RBK_Hero001

Turn a Rock Band Keytar Into a Mellotron, And More Standalone Instruments

Lurking in the bargain bins of game shops is a surprisingly well-built keyboard. The Rock Band “keytar” controller may have been made for games, but the keybed is solid, the thing is light, and it can run on batteries. So why not turn it into a standalone instrument? That’s what Jamie Robertson has done with his, and he shows you how. The magic here is something he calls the WAV Trigger. Without naming any names, while there are a lot of cool Arduino shields and the like out there, a lot of them are pretty functionally limited. They’re cool to …

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Inside Flying Lotus’ Mind: Free Download of Ideas + Drafts + Loops

It seems hard to be an artist these days without a steady stream of mixes. The problem is, a lot of these become monotonous and similar. By contrast, this week, Flying Lotus drops a free download that feels more like getting a pass into someone’s hard drive. Ideas + Drafts + Loops is full of random snippets of music, many of them – despite the name – fairly fully formed. FlyLo’s signature over-compression is showcased, of course, but you also get sparkling, shimmering rushes of sound, like a beautifully-romantic clip for Aqua Teen Force. (Being in California, of course FlyLo …

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The Terror of Watermelons and Your Niece Screaming: Interactive Sonic Fear in Dead Space 3

Wilhelm wasn’t going to cut it for A-list game release Dead Space 3. Meet the young Amelia, instead, screaming. And behold the sheer horror that only a squishy watermelon can produce. I always knew fruit and toddlers were up to no good. Kill Screen, the indie game mag, collaborates with The Creators’ Project to go behind the scenes at developer Visceral Games to talk about the audio design and interactive sound system in Dead Space. Producer and editor Jamin Warren tells CDM it was his favorite of the series yet. In addition to examining sound design and field recording, the …

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pulse

New Music Games+Tools for iPad, Xbox 360, in Circles and Tenori-On Grids

In the blurring areas between gaming and creation, toys and tools, there’s certainly a lot of action, spurred on by platforms for sharing software. Pulse is a new title for the iPad, an ambient rhythmic gaming experience with a unique interface centering around a series of concentric circles. The graphic design looks gorgeous in its abstraction, as much music visualization and animation as game UI. The developer, Cipher Prime, has done this kind of terrific work before – their work includes the ambient streams of colored particles in Auditorium, the Flash-based browser game, followed by the Mac + PC game …

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Rock Band 3 to Add Keyboards; No Idea How it Works, Great News for RB Network

This’ll work great! (Artist rendering; final product may differ.) Bach manuscript image (CC-BY-SA) Nathan Siemers. Mock-up created by the createdigitalmusic.com Future Prediction Department… intern. Kotaku notes that Rock Band 3‘s icons tease something we’ve been awaiting a long time — keys. It’s ironic that in order to make guitars playable in games, they were effectively made into keyboards, yet it’s taken this long to actually get keyboards. Oh, wait — yeah, there is that whole problem of having as many as 88 keys, two hands, and no convenient way to fit the staff notation into the descending gems view. Not …

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Chime, Beautiful New Music Game on Xbox 360: Play to Philip Glass, for Charity

One Big Game is a charity assembled by game developers to raise money for children’s organizations. Musical games look to figure prominently in the series. Design legend Masaya Matsuura (PaRappa the Rapper, Vib-Ribbon), father of rhythm games and without whom there likely would be no Rock Band or Guitar Hero, has signed. And the first title out, from Zoë Mode, is musical in nature, too, in a game called “Chime.” Chime is an elegantly-designed game and a lovely way to unwind, particularly with Philip Glass’ gorgeous “Brazil” in the track list. (“Brazil” has Glass’ usual musical furniture, but the cut, …

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Inside the Rock Band Network, as Harmonix Gives Interactive Music its Game-Changer

There’s a lot of hype around the latest schemes for changing how artists get their music to fans, but not actually a whole lot of news. (It always seems to boil down to a website with some unpronounceable name.) Well, this is news: Harmonix is opening up Rock Band to anyone who wants their music in it, and giving you the same sophistication of tools they use themselves. That’s a real game-changer – literally. And I don’t mean just for the actual game Rock Band. Sure, Harmonix was the house that made music games a phenomenon in the US. They …

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Generative Music Interfaces of the Future – Look to Games?

I’m going to make this a minimalist post because I’ve said what I’ll say about Kodu, the one really cool part of Microsoft’s keynote yesterday, on Create Digital Motion. (Am I the only person who wishes Sparrow had just done the whole keynote?) But have a look at the shot above. One of the complaints about generative and algorithmic music software (and music software in general) is that the interface has been so complex. Clearly, there are many other ways to design these interfaces, and in turn, to shape the way we use these to compose and perform music. Forget …

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How to Use Rock Band Controllers (And More) with GarageBand, Mac

Bill Pendry wanted to use his PlayStation 3 Rock Band controllers with GarageBand on the Mac, so he’s posted step-by-step instructions to do just that. The secret formula: a wonderful utility that helps you use HID-compatible game controllers on the Mac, sans drivers. GamePad Companion (US$15 shareware) Of course, the nice thing here is that the basic steps apply to other controllers, just in case Rock Band doesn’t float your boat (or rock your socks, or whatever). I ended up choosing kick, snare, two toms and one cymbal, since the other cymbal I wanted was in a inactive area of …

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