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A call for emotion in musical inventions, at Berlin hacklab

Moving beyond stale means of framing questions about musical interface or technological invention, we’ve got a serious case of the feels. For this year’s installment of the MusicMakers Hacklab we host with CTM Festival in Berlin, we look to the role of emotion in music and performance. And that means we’re calling on not just coders or engineers, not just musicians, and performers, but psychologists and neuroscientists and more, too. The MusicMakers Hacklab I was lucky enough to found has now been running with multiple hosts and multiple countries, bringing together artists and makers of all stripes to experiment with …

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Bob Moog on being thankful

There’s a beautiful quote attributed to Bob Moog on the Moog site today: “What you do with our instruments helps us to be more human too, and I want to thank you all for that.” Sometimes I actually find this very sentiment is hard to express in words. You get into a lot of abstractions. I hear people trying to explain it. Is it being a musician, or is it teaching music? Is it about the musician, or is it about the machine? Is it the music, or is the theory or the technology? But this line, spoken by a …

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Here’s how to make the iPhone or iPad a live camera for VJing

Having a live video source for visuals can be as valuable as having a microphone in audio. But now you can add iOS devices to the realm of possible input devices. On the Mac, you’ve got several means to do this. Wired: With a recent version of iOS / macOS, just connect your Lightning cable, and you can use the iPhone like any other input. (You’ll need a Mac app that supports AVFoundation.) Wireless: AirBeam is a combination of mobile iPad/iPhone and desktop Mac app. The iOS app is US$3.99, and then apps for Apple TV and Mac are free. …

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Surprise, Final Cut Pro could be the MacBook’s killer feature

Here’s an unexpected twist in the plot: Final Cut Pro, the product that perhaps more than any other earned ire from users for not being “pro,” might be the thing that sells you on the Mac. Why? Final Cut Pro is really, really fast. After all, paper specs don’t matter. It’s really world performance in the software you use that counts. And there, Final Cut Pro is a bit of a champ. Indie tech reporter / filmmaker Jonathan Morrison has a snappy review that gets to the point. Now, first, you’ll read a lot of reviews complaining the MacBook Pro …

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Dasha Rush at Futurum.

Voyage into Dasha Rush’s inspiring ambient sonic worlds

Assemble, cosmonauts: Dasha Rush is an artist whose musical worlds merit repeat visits. She represents the best of what an artist straddling techno and ambient can be – with ambient sets that pulse and live, with timbral and structural freedom rather than resorting to dreary droning grays. So let’s take a break from her better-known techno side and get to experience some of her ambient personality. Now, just in the past months, I’ve watched her hold down the cavernous abandoned Kraftwerk power plant for Tresor’s birthday with a techno set, but also explore imaginative techno on Boiler Room alongside Dino …

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Google explores how machine learning could navigate the history of art

You might have some art history under your belt. Now experimental artists are giving the machines a chance to do the same. It’s called Google Arts & Culture Experiments, and it takes a new angle on machine learning. The concept: let those algorithms find new ways of venturing through the history of art and human culture. This isn’t just about the machines, either. Continuing the Chrome Experiments series, the search giant is enlisting artists and creative coders to try an inventive take on what this might mean. After all, while the machine learning may be for the AI, it’s the …

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Micro-ritmos turns bacteria and machine learning into spatialized sound

In the patterns generated by bacterial cells, Micro-ritmos discovers a new music and light. From the Mexican team of Paloma López, Leslie García, and Emmanuel Anguiano (aka Interspecifics), we get yet another marvel of open source musical interface with biological matter. Micro-ritmos from LessNullVoid on Vimeo. The raw cellular matter itself is Geobacter, an anaerobic bacteria found in sediment. And in a spectacular and unintentional irony, this particular family of bacteria was first discovered in the riverbed of the Potomac in Washington, D.C. You heard that right: if you decided to literally drain the swamp in the nation’s capital, this …

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Music technology needs internationalism, safe expression

I live on the other side of the world from where I grew up, among people of more nationalities than I can count. Here, contributors to the CDM project have spoken Dutch and Czech and Romanian as native languages. I spent the past Sunday morning jamming at an Ableton Loop session with a woman from Tehran – who comes from a country where the music we made was literally illegal. I use technologies in music and motion that sprang from the minds of immigrants, before they were marketed by still more international teams, and then localized and sold to people …

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Watch Myriam Bleau’s beautiful work with glass and discs

The beautiful thing about performance life in the post-digital age is that it opens up what musical practice itself can be. It means an AV artist might draw as much on the tradition of painting or sculpture as on music. It might blur the boundaries in such a way that it’s hard to say which medium you’re looking at at all. SONAR and MUTEK as festivals have grown in their brand to present AV work, but to me they’re at their best in those particular magical moments when you feel as if the performer has invented their own medium. By …

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How expressive input, immersive 3D might make PCs cooler than Macs

“Pro.” “Creative.” They’re words that are repeated so often in computing it’s easy for some people to forget what they mean. By definition, though, if a “professional” is getting paid for their work, investing in more power to get their work done has a return on investment. And being “creative” on a machine means pushing it to the limits of expression. This may be the post-PC era after all, but that ought to mean we get computers that focus ever more on those use cases. Remember Jobs’ infamous quote about trucks? Embedded in his thinking was an answer to what …

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