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Watch the Clavilux, an ethereal light organ from 100 years ago

Long before trippy visualizers and computer animation, before liquid light shows or laser parties, Thomas Wilfred was building organs for visuals. He called the art they produced Lumia, and the instrument Clavilux – a keyboard for light. That first instrument was built all the way back in 1919. But unlike a lot of the spectacles of the era, this one is still hypnotic today, even after all the advances of cinema and computing. Drawing on a tradition that included displays of fire and fireworks, and the ability to place sound “at the command of a skilled player at a piano,” …

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Making a light sculpture a musical instrument, played with Animoog on iPad

Light organs have been in use for generations. But this is the first generation that has grown up in a world of image and sound in which expression across electronic media might seem simply second nature. And oddly, as screens have become more ubiquitous, so, too, has thinking beyond them. What we see here, then, isn’t a projection. It isn’t a display. It’s a big bundle of lightbulbs, making rhythmic poetry in off and on once connected to a jumble of wires. Play the Moog app Animoog on an iPad, and that mountain of electronic junk winks back at you …

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Join Electric Indigo, Inner8 for an Immersion in Aesthetics

By way of follow up to our chat with Daniele Antezza yesterday, his Inner8 live act with sYn will meet up with another audiovisual collaboration – Susanne Kirchmyer (Electric Indigo), with visualist Thomas Wagensommerer. That takes place at Berlin’s Krake Festival next week, which means we get an extensive conversation with the two artists alongside a canal in the video below. They talk at length about aesthetics, collaboration, and connections to artistic practice: http://krake-festival.de/ Previously, on each of them: Outside dance music, systems of contemplation with Inner8, sYn Morpheme is a Microscopic Audiovisual Journey Into Sound by Electric Indigo But …

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This 3D Oscilloscope Drawing Music Might Make Your Brain Fall Out

You’ve seen oscilloscopes. You’ve heard sounds. You’ve seen oscilloscopes make visual representations of those sounds. You’ve maybe seen oscilloscopes used to make drawings while making sounds. And of course you’ve seen 3D models. But you probably haven’t seen oscilloscopes used to draw 3D models that make sounds while the sounds match the oscilloscopes in a 3D sound visual extravaganza … which then becomes an entire album with software that goes with the album so you can also use the oscilloscopes to draw 3D models to make sounds. Say what? Okay, let’s put it another way. Imagine an Etch-a-Sketch and a …

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Teaser: The Joy of Music with Light, From Russia and Beyond

::vtol:: “luminescence” workshop from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Artists are, in endless cycles, rediscovering techniques that might otherwise have been discarded. And that includes performance concepts in the audiovisual realm. I’m this week in Moscow as a guest of the Polytechnic Museum (specifically their Polytech.Science.Art program. There is, I think, no more historically apt place on Earth to explore the connection between sound and image than the land of Scriabin, Kandinsky, Ballets Russes, and constructivist art, this epicenter of the audiovisual revolution. What you probably don’t know so well is audiovisual experimentation from the later Soviet period, and that was partly …

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Animation: Watch Moog Sub Phatty, Flying Lotus in Psychedelic, Fluid Color

The best music videos don’t just flow well with the pacing and feeling of music. They enhance it. And that’s certainly the case with the work of regular FlyLo collaborator and Adult Swim animator Adam ‘lilfuchs’ Fuchs of Atlanta, Georgia. Add in Moog, and things get seriously trippy for lovers of synthesizers. The resulting short, “Such a Square,” features Flying Lotus-produced sounds, made on a prototype of Moog’s new Sub Phatty synth. The liquid-smooth animation takes us on a psychedelic journey via Bob Moog’s mind, tracing circuitry and patch cords in acid-glowing washes of electric color. It feels like a …

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Music Video: Untold’s Overdrive (Hemlock) Brings Dirty Techno, Clean Animation

2012 may be without a clear landmark album (at least so my producer friends keep complaining), but the singles scene (ahem) has been terrific. Perhaps that suggests a musical landscape in which electronic artists prefer exploration to tightly-controlled packages. Whatever is going on, techno is dirty and grungy again. Just ask the UK’s Untold. Last week, Mixmag hosted a video premiere for his track “Overdrive,” with animator Iain Acton. Their story and comments: WATCH UNTOLD ‘OVERDRIVE’ VIDEO EXCLUSIVE [Mixmag] Talking about music, as the saying goes, is tough stuff. I love what Untold is doing, a sense of the enduring …

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Got Goosebumps? In ‘Limbic’ Music Video, A Close-up View of Your Body on Music

limbic from Institut Fuer Musik Und Medien on Vimeo. Music isn’t just syntax; it isn’t just a binary message in our brain. It somehow connects with our body in an intimate way. The music video “limbic” explores this visceral connection right at the level of the skin, at sweat and goosebumps and facial reaction. “limbic” is both an aesthetic exploration and a statement about some of the science behind the experience. It comes at a good time, too – earlier this month, we were considering the relationship of body to musical interface, in the context of a bio-interfacing show at …

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Tunes, in Drops of Color: Design Project Mixes Minimal Notes with Audible Hues

Perhaps it’s the sense of detachment that comes from long hours spent staring at screens, peering into pixels and abstraction. But whatever the reason, when experimenting with design and music, creators seem increasingly drawn to simple, physical interaction. Somewhere in the mysterious play between senses, between seen color and unseen sound, they look for intuitive relationships. Designers Hideaki Matsui and Momo Miyazaki send in the latest adventure in induced synesthesia. Students at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, they use a camera to connect color to sound. audible color from Momo Miyazaki on Vimeo. Full description:

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Synesthesia: Beautiful, Surreal Short Film Imagines Sound Across Senses

At Music Tech Fest in London last month, I gave a talk and did an afternoon-long workshop exploring ways of connecting visuals to sound. We worked with pen and paper, with patching (in Pd), with code (in Processing), and via a survey of some interesting recent work, in this case all connected to drawing. A theme of the conference had been “synesthesia.” But it’s important to note that synesthesia goes beyond just making music visual. It deals with people actually having a sensory experience in which one input (like sound) triggers a different sense (like smell or color). Sure enough, …

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