Mac-Powered Punching Bag for DJs [Updated]

Sure, DJs could opt for products like Final Scratch that provide a traditional turntable interface for the computer, but why not . . . a punching bag? Version 2.0 of Max/MSP-powered SoundSlam lets you punch to trigger audio and even has a virtual trainer that coaches you as you go. Add a floor mat you can dance on, and you've got the ingredients for a great interactive party. While you can't buy this at your local music store, you can at least check out Disc-o-Slam's Web site. [via networked_performance] Updated: Creator Roman Kirschner writes us from Köln, Germany with the …

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Alesis Keyboards: Want a joystick, 3D air controller, or synth with that?

Keyboards are getting to be a lot of fun, on the cheap. The latest mini-keyboards from Alesis feature X-Y joysticks, audio I/O, and the psuedo-photo-theremin Axys dome (wave your hands in the air above the dome!). That I knew — but I hadn't checked prices to realize how cheap these things are. Alesis appears to have the best 25-key deals. Alesis Photon 25 is a USB/MIDI controller with joystick and 12 knobs; street $130 Alesis Photon X25 has the theremin-style controller dome, 12 360-degree knobs, 10 buttons, full-size pitch and mod wheels (nice ones like the Ion's!), 24-bit balanced stereo …

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Pyrophone: Flaming Sound Organ Powered by Propane

Robotic guitars are cool, but you know what you really want: a propane-powered flame organ. Yes, as it turns out, enormous plumes of fire can produce pitched and unpitched sound. (Hint: it's loud.) This is a digital music site, mind you, so of course I've selected Eric Singer's Pyrophone, which can be MIDI controlled; Max/MSP is the app of choice and was adapted into a musical game of Simon, on a large, pyrotechnic scale. Sure, the instrument isn't exactly "street legal" and I believe the Madagascar Institute (motto: 'fear is never boring') got in a bit of trouble with the …

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[UPDATED] Warped Speak & Spell Sounds: Now in PC, Mac Software Form!

Have fond memories of Speak & Spells? Wish you could completely warp them, then turn them into a musical instrument? Too circuitry-challenged to circuit bend your own, and already got too many weird gadgets in your mobile music bag? (I know you've been buying everything mentioned on this site, so I understand.) Now you can download a Mac, Windows, or Flash version of the Speak & Roil, and play with original Speak & Spell sounds — or their horribly violated warped versions — from the comfort of your iBook. What? You think software is for poseurs? Roil Noise has plenty …

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GuitarBot: Robotic Guitar Instrument

Weird Music Gadget Week Continues! Engadget and the New York Times are chatting about the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots' GuitarBot, so I thought I'd add my take. GuitarBot is perhaps best described in sound as an automated, electrified shamisen; it has a very Japanese sound and shudders and shakes fabulously as it plays. Half guitar, half robot, half psuedo-Japanese instrument — three halves, what's not to love? GuitarBot is MIDI-controlled, so composers who have written for it (like my friend Joshua Fried) have tended to create a MIDI sequence or Max patch to perform. How does something like …

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Elsewhere on the Web: Win Battery 2 from Samplepoolz

Normally I wouldn't pass this sort of information on, but German site Samplepoolz is CDM's favorite site for news and reviews on samples — so why not subscribe to their newsletter for a chance to win Native Instruments' Battery 2.0 drum sampler for your Mac or PC? (Of course, now if you all do, I've made your odds worse, but . . . ah, well.) If you're into sampled content, this is the most comprehensive site I've seen.

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Cult of Mac Book Launch Party; Andrew Andrew, iPod DJs

Last night at APT, a cosy upscale lounge in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, Wired.com threw a bash for Leander Kahney's new book The Cult of Mac, DJed by the mysterious ultra-geeks Andrew Andrew. "We're the laziest DJs in New York," said Andrew (or was it Andrew?) as he turned over the duo's two fully-loaded iPods and cross-fader to the partygoers: take a number, DJ for seven minutes. (Or longer, in the case of an editor of Sync Magazine who couldn't get anyone to tag in.) [ Read more for details and photos; click to enlarge photos ]

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M-Audio Ozonic vs. Novation X-Station: Battle of the Keyboards

There are two new computer keyboards coming out in the next two months, each costing about $600. One I can't wait for. One makes me yawn. Guess which one. In this corner, from America: the FireWire M-Audio Ozonic, announced today. (full specs) Controller: 37 keys, 8 knobs, 9 faders, 14 buttons, pitch & mod wheel, X-Y joystick; software editor and presets; MIDI I/O Audio: 4 in, 4 out; 1 XLR mic in with phantom power, 1 unbalanced in, 2 balanced ins; 4 balanced outs; direct monitoring And in this corner, from the UK: the USB-powered Novation X-Station, 25-keys out now …

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UPDATE! Samchillian, Live in NYC Tonight

Lucky timing on my part! A day after my write-up on him, Leon himself writes us to say he's playing a "rare" gig with the Samchillian keyboard, mentioned yesterday, and a Plugzilla computer effects box. Details: "Plugzilla Sponge" w/Leon Gruenbaum, Samchillian, keys and Yukari, processed flute 8:30-10:30 pm Wednesday, Dec 1, 2004 Theeee Coffee Chamber, 17 bleecker St near bowery Write me if you make it, NYC CDM readers, and maybe I'll meet you there!

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Digital Music Pioneers Converge on NYC, Look to Future

The Electronic Music Foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary by holding a panel on the future of electronic music at New York's Chelsea Art Museum; the guest list reads like a who's who of music. These are the people who literally invented the technologies we now use: Jon Appleton: worked on the team that built the Synclavier Max Matthews: pioneered digital audio technologies at Bell Labs Robert Moog: first commercially successful synthesizer Laurie Spiegel: first software instrument (in 1985!) Morton Subotnik: worked with Buchla on one of the first synths Daniel Teruggi: worked on the SYTER digital synth in the …

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