Your Belgrade Underground Connection: See and Hear Experimental Dance Music

From the beating heart of Europe, audiovisual electronic instrumentalism continues to thrive. We’re fortunate to bring a slice of that scene to you. CDM is in Belgrade, Serbia this week, where we’re pleased to host an event celebrating real-time visual expression. And we get to do it in one of the best underground venues in the city, Drugstore. Event details, for any of you here in the neighborhood: Drugstore, 17 January 23h We’ll start out with a workshop on making architectural space dynamic with interactive/generative sound and imagery, hosted by myself and Abduct. (More on that topic here and on …

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What if your DAW were completely open-ended and modular, allowing you to send audio and control anywhere, and control from any device - including touch? Or, if that's too abstract for you, what if Usine ran on the Mac?

Sensomusic Hollyhock: An Open-Ended, Modular DAW from Usine Makers, Now Mac + Windows [Beta Preview]

Driven by musicians’ need to do a lot of the same things, and expecting certain ways of doing those things, DAWs have traditionally been mired in the same molds. Sensomusic Hollyhock, an upcoming DAW from the makers of Usine, promises to be genuinely different. Like Usine, it’s built around an entirely open-ended, modular environment – you can patch together only what you need, and can patch together just about anything. But building on Usine, Sensomusic have created an entirely rewritten app, with new audio engine, rebuilt interface, new MIDI management, and, among other things, cross-platform 64-bit support for Windows and …

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Touch to Control: Usine Learns Music Parameters with the Magic of OSC

Touchable tablets may be all the rage at the CES trade show, showcase to consumer-friendly gadgetry. But quietly, developer Sensomusic has accomplished multi-touch control of an open-ended music system on standard-issue PCs and accessories. They’ve pointed the way to just what this mechanism could be. The latest video isn’t terribly easy to see, but it realizes something that has been the dream of fans of the music control protocol OSC (OpenSoundControl). “Learn” functionality lets you touch a control, then assign that control to something in your music software. But because these functions have relied on MIDI, they’ve generally been a …

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Rock Band 3 Mustang Guitar as Expressive MIDI Controller: Frets, Strings, and Accelerometer

As a guitar, the Rock Band 3 Mustang is a bit unusual – there are strings, but an array of buttons replaces the frets, and it is intended as a game controller. But with all those buttons, strings, and sensors, it makes a remarkably flexible, surprisingly inexpensive controller. Our friend nay-seven puts it to good use with Sensomusic Usine. And talk about a budget-minded setup – one that could put platforms like the iPad to shame. Usine costs just EUR90 for a full license, with discounted educational pricing and a version you can try for free. The Mustang runs just …

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Touchscreen or Tangible? Use Both: A Practical, Affordable, Playable PC Rig with Usine

Touchscreens? Good, old-fashioned faders, knobs, and pads? Why not just use what suits the job – especially when you can choose both on the cheap? Nay-Seven shares some of his latest work with Usine, the brilliant, modular and touch-centric tool for Windows. It’s a futuristic rig that’s also down-to-earth. Touchscreen monitors can be had for around US$300 street, and the Akai LPD8 and Korg nanoKONTROL controllers each figure under a hundred bucks. Usine, the software, is a bargain for its depth at EUR120, and free and educational versions are available. Cost aside, though, this also puts sound making directly under …

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Drawing Sound: Crazy Touch Interface Sound Experiments with Usine, PC

The quickest route to expressing an idea remains the gesture of a hand. That gesture may be crudely interpreted through today’s touch displays, but the immediacy remains. Presumably because of some of the device’s limitations, a lot of the experiments with the iPad have involved controllers that operate independently from sound software, like a remote control. Those interfaces, while useful, largely simulate existing hardware controls in a more flexible form, rather than introduce new ideas. But it seems the long-term potential for touch devices is in designs that unite touch, graphic, and sound in a single piece of software, exploring …

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Hundreds of Free Musical Tools Now Free to Add to Usine

Usine is an overlooked gem in music making, a PC-based modular environment and live performance tool that runs as a host or VST plug-in. Pick the modules you need from a set of powerful building blocks, and build a custom musical rig, complete with multi-touch control on new Windows devices. It sounds like something you might request from a magical genie, but the thing is real, priced at EUR120 (or just EUR60 for educational users). As with any modular environment, having ample access to powerful modules and some patches to get you started is everything. But that makes this week’s …

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Ableton Live Touch with Free Usine; Why Touch, Multitouch Works for Music

There’s plenty of rightful skepticism about the use of mainstream displays for multitouch in general purpose computing. And why not? As a full-time replacement for other input, multitouch probably doesn’t make sense. But for music, the equation is changing. Multitouch capabilities are showing up on commodity-priced PC computers like the multi-touch enabled HP laptop models – the tx2z seen here starts, incredibly, at US$850. And because computer musicians are looking for more control, having a touch-enabled display (even single-touch) just makes sense. The screen for a laptop musician is a huge piece of real estate. Finally, instead of sitting dumbly …

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$200 Makes Your Laptop Touch-Enabled; Usine Music Demo

No doubt about it: touch is coming to more screens near you. But there’s no need to disappoint your current beloved laptop. $200 kits can turn your laptop into a functioning touchscreen. Now, as I’m working with JazzMutant’s Lemur this week, before you get excited, this is no Lemur – or even anything like your iPhone or iPod touch. Sensitivity and accuracy are workable, but not exceptional, the overlay is pretty simple (as you can see in the video) rather than integrated with the display, and this is single-touch only — not multi-touch. Lastly, on a conventional laptop that isn’t …

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Sensomusic Usine + Ableton Live = Modular Touchscreen Interface

Touch interfaces abound on this site, but Usine has one edge: it’s built right out of the box to enable touch interfaces with custom, modular creation of whatever you might like. And there’s now an Ableton Live template in testing, with a lovely 5×5 controller. The advantage of working this way, as I see it, is that you can begin to expand Live sessions beyond endlessly-looping, pre-built audio clips or DJ-style mixing. Discussion on the Sensomusic forum: 5 x 5 Live Control Patch More on Usine: Modular Sound by Touch: Usine And for two significant new multitouch tools, from last …

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