Batteries and Suitcase Music: Chris Carter’s No-MIDI, No-Keyboard Musical Rig

How much can you do with a suitcase full of soundmakers? Quite a lot, as it happens. The 20th Century gave sound two great achievements. One was the successful modeling of filtering in digital software form. The other was the production of the electronic filter, first in quartz crystal form. Today, all of those advancements are available in cheap, often battery-powered devices that fit in the palm of your hand. Spurred by yesterday’s discussion of sonic mobility and battery power, Sasa Rasa points us to the recent work of Chris Carter (of Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey fame). Chris …

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Scenes from Amsterdam’s Music Inventors: When Circuits, Code, and Concept Meet

Making your own instruments may not be for everyone, but getting to witness the bleeding edge of musical DIY can give real insight into how electronic music performance can work, and what matters in sound. Last week, the famous sound research center in Amsterdam STEIM generously hosted an edition of Handmade Music, inviting inventors to make noises and performances with their self-made creations and to talk about their work. Ben Terwel, one of the artists, shot the video above. It includes discussion in both Dutch and English, but if you don’t speak Dutch, you’ll still get the gist of a …

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The Man-Robot with an iMac Head, and Handmade Music Amsterdam

The Body, The Circuit, The Computer and The Voice: robot cowboy from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo. If you want to look for some of the roots of live electronic musical performance, STEIM is one place to start. Founded in 1969 by a group of Dutch composers (Misha Mengelberg, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, Dick Raaymakers, Jan van Vlijmen, Reinbert de Leeuw, and Konrad Boehmer), and led by the late “founding father” Michel Waisvisz, it has remained an important hub for inventing music technologies. It was one of the first places that gave an indication that these kind of experiments could extend …

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Participate: One Button Game Objects, Handmade Music in NYC, Amsterdam, SF

It’s a call for one-button works. Literally. Sorry. Photo (CC) Jeff Keyzer. What can you do with a button? What circuits can you bend? What software and hardware can you construct? Want to meet up with myself and fellow makers from the DIY music and visualist communities? I’m touring and looking for new works, we have one call for one-button objects that (if you can ship it) can come from anywhere in the world, plus upcoming events in New York, San Francisco, and — this month, Amsterdam at the planetary music tech hub that is STEIM. STEIM is an inspiration …

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Maker-Faire Music: The K-Bow for Sensor-Augmented Violin

Barry Threw demos the K-Bow at Maker Faire from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo. Yann Seznec aka The Amazing Rolo brings CDM his coverage of music tech at the Maker Faire in three episodes today. As long as there have been computers, violinists have looked for ways of extending the nuances of their physical performance into the digital realm. (Us keyboardists have it easy – we’re used to pressing an array of levers, and a lot of the gestures we make are, arguably, superfluous.) Many of these concepts return to the idea of the bow. The K-Bow by Keith McMillen …

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STEIM is Saved; New JunXion; Huge Jamboree Next Week in Amsterdam

STEIM in its idyllic surroundings – sixth building from the right. Photo courtesy Florian Grote. Earlier this week, I got some welcome news: the STEIM performance research and development center in Amsterdam is safe for now. STEIM has been a real hub for people doing work in sound around the world, not just in Amsterdam, as many readers here described. That means this should be good news for all of us – and it also demonstrates that, while the state funding upon which Europe has traditionally relied is endangered, making the right argument could protect institutions there. The question of …

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Obituary: STEIM Founder, Cracklebox Inventor, Musician Michel Waisvisz

Sad news has arrived via Scott Looney: I have the sad news to report that STEIM’s founder Michel Waisvisz died peacefully in his home last night "after fighting the mean cells in his body for eight months" – which i assume is a reference to the cancer he had been battling. Michel developed one of the very first alternative controllers in the 1970’s called the Hands and subsequently the Krakdoos – aka the Cracklebox. He subsequently founded STEIM and served as its head for 27 years, and inspired many musicians and improvisers around the globe. Obituary at STEIM: Michel Waisvisz …

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