Music things: Lego Synths, Max/MSP Vids, and PC World Love for MT + CDM

Posts had gotten thinner over the past couple of months (do I ever know that pressure), but if you missed the torrents of blog entries over on Music thing, blogger Tom Whitwell has sprung back into action. And, as usual, he’s got lots of great goodies. Among my favorites: A Nord Modular made of Legos Ten Entertaining Videos about Max/MSP (Not to be confused with 32 Short Films about Glen Gould, made back in 1993 before the Web and digg had made “x-number lists” of things hot.) Tom also notes that CDM and Music thing were each mentioned in PC …

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Tiny Instruments: Strange Pocket Soundmaker Toys from MiJam

Tiny MP3 players have become ubiquitous, but MiJam thinks you’ll want to use pocket-able toy-like music gadgets that make music. At about US$20 each (according to Technabob, these odd little devices purport to behave as musical instruments, down to what looks like either membrane or very slim buttons for keys: miJamm Mini Lixx is supposed to be a guitar, with buttons for frets. miniJamm Mini Drums has miniscule pads for drums. Mini Keys is a faux-synth, with what looks like eight keys. Mini Mixer pumps out a beat, digital effects of some kind, “scratch”, and whatever “voice” means, with tempo …

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Hercules Wireless DJ Controller, So You Can DJ and … Barbeque?

Perfect for barbeques, says Hercules. This (sadly, wireless DJ-free) barbeque via Flickr, by Adactico. Yes, just in time for the summer grilling season. Hercules — known in the 80s for their video cards and more recently as makers of a rather flimsy DJ controller — have introduced a toy-like wireless DJ controller. As a serious “controller,” it’s not much good; it’s only slightly evolved from remote control. As a toy, though, it’s quite cute and I imagine someone would have some fun with it. Plug a receiver into USB on your Windows PC, and the Hercules controller wireless manipulates included …

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Hulk Hands Hacked: Smash Stuff, Send MIDI

Hulk SMASH — now MIDI-compatible. By hacking a giant Hulk hands toy, AKA Media System has built a unique MIDI controller. Enough with wussy controllers, like waving around Wii remotes in the air: now you can hit stuff. Like your head. This wasn’t a plug-and-play job: it involved some soldering to adapt the inner workings of the hands, made easier by some labels on the circuitry. Then, you need a way to get control data into the computer. AKA used the Create USB Interface or CUI; see some information and commentary here on CDM from last year. The Arduino board …

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Mother of all Musini Music Toy Circuit Bends

The Musini began its life as an award-winning toy. The product description is hilarious: A perfect gift for rambunctious toddlers, the Musini music box provides a constructive way for children to channel their physical and creative energy. While kids step, jump, turn, and tap, the Musini’s patented MusicSensor detects their every move and translates it into a totally unique musical response, teaching cause and effect. A Style Dial encourages children to explore the five different musical styles, ranging from jazz to classical, and musical variation buttons offer four different interpretations of each musical style. (Some of us rambunctious toddlers here …

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Gift Idea: $30 mi Jam Toy Scratch Mixer, Toy Interactive Sound Sculpture Beg to Be Abused

The problem with iPod DJ mixers? They’re generally pointless toys that are a poor substitute for real DJ gear. The wonderful thing about iPod DJ mixers that actually are intended as pointless toys that are a poor substitute for real DJ gear? For only US$30 or so (check Froogle for some last-minute deals), you can pick up a scratching, mixing, multi-effects processing toy and plug in your homebrew software-running GameBoys and do some … unspeakable things to the sound. What? You don’t think the good folks who manufactured the mi Jam had that in mind when they set up shop? …

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Teething Ring Max/MSP Musical Instrument for Babies

Firmly in the “start ’em young” category, the TSI (Teething ring Sound Instrument) is designed to allow 0-3 year olds to create digital music in Max/MSP. Pressure from the baby’s mouth suckling at the teething ring is converted to MIDI messages and sent to a sound patch on a connected computer: Pitch corresponds to the change of the sucking pressure. When the teething ring is strongly sucked, a higher note rings. The “basic part” consists of a simple 3 note C-major chord played melodically in the form of a simple musical scale. This is something the baby can identify and …

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YouTube Roundup: Album Leaf, Lego Breakbeats, DJ with 45s, Museum of Techno

In celebration of Google’s acquisition of YouTube, CDM’s Adrian Anders has rounded up some of the best YouTube videos, from more Museum of Techno madness to mashups with legos, DJing with 45s, and behind the scenes of music production with Album Leaf. First, some musical inspiration: Anders: The Album Leaf – Making The Album “Into The Blue Again”, featuring Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv on the beats. A really cool look into the creative process for one indie, electronic music influenced band. Kirn: This band has really been one of my favorites of the year, between Eustis, a detailed …

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stekgreif: Build Your Own Modular MIDI Controller out of Legos

Legos, the ultimate prototyping material. Many of us have wished we could have music controllers that could be assembled and customized with the ease of Legos; the Lego-like Mawzer modular controller system got our hopes up but still doesn’t seem to have evolved into a product you can actually buy. Of course, why build something that’s reminiscent of Legos when you could just build it out of real Legos? The stekgreif project has done just that, thanks to a team of three German students (as near as I can figure) named P. Zentis, D. Tzschentke, and G. Homann. (Guys, if …

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