Coding the Club: How the Sensory Experience of Electronic Music Could Expand [Video]

Coded Matter(s) #5: Coding the Club from FIBER on Vimeo. For so much of the world, the club experience is nothing if not predictable. The sound, the aesthetic, the entire evening fit to a predictable mold. But drawing upon decades of work in experimental audiovisual performance, a new generation of sound and light artists are applying today’s tools to build live creations that can transcend all of that, that appeal directly to the senses and transform the architecture of the musical environment. One highlight for me this year was the chance to moderate an installment in March of Fiber Festival’s …

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UMIDI are Custom-Designed DJ Controllers, Built to Order [Gallery, Video]

umidi – The World’s First Custom & Visual DJ Controller from umidi on Vimeo. DJs, laptop musicians, and VJs may never agree on what layout is optimal for controlling their apps. With UMIDI, they might not have to. The Kickstarter-funded project has an ambitious goal: building whatever control you want, to order. Use a graphical Web interface to select a layout, and the producer will custom-machine a case out of aluminum, etching it with your own design, and adding the controls you want. The resulting hardware is USB class-compliant and works with any software, they say, and weighs under 3 …

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MusicMakers Hacklab Report: Blinking Lightbulbs with MIDI, Why Working Together Matters

It’s a wonderful time to be experimenting with technology and music. You can create something that looks like the stuff most people imagine as “the future” – elaborate dances of light, power over sound just by waving your hand, software that seems directly out of Star Trek. But you can do it with technology that is now reaching maturity – decades of experience of artists, engineers, and designers is at your back. “That’s not new,” someone might say. Exactly. Instead of technology being a disposable commodity, forgotten in a couple of years, it’s actually something you can get good at. …

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In Berlin, musicians and creators gather to work collaboratively on new means of creation and performance. Imogen Heap and her team are among the participants, presenting an interactive workshop on wearable tech. Photo from TEDGlobal 2012 in Edinburgh, by James Duncan Davidson.

Hack Into MusicMakers’ Future in Berlin [CTM Open Call]

Happy New Year, from the future. It’s too late for sci-fi movies with a dateline of 2013. If you want something futuristic, you’ll just have to get to work. That’s what we’re doing in Berlin at CTM Festival later this month, with some of our favorite artists and engineers and designers and artist-engineer-designers. And we’d love to have you join us. We’ll have live music to enjoy. That includes high-tech original creations — Sonic Robots’ real-life 808 drum machine and band, and Tarik Barri and Lea Fabrikant with their three-dimensional audiovisual space trip. Tim Exile will treat us to his …

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Controller Hardware: A New Faderfox for Traktor Pro 2

German boutique controller maker Faderfox was one of the first to build custom controllers for Ableton Live and Traktor. But amidst bigger-name offerings, the Faderfox devices still hold up. While other, more sprawling controllers struggle to squeeze into a booth, the Faderfox devices are ultra-compact, though still with enough room for your fingers. They also offer uniquely high-end controls and case, and sophisticated control options. The latest, designed for Traktor – though it could easily be adapted to other DJ and VJ tools – is the DJ-friendly DS3. It really assumes a digital DJing workflow, focusing on triggering samples, loops, …

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Digital Fireworks: A Very Audiovisual 4th of July from Nalepa + Johnny de Kam

For a very different aesthetic take on the United States’ Independence Day celebrations, here’s electronic producer Steve Nalepa joining visualist superstar Johnny de Kam for a collaboration. I find it makes for some nice, chilled-out Monday, July 4 inspiration, wherever you are – no marching-band bombast required. Nalepa has been sharing his Ableton skills with the Dubspot school, online and off, and Johnny de Kam, if you don’t know his work, is one of the leading visualists on the planet, a skilled craftsman of motion and live visual performance, as well as a founder of visual software maker Vidvox. See, …

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Visual Music: Send Audio, MIDI to Live Visuals with GrandVJ 1.5, VST

On Create Digital Motion today, I write about the 1.5 release of ArKaos GrandVJ, the latest version of the popular Mac and Windows VJ tool. The big innovation: insert a VST plug-in into software like Ableton Live, and you can pipe MIDI and audio to your live visuals for easy synchronization and collaboration. You can even, as the video demonstrates, run an Ethernet cable between two machines. (This works on both Mac and Windows, despite the appearance of only Apple laptops in the video.) GrandVJ is doubly interesting for readers on the music site, as it’s long featured a music-centric …

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Drum Machines Have Soul: araabMUZIK on MPC, with Visuals

araabMUZIK Live MPC Set Part 1 from Death by Electric Shock on Vimeo. I have exactly zero interest in entertaining the tired hardware versus software argument that surfaced, inevitably, with the discussion of the upcoming Beat Thang drum machine. But behind that question is a very relevant question: why do people love drum machines? Why do they love particular hardware, like the MPC? What can you learn about digital performance and design from these devices and their master virtuosos? Watching videos like this one, featuring araabMUZIK, gives me all the answers I need. This is one musician among others. I …

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Beyond NAMM: LA Friday Night Party, Music Tech Panel – It’s Gonna Be The Future Soon

Photo courtesy Droid Behavior from a previous year. In Anaheim this week, the music manufacturer trade gather to show their wares. But 8pm – 4am Friday night, we party. “Wham Bam Thank You NAMM” has become an annual tradition, an unofficial afterparty of sorts for the first two days of the trade show. This year’s lineup: John Tejada, Richard Devine, Flashbulb, Deru, Laura Escude, Scott Pagano, CPU, DJ Kero, Acid Circus, Derek Michael, Baseck, Eezir, Trifonic, DJ G Ov, Moldover, Henry Strange, and myself, among others. Escaping from the Anaheim Convention Center doldrums, the event is held in the lovely, …

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Performance Videography: Get Up Close for More Exciting and Editable Footage

Segue – Reset (Live at Big Day Out 2008 Two-up Edit) from Jaymis on Vimeo. How do you make live performance documentation that doesn’t suck? You’ve been there: you’re trying to shoot footage, you’re trying to edit footage someone else shot, or you’re trying to tell someone shooting footage how to take material you can actually use. Jaymis from Create Digital Motion talks a bit about a recent experience working on footage of Segue – or skip to the end for some tips, either for you or to give that young, eager videographer you hope can make you look cool. …

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