Hydraulophone: Water Jet/Fountain/Underwater MIDI Keyboard Instruments

Steve Mann, Chris Aimone, et al of the University of Toronto have developed a system for using streams of water to play a musical instrument. They describe the results in theoretical terms for the academic community, referring to ancient Greek water organs and the ability to have greater tactile feedback than other alternative instruments. But let’s get to the bottom line: this is a fun water toy that is not only tactile, but wet. You can play the instrument by manipulating streams of water directly: The “FUNtain” (hydraulophone) is an interactive multimedia fountain that responds when people block, one or …

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Future of Music Tech, As Envisioned by BBC Comedy Writers

The hilarious send-up of educational films that was Look Around You: Music was only the beginning. BBC comedy show Look Around You has its own fantastic website filled with still more goodies. And it gives us a much clearer idea of the future of music technology than, say, a teaser from Moog. Readers have been sending in “Life in the Year 2000” entries, which include the five-string bass guitar, sex changes using Bach violin concertos, and my personal favorite, Halson Hoek’s invention that improves your keyboard chops by sending electrical shocks through metal gauntlets. At this point, that might be …

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Interactive Music Tracks Fish Movement

Here’s a twist on interactive aquatic music: how about letting the fish be the music-makers? BBC News reports that digital artist Julie Freeman has created an installation out of a fish tank, installed in a silo at the Tingrith Fishery in Bedfordshire, southern England. Surgically-implanted radio tags track the movement of the fish, which generates music and animation. (via Gino Robair at Electronic Musician) I think this is even better than the MIDI hamsters.

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Jaws Soundtrack: Remixed, Underwater

Artist Abinadi Meza has created a remixed composition of the “lighthearted” sounds of the movie Jaws (think drunken sailor sounds and off-key clarinet blasts), into a piece that wlll only be played underwater. To hear the output of the submerged speakers, you have to strip to your skivvies and float in the ocean. Title: Soft Jaws. Details of the project plus an MP3 for landlubbers are available from PS122 Gallery’s Artwurl zine. Speaking of this, have any of you experimented with underwater speaker placement? (or simulating it digitally?)

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More on Mocean: Pipe Organ Controlled by Water Tank

I looked at Mocean last month, but Liubo Borissov, one of its creators, alerted me to an updated site with better documentation and video: Mocean @ Organic Interfaces Here’s where it gets really cool: the Mocean creators hooked up the water tank to a pipe organ (video included). The impact of the water interface on the harmonic content of the organ is simply sublime. I could go on, but go check it out for yourself! (Setup: MIDI organ + Jitter software.) Liubo tells us Mocean 3 will be “bigger and badder” and “almost a bathtub.” Can’t wait. If you can …

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Mocean: Water as Musical Instrument

Mocean is an interactive installation that uses a tank of water as an interface for sound. Dip your hands in the tank, and the installation whistles and hums. The water doesn't create the sound directly; instead, an array of antique organ pipes resonate above the tank, triggered by a video camera that analyzes pictures of the water. (Complex but interesting solution!) Mocean was created by Maia Marinelli, Jared Lamenzo, and Liubo Borissov (in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program or ITP); I found out about it as I'm in a residency now with Liubo at Dance Theater Workshop here in New York. …

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Pianoquarium

This week's understatement of note: "Sometimes I am self-driven to do some weird stuff. I have no idea why." Indeed, Troy Errthum. Like turning an old upright piano into a 20-gallon pianoquarium, complete with live fish. (via hackaday) The piano itself is no longer playable (guess that's what happens when you replace the soundboard with fish), but there's room for an electric piano. CDM challenges its readers to start building fish storage into digital instruments. Maybe there's a market here.

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Electroplankton: Underwater Musical Game for Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS is already a model for thinking creatively about handheld interaction, but a game slated for Japanese release called Electroplankton looks to be the most creative yet. It's hard to say exactly what it is — maybe just as confusing even if you do read Japanese — but it appears to be an underwater musical game that finally expands beyond the old 'Simon' model employed by games like Dance Dance Revolution. Against an ever-present calm backdrop of rising bubbles drifts an imagined landscape of imagined, smiling single-celled organisms and protozoa, generating cheery, modal aleatoric music, as bouncing objects …

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Free Reverb: Onstage or Underwater (Windows)

Free reverb? Ho-hum. Free reverb that can simulate bizarre acoustic spaces and even make your mix sound like it's underwater? Now you're talking. Dasample Glaceverb (VST Windows) is a Residual Vector Modulation reverb plugin — think physical modeling applied to reverb. With control over every parameter of the space and its materials and 64 presets, it's capable of everything from traditional stage reverbs to bizarre boomy metal boxes and underwater effects. And it's completely free, so if you're on Windows there's really no reason not to be applying odd, boomy 20s reverb tails to your stuff within moments. It sounds …

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Waterproof Music? The Wetronome

Okay, it's a stretch. Despite its name, the Wetronome covered yesterday by Gizmodo is intended for pacing strokes in swimming, not music. But given the innovations in portable music covered here alone, why couldn't your next instrument be — waterproof? The Wetronome is a model of aquatic design, completely sealed and programmed with a magnetic wand. If your cello weren't water soluble, you could be practicing in the waves right now. Don't let me down, technology inventors out there. I know you're up to the task.

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