Debut of MeeBlip micro Synth, Workshop, Handmade Music: Toronto on Friday

In Toronto this Friday, we’ll be connecting with InterAccess Gallery in a celebration of DIY, adventurous music making, and blipping synthesizers. It’ll also be the first public debut of the new MeeBlip micro, a pocket-sized version of our MeeBlip open source hardware synth. Part of why I’m excited to be hacking away with the fine folks of Toronto is that we’ll be able to document that new design and what you might make with it for everybody else. The MeeBlip micro and revised MeeBlip se will be coming very soon to everyone. What’s the MeeBlip micro? It’s the brains of …


Jamming Live in 3D, a TEDx Toronto Installation, and Call for Your Work

Something crazy going on here. Install image from Drasko V. Drasko Vucevic, Toronto- and Santa Monica (California)-based sound designer and artist/composer, is apparently not only interested in playing alone. His upcoming interactive installation at Toronto’s Royal Music Conservatory will have an audience jamming along live via Twitter. And the artistry is crowd-sourced, too – with a range of artists already onboard, Drasko is calling on musical and visual artists (read: you) to be involved with sounds and visuals. Drasko has sent along extensive notes, so I’m going to let him speak for himself:


Reflecting on Design and Music Software for Tablets; NXNE Toronto Talk

Pictured: Loopseque, in final form (top) and sketched on paper (bottom). Images courtesy the developers; visit them on Flickr. Saturday afternoon in Toronto, I’m giving a talk to the North by Northeast festival on music software and tablets. I’ll explain a bit about what tablets are about, and some of the software that’s out there on the landscape (principally, of course, on the iPad). But I hope to emphasize a deeper issue: how you design software for the tablet, and what’s unique about this convergence of form factor and touch interface. I mean this generically for a reason: on CDM, …


Game Meets Album: Behind the Music and Design of the iPad Indie Blockbuster Swords & Sworcery

Jim Guthrie was a rockstar long before the iPad was. Paired with pixel-intense artist Craig D. Adams (aka Superbrothers) and the co-design and coding effort of a crack team of video game “wizards” at the indie studio capy, he’s made a soundtrack that’s destined to be a gaming classic. But if you don’t want to play it, you can still listen to it. And if you’re playing it, you may find that it feels as though you’re listening to it, and gazing into its artwork. From the moment you tap to launch it, Swords & Sworcery plunges you into a …


DIY Music Tech Community Round-up; Reflecting on the State of Music DIY?

The elegant patterns of a circuit board, as photographed by / (CC-BY) Last week, what was intended to be a day of posts wound up being several days of updates on events centered around music technology and DIY creation. Here’s a birds-eye view of what we covered, some of the events you can catch in person, and some of what these events reveal. It’s worthwhile just putting these posts in one spot so you can easily mark your calendar – and you can see, even in this small slice, the amount and breadth of activity happening now. At STEIM in …


DIY Community: Handmade Music Toronto, 2/19, and Why Now is a Great Time for Making

From a previous hackday at InterAccess; photo (CC-BY) Rob Cruickshank. Handmade Music is spreading. Toronto’s InterAccess has been a hub of terrific DIY activity in sound and other fields, otherwise known as a General Gravity Well of Awesomeness, and they’re now doing their own Handmade Music, kicking off this month. Full call below, but as with other events, there is an open call for work (and some nice thoughts on why now is a wonderful time for DIY). Even if you’re not in Toronto, it’s nice to read their take on why this stuff matters. I’m gratified they’ve found this …


South Asian Electronica Lovers: Indian Electronic Festival Returns

Enough of all this nonsense about how the Western Empire is crumbling. In our new “world” in which Mumbai is as powerful a cultural compass as Berlin or New York, one thing is guaranteed: it’s going to be a great party. One stalwart Western-based advocate of a more pluralist electronica scene are the folks at Indian Electronica. Pumping out regular live events, podcasts, radio streams, and festivals, the crew is keeping music south Asian-flavored and eclectic. They’re truly inclusive: previous festivals spotlighted the likes of DJ Spooky, artists who are not connected to India by birth but love the music. …


Pd vs. Max/MSP Results, in a Battle of Multimedia Tech Nerds

Nerd warfare. It’s like Mexican wrestling for people who enjoy, um, patching together interactive tools for music and visuals! And on one fateful Toronto day, the open source challenger took the prize. As promised, a group of music tech geeks challenged DIY multimedia software environments Pure Data (Pd) and Max/MSP to a mano-a-mano contest of wits. These competing patching environments share interface concepts, code, and even a surprising amount of compatibility, but open source Pd and commercial, more polished-looking Max each have their own loyal converts. I’m pleased to offer the results – though I’m already hearing calls for a …


Toronto Patching Grudge Match: Pd and Max to End Niceties and Fight to the Death

Preparing for battle: it’s all in the mind. Photo: Aaron Landry. Two modular patching software packages for programming multimedia software visually, Pure Data (Pd) and Max/MSP/Jitter have long had a friendly relationship. The tools share code, are reasonably compatible in patches and external objects (sometimes with some adjustment), and are basically open source (Pd) and commercial (Max) cousins of one another. The user bases are likewise friendly with one another. But a certain rivalry hid behind the surface – until now. Now, it’s personal. Enough of the diplomacy. A group of dedicated patchers in Toronto have decided to dispense with …