feels being there.) In late September, CDM travels to Amsterdam and the legendary STEIM, a hub for research and experimentation in electro-acoustic music. The Patterns + Pleasure Festival will explore live electronic music practice and more, from controllerist laptop musicians like Edison and Moldover to the likes of sculpture-trained artist Nina Boes working with drawing and video instruments. The afternoon of September 28, we’ll have an open celebration of DIY electronic music culture with a special installment of Handmade Music. If …

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multi-Monochord

Rock Robots: PAM Can Seriously Shred, Open Source MARIE Could Do Even More

The first law of musical robotics: rock hard. We’ve seen plenty of robotic musical experiments, but finding a robot that can seriously shred is another matter altogether. Meet the robotic string instrument, Poly-tangent, Automatic (multi-) Monochord – let’s just call her PAM. Built by Expressive Machines Musical Instruments, a group of University of Virginia PhD students and composers, PAM is capable of creating raucous musical performances like the one above, by composer and EMMI member Steven Kemper. Musical robotics is cool, but it also hasn’t evolved much technologically in fifty years. It’s gotten cheaper and more accessible, but the fundamental …

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