Sonification: Thermonuclear Testing, Made into Music, 1945-1998

Visualization often wins out over sonification when it comes to making data clear. But sound has one key advantage: it can make time and scale apparent, by tapping directly into our perception of forward time. Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto, born well into the Nuclear Age in 1959, uses that property to chilling effect. The sounds in “1945-1998” are made still more unsettling in their rendering as tranquil, musical sounds rather than explosions. Quietly, World War III is waged not in wartime, but in the 2053 nuclear explosions that erupt mainly in thermonuclear tests (led, ironically, by the United States). This …

READ MORE →

Bleeping Good Fun: Videos from Handmade Music; Your Part of the World

It’s easy – and partly appropriate – to appreciate the bleeps and blips of homemade and bent circuits as noise-making insanity. But as Peter Edwards (casperelectronics) and E-Squared walked us through their creations at the April installment of Handmade Music, it was clear that compositional exploration was at the heart of the work. Edwards talked about trying to be freer with sound and get away from techno, using handmade creations that helped him shake musical habits. E-Squared described studying the intricacies of classic Roland drum machine and synth circuits, then re-imagining them in fantastic new creations that allowed them to …

READ MORE →

Are Economic Concerns Likely to Impact Your Music Tech Purchases?

Politics and economics are well beyond the scope of this site and ridiculously far out of my area of expertise. But at what point does economic confidence start to impact music technology? That’s a question I know colleagues and industry figures are starting to wonder about. Here is an entirely non-scientific “temperature test” — even if these feelings may shift over time. Feel free to answer from wherever you live in the world. [Direct poll link, in case the embed isn’t working]

READ MORE →

From STEIM’s Artistic Director: Why STEIM Matters, and Thanks

From the STEIM Concert Blog, which gives some sense of who has been playing STEIM. Takuro Maizuta Lippit, aka dj sniff, writes in thanks for the international outpouring of support for the STEIM music and art research center in Amsterdam, which faces potentially losing government funding. Some readers raised some questions about why STEIM is asking for support, and what the institution’s significance is — a reasonable question — and Taku provides some background here: What makes STEIM an unique place is that it emphasizes on supporting independent artists with experimental and adventurous ideas in the live electronic art world. …

READ MORE →

Ableton Live 7 Preview … in Russian!

Last week, I mentioned my friend, Keyboard colleague, and Ableton sound maestro Francis Preve had written an overview of Ableton Live 7 for Beatportal. Maxim DJ writes in comments that he’s posted a Russian translation and commentary. (Already one complaint that it’s not a direct translation, but in blog style, he adds his own thoughts — works for me. Francis, what do you– oh, yeah. Neither of us reads Russian.) So, anyone with Russian-speaking friends, forward away. And if you speak Russian, let us know how he did on the translation. Some time ago I had chatted about building an …

READ MORE →

Free Hispasonic Nebula Reverb for Windows, with 450 MB of Presets

There’s a horrible misconception that music technology is the domain of white guys who speak either English or German. (Erm, yes, I don’t do much to counter that — shout out, my nerdy, pale guy friends.) But think again. One of the best music production sites on the Web in any language is the Spanish-language Hispasonic (and we have a strong readership in Spanish-speaking countries even here on CDM). Clearly, music technology and the Web itself are growing in popularity all over the planet, as diverse communities grow and start talking about this stuff in their native tongues. Hispasonic was …

READ MORE →