Sufjan Stevens’ Visualist: A Conversation About Live Visuals for Music

UFO, Black Hawk War from CandyStations on Vimeo. Jaymis Loveday sits down with Deborah Johnson for Create Digital Motion in a conversation about live visuals for music. Deborah (right), aka CandyStation, is touring with Sufjan Stevens, another of our favorite musicians. (If I could come up with more excuses to bring him into a "digital music" blog, I would.) It really is a conversation, as Jaymis has plenty of thoughts himself, having toured with Australian Idol Bobby Flynn (and I think the two are kindred in aesthetic). See Deborah’s visuals above, and check out the full interview on CDMotion: Interview: …

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Digital Vinyl, Free and Open Source, in Max/MSP, Pd, Linux

Scratching began as a practical means by which DJs could cue records. (So say originators like Grandmaster Flash; if you’re interested in the history, check out the fantastic documentary Scratch — trailer above.) But something about the gesture, the mechanical feeling of scratching, and all that history has made the turntable compelling as a controller. It’s even taught as an instrument at Berklee. So, what if you want to scratch for purposes other than conventional DJing? Getting at Timecode Digital vinyl systems like Serato Scratch LIVE and Native Instruments Traktor Scratch are designed for DJs. Part of the whole advantage …

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Video as Instrument: The Fairlight CMI’s Visualist Sibling, the Fairlight CVI

The Fairlight CMI, the ground-breaking digital synth created by Australians Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie, is well known for its contribution to music. Think names like Peter Gabriel, Hans Zimmer, David Bowie, Herbie Hancock, Kate Bush, Bono, and … hang on, I’ll stop before this becomes a very long list. With tablet input and sophisticated sampling capabilities, the CMI holds up reasonably well against even modern tech, even if it cost as much as a luxury car. (See Keyboard Magazine‘s 2006 write-up.) But less known is the CMI’s influential visual sibling, the CVI — Computer Video Instrument. Introduced to the …

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Free OpenSoundControl VST on Windows; Map Sound to Visuals with OSC

Everywhere I go, people bug me about when they’ll see better support for OpenSoundControl (OSC) in applications. Why use fancy-schmancy OSC when MIDI does the job? Well, OSC supports higher resolutions of data when needed, maps variables elegantly (when you’re controlling something like visuals and descriptions like musical pitch or filter cutoff make no sense), and plays nice over networks and with multiple computers. In other words, go ahead and use MIDI when it does the job — but we need something else when it doesn’t. Here’s one way to get OSC from your favorite app: hack it in. Spotted …

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CDMo: Edirol V-8 Video Mixer at Messe

Breaking story from Messe — the V-4 video mixer, the gold standard VJ mixer that’s almost uncanny in its ubiquitous appearance on live visual sets, finally has a sequel. No word on pricing yet, but the V-8 is already tantalizing in that it ups the input and output count and finally(!) adds a 15-pin connector for computer video. Full details on Create Digital Motion: Edirol V-8 Mixer: 8 Ins, 3 Outs, Computer Ins Mean V-4, The Next Generation With this arriving this month and the boutique Vixid mixer to play with, it could be a great year for audiovisualists.

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Ecler Releases EVO4 DJ MIDI + Mixer Image

There’s been quite some interest — and discussion of the relative merits of high-end mixers — in the boutique DJ mixer Ecler EVO4. It’s a more svelte rendition of the EVO5, and also doubles as a hybrid MIDI control surface. There’s still no word on pricing, but if it comes anywhere close to a US$1000 street, I think it could be serious competition for the cheaper but apparently flakier Korg ZERO range. At least now we know what the thing looks like: I like the design — it’s not hard to imagine digital musicians and laptopists/electronicistas having good fun with …

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MIDI + Mixing: Ecler EVO4 DJ Mixer Specs, EVO5 Update

So, you’ve got a mixer, which is a box covered in faders and knobs that processes audio signal. And you’ve got a MIDI control surface, which is often a box covered in faders and knobs that looks a mixer, but doesn’t process audio signal. Why not combine them into one device? That’s the approach taken by DJ-focused mixer maker Ecler. Their EVO5 (shown at right) does all of this, but at a hefty price premium — about U$1900 street. (That price could be more worth it, however, with updated firmware capabilities — more on that in a moment.) A rumored …

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Jeane Poole Reviews Live 7, Suite, with Handy Resource Round-up

Our friend Jeane Poole, who hails from the island continent pictured in the screen grab, has a terrific overview review of Live 7 — the upgraded app and suite. And, bonus, there’s some good resources for plug-ins and learning, to boot. The verdict:

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Hands On With Ohm, Wood and Blue Backlit MIDI Controller

I got to get up close and personal with the just-deliver Ohm from Livid Instruments. It’s a new MIDI controller with a 6×6 grid of on/off pads, two times four knobs + four faders (that is, eight total of each), lots of custom buttons, and a DJ-style crossfader with a lovely wooden handle. Price is US$750, but it comes bundled with Livid’s full VJ software, Union, for Mac and PC. Livid is first and foremost a visual software developer, and the controller is unusually well-suited to visuals, so it was a natural for Create Digital Motion: Hands-On: Livid’s New Ohm …

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Ableton for the DVJ: Users Hack in Scratching, Live Video, and Visual Remixing

Live brushes up its VJ kung fu: The Karate Kid live remix at the CDM NAMM Party last month, as Ableton Live gets integrated into live visuals. Photo courtesy Robin Hunicke. Audiovisual performance has a history stretching back through the decades — from the 90s Japan audiovisual scene to 60s Acid Tests and whole heck of a lot of other places. Heck, I’m fairly certain people were shooting up on morphine or getting happy with the opium and chilling out to magic lanterns and colored lights at the end of the 19th Century. But there’s a new excitement brewing globally …

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