Björk and Dirty Projectors, Inspired by a Mountain and Whales, Back to Vocal Basics

The live session that inspired the album, in turn inspired by some whales. Photo by Ryan Muir, courtesy Motormouth. Digital music is of course created the moment you commit a recording to a file, so it’s fitting to me that we can take musical inspiration from acoustic sources as well as electronic. And one of the album releases I’m most thrilled by this summer is the collaboration between Björk and the eclectic band Dirty Projectors, whose African rhythm-influenced “Bitte Orca” was to me one of the fresher sounds in recent years. For the digital-only release “Mount Wittenberg Orca,” the coupling …

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For Singers, Effects and Looping All in One Box

Singers often get left out, at least when compared to the toys heaped on guitarists and keyboardists. But vocalists looking to add effects and loop their vocalizations can now do so in one box, all attachable to a mic stand. TC-Helicon has an intriguing-looking gadget they’ve unveiled for vocalists, just in time for the summer NAMM trade show in Nashville, Tennessee. Called the VoiceLive Touch, it’s an all-in-one processing and looping box. TC are no stranger to vocal effects, with the recent, compact (and akwardly-named) VoiceTone Create XT and the hefty, stompbox-style VoiceLive. What’s different here is that the resulting …

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5 Years of CDM NYC Party: Beats + Baile + Open Bar + Laptops + Twitter Twister

  Design: onetonnemusic. Link love, chip love, software love, music love – Create Digital Music is celebrating five years, and it’s time to spread some of the love back to you here in New York City. Wednesday night, we’ll be celebrating five years made possible by our incredible readers with a big party at Love Nightclub in Manhattan. We’ve got one of the best sound systems in the city. We have eclectic, handmade, heavy beats from the likes of David Last, King Britt, Ganucheau, and IJ Catling (and me, opening up the sets). And because the Honorary Official Language of …

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NYC in December: RjDj, Pd, in/out Fest Workshops + Performances, Blip Festival

monome creator Brian Crabtree at an early Handmade Music at Etsy Labs. Brian will perform under his name tehn, joining other artists with grids and patches and felt to talk about and play with alternative controllers at the in/out Fest. Photo (CC). It’s the most wonderful time of the year in New York. Mark your (advent) calendars. And for non-New Yorkers, let me know – who do you want interviewed? What do you want covered? Whose music do you want us to podcast? Our gift to you will be coverage of these events. New Yorkers and metro-area residents of the …

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Pro Tools Bundles: $99-129, Hardware for Vocals, Recording, Keys

For people looking to get into music recording and production on a computer, for the first time, there’s a bundle that says “Pro Tools” on the box that costs correction: as little as just $99. It really is Pro Tools software; it’s certainly streamlined (some basic track limits, no multitrack recording), but still with a serious complement of recording, mixing, and effects, and even some nice virtual instruments. Beyond that, your choice is which hardware you’d like in your “value meal”: For vocalists: The Vocal Studio has a cardoid condenser mic – that’s a USB mic you can connect directly …

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Maker-Faire Music: VAMP and Glove-Controlled Vocals

Elly Jessop and VAMP at the Maker Faire from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo. Yann Seznec aka The Amazing Rolo brings CDM his coverage of music tech at the Maker Faire in three episodes today. Continuing the tradition of computer-augmented vocal performance and interactive gloves, Elena “Elly” Jessop shows off her VAMP system at Maker Faire. Elly is a Masters student at the MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future research group, headed by Todd Machover. Interestingly, Elly’s background is in conventional theater, including stage and costume design and choreography. http://web.media.mit.edu/~ejessop/ VAMP stands for “Vocal Augmentation and Manipulation Prosthesis.” What’s …

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Auto-Tune The News, And Channeling Steve Reich, Anyone?

The Internet, having satisfied itself yesterday with video that faked a Beyonce who couldn’t sing, now imagines news that can. And Steve Reich is proven ahead of his time — again. (Congrats on the Pullitzer – it took them just five decades to notice!) Yes, Antares’ Auto-Tune plug-in – now so ubiquitous in mainstream, non-audio-engineer knowledge that it’s become a generic description like “Kleenex” – can be applied to everything. (We, um, can only hope these industrious YouTubers are using legally-licensed copies – that is, until Antares releases a 99-cent iPhone app.) And so, hilariously, we imagine a world of …

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Is Beyonce Tone Deaf? Is Leaked Board Mix Real? Is Auto-Tune That Powerful? (No)

Updated, for all time: Readers are nearly 100% for judging this one. It was a fake. And the site with a really stupid name (hellohomo??) admits that it was faux. Howard Stern Hoaxed! Beyoncé "Outtakes" Are Fake, Creator Admits [E! Online] Wow, that may be the last time CDM links to E! Lesson learned: yes, the Internet has the power to spread rumors at new speeds. It can also debunk them even faster. That’s something to pass along to the “get off my lawn!” crowd.

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Crowdsourced Vocal Synthesis: 2000 People Singing “Daisy Bell”

Bicycle Built for Two Thousand from Aaron on Vimeo. The song “Daisy Bell” has a special place in computer history. Max Mathews, who had by the late 50s pioneered digital synthesis using IBM 704 mainframe, arranged the tune in 1961 for vocoder-derived vocal synthesis technology on technology developed by John Larry Kelly, Jr.. Kelly himself is better known for applying number theory to investing in the markets — an unfortunate achievement in the wake of a financial collapse brought down by misuse of mathematical theory. In 1962, Arthur C. Clarke happened to hear the 704 singing the Mathews/Kelly “Daisy Bell,” …

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Electro-Harmonix Voice Box: $200, Fun Voice and Instrument Effects, Gender, Vocoder

Electro-Harmonix has made a quick-and-dirty vocal effects box. Usable parameters, good fun, and $200 – sure, it may not be the highest-fidelity vocal box ever, but what’s not to love? Our friend Collin Cunningham at MAKE gets the jump on this one. It’s got some surprisingly unique features: 256-band vocoder “designed by the same EMS genius who made vocoding famous,” they say It will harmonically match electric instruments as well as vocals. 2- to 4-part harmonization, at the 3rd and 5th (labeled “Low” and “High” in case you slept through Music Theory class) 9 programmable presets Gliss Gender bender male/female …

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