Genre-bending, Brilliant Music Videos: Dive In

Among the many “best of” lists spontaneously appearing on the CDM forums, contributors and readers have compiled a fantastic list of inspirational music videos from a variety of acts. One thing that strikes me is the breadth of aesthetics; whereas once electronica had very strong connotations (and the videos with it), these are really high-art experimental filmmaking with a range of styles. And they’re a pleasure to watch, too, like the fanciful Sigur Rós video pictured here. (Thanks, Jaymis!)

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Music Realized as Colored Bars: Music Animation Machine

Old, but worth mentioning . . . if for no other reason that you’re thinking about color in new ways as you stare into your green beer for St. Patrick’s Day. (Or even a green river, a la Chicago.) The Music Animation Machine renders familiar music as series of colored bars, in still image or animated video, reminiscent of a piano roll editor in a sequencing application. Color represents harmonic area, so as you look at the piece you see form, structure, shape, and harmony in new ways. It certainly raises some interesting questions: with new tools at our disposal, …

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Witness the Birth of Synced Sound and Image

Over a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison first attempted to record sound and moving image in synchronization (a task that still challenges undergrad film students). The results were believed lost for many years, until the sound was recovered on a broken cylinder. Edison’s original experiment actually failed, but in the hands of legendary film and sound editor Walter Murch, these 17 seconds of film history are now restored realized more perfectly than even Edison could: 1895 Edison “Kinetophone” Test, shot by William Dickson [Internet Archive]

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Interactive Touchable Fabric: Music by “Casting a Spell”

As great as the potential of advanced touchscreens may be, for music and other media applications, touchscreens aren’t much fun to touch. Close your eyes and remove visual feedback, and you’re basically running your finger along a piece of plastic. (You’d think we could figure out a way to at least texture it without losing tracking.) Compare that to piano or drums: musical instruments can be played satisfyingly with your eyes closed. Yeah, you can do that to look “deep,” but the point is, you’re relying on tactile, not visual feedback. Here’s a promising solution: the Hyperfabric project (via the …

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Nam June Paik, 1932-2006

I’m sad to report that composer and artist Nam June Paik died Sunday evening January 29 at his home in Miami. The funeral will be this Friday here in New York; information at the Nam June Paik Website. Contributions can be sent to Electronic Arts Intermix, the nonprofit arts organization devoted to digital art and interactive media. (via Tom and extremeNY Paik was born in South Korea and went on to become a ground-breaking composer, electronic musician, video and media artist. Probably no 20th Century artist had as profound an impact on the medium of video, from magnetic experiments on …

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Sonar*Axe: SONAR / Photocell-Controlled Music Controller

You wear it on your shoulder, but it’s not a guitar. It’s a US$425 MIDI controller, powered by SONAR and photocell sensors for Theremin-like control in the air. It could be none other than the latest creation from instrument builder Tony Amendolare, aka ElectroKraft. You might have seen this instrument in November (see post and discussion on Music thing from when I was on vacation), but since then Tony has posted some video files. (Still more discussion: GetLoFi) It’s a lot easier to follow how the thing works in the video, and as for the spacey lab coats and welder’s …

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Video of Music-Synced Christmas Lights; How to Do It?

Kevin of The Nettles has this quandary about music-synchronized Christmas lights: There’s this Xmas lights video (make sure that you have your sound on): Wizards of Winter [new, better link] Lots of other video links to crazy Christmas light displays [Ed: Updated those links; thanks Afro! -PK] Do you happen to know the origins of this video? It looks like the light display was implemented with a MIDI control to a lighting rig but there’s some speculation in the blogosphere that it’s a PC video editing job. I’d be curious to know what kind of rig you’d use for something …

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Superstar VJ: The Animated Comic!

The day after I do a VJ roundup, my friend Holly Daggers has turned VJing into a graphic novel. It’s wetcircuits presents VJ comix, a Flash-animated color comic book about the on-the-road life of a superstar VJ. Busta Rhymes, Miri Ben Ari, and All Mighty Senators are featured, plus a tour of unknown origin by a cigarette company of unknown origin (mmm, shady). But what we care about, of course, is Holly’s gear, from Korg, Edirol, et al. Enjoy! Of course, the real reason I bring this up is I’d love to get some help making music-themed comics using plasq’s …

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Transcend: 2D Shooter Game / Musical Sculpture

2D shooter? Interactive sound sculpture? Why choose one when you can have both? Transcend is an open-source, cross-platform (Mac/Windows build or *nix source), 2D shooter game. Thanks to morphing shapes and what the developer calls a “musical power-up system,” as you shoot your way through the levels you’re simultaneously “assembling an abstract visual collage and arranging a unique piece of music.” With continuing advances in OpenGL 3D graphics and real-time sound, you can expect more alternative 3D interfaces for music like this one. (Thanks, Ronan!) Previously: Unreal Tournament as Music Environment More Unreal “Game” Performances

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More Digital String Installation Things!

Régine of Near Near Future has some more interactive strings, along the lines of last week’s laser harp: Interactive strings (Cellists out there are probably wondering why the idea of “interactive strings” is new. Well, clearly you don’t und. . . um . . . okay, you’ve got me.) Anyway, this stuff is big business. Artist David Small got a gig here in NYC with cosmetics giant L’oreal; his poetry harp triggers billowing poetry. As for the op_era, I’m at a loss. First, it claims to be four-dimensional. (Okay, it exists in time I suppose — so does a Calder …

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