cloudpiano2

A piano, played by clouds and sky

We can reinvent the instruments we already have; we can try to steer a pathway to something new. Or we can sometimes imagine a known instrument in a new context. This new short film covers a robotic piano that’s got an unusual angle. Using image analysis, those mechanical fingers transpose patterns of cloud and sky onto the keys. This poetic take on cloud gazing comes from media artist David Bowen. It’s a nice take, I think, on sonification, in that it isn’t just about a stream of data that’s abstracted from its source. It’s really as though the drifting clouds …

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Minitaur, (CC-BY) Audiotecna Música.

Get a pile of free one-shots of vintage instruments for Ableton Live

Get a gift that keeps on giving: a massive trove of one-shot samples of classic instruments that begs you to make your own sounds. That’s the latest freebie packaged for Ableton Live (though you could also snag the samples for other tools, too). And, wow, here are some beloved instruments: Prophet 12, Prophet 08, Minitaur, SubPhatty, SH101, MS20m, Bass Station II, Custom SEM/Doepfer modular, VL-Tone (drums), Mattel Synsonics (drums) I’ve made no secret of being a fan of Francis Preve’s sound design prowess, honed in years of work for companies like Roland and Ableton. His latest FM pack was a …

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ni_komplete_kinetic_treats_electric_train2

NI just gave away a bunch of morphing toy sounds from your childhood

Mighty morphin’ nostalgia rangers. That Fisher-Price “Pull-a-Tune” xylophone. The plastic turntable Fisher-Price musicbox. L.G.B. and Lionel locomotives. A tin robot. Even if these don’t bring up memories of your own childhood playtime or your family’s playthings or (uh, depending on age) a visit to the local toy museum, they’re full of charming, magical sounds. And in a free sample library from our Berlin neighbors at Native Instruments, you can mess around with them in a morphing 3D interface. It’s just what you need to produce some ghastly, gothic, creepy horror soundtrack to scare the living f– Oh, wait. Sorry. Holiday …

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erika_live

This extended techno mix will get you through any Wednesday

I hear from the Internets that there are some “top 1000 DJ lists” chosen by surveys or something. Suffice to say, I’m tired of letting people vote for things in 2016. So let’s talk about Erika. Do you need a DJ, playing some heavy, long techno set? Do you need an ambient/experimental something-or-other? Do you need it live? Do you need a combination of an Erika with BMG, for Ectomorph, also one of the best live acts out there? In this event, accept no substitutes. So, for anyone who’s been depressed lately about “fashionable” techno and expensive coordinated t-shirts and …

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ni_maschine_ableton-link_02

Maschine adds Ableton Link, for jams with DJ, production software

For some time, Maschine has topped the list of “things we wish had Ableton Link support.” Well, wish granted. And now that means easy jamming with DJ tools and production tools, on desktop or on iPad. Maschine now adds Ableton Link for seamlessly sync and live jamming over wires and wireless with a whole bunch of stuff. That includes Ableton Live, of course, but also Serato DJ, Max/MSP, Pure Data, and a whole mess of iOS apps. Instead of having to bother with MIDI sync, you just switch on Link and everything syncs – with any tool or any user …

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circuit

A bit of what you should know about event power and electrical safety

Ted Pallas contacted us and wanted to create a short primer on power, in response to the terrible fire at Ghost Ship in Oakland, CA. Any fire anywhere is a reminder that knowledge of electricity, how it works and how it impacts safety, is essential to any of us organizing or playing electronic music live. This won’t provide everything you need to know, by a longshot, but it’s a good step toward knowing a bit more, and I hope we continue taking those steps together in future. The rub of electronic music and visual media is that both performance and …

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maschinejam_bitwig_big

Ableton or FL Studio or Bitwig, Maschine Jam integrates with everything

First, there was software – and mapping it manually to controllers. Then, there was integrated hardware made for specific software – but you practically needed a different device for each tool. Maschine Jam is a third wave: it’s deeply integrated with software workflows, but it can swap from one tool to another without having to change how you work.

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rolandmeeblip

We added MeeBlip to TB-03 and TR-09 for really too much bass

You can now really have a ridiculous amount of fun playing live without a ridiculous amount of gear. That’s certainly the sense I get with Roland’s Boutique series, among other recent entries. In just a fraction of the size of the original AIRA, you can add a synth, a bassline, or a drum machine. And it’s not just Roland. In the under-$500 category, there’s loads of desktop gear from Korg, Waldorf, MFB, Novation, and Arturia, plus even compact modular/semi-modulars like the Make Noise O-Coast and Moog Mother-32. It’s all affordable, and all really easy to port around. What I like …

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domino-in-case

Eowave made a complete synth voice for Eurorack module

The brief: take up a nice little slot in Eurorack, pack a whole synth voice, but still provide enough patching to stay interesting. That’s the new Domino Eurorack module from the folks at Eowave. So, you get a saw/square oscillator, ladder-style filter, decay envelope, and VCA. It’s vanilla stuff, but well executed. And most importantly, they’ve nicely balanced the controls and patch points, so you have something that’s accessible and versatile. Frankly, I think it solves a lot of problems for people. Rather than piece together everything you need one module at a time, this gives you the sorts of …

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zone-concept

In-depth: Cubase 9 adds integrated Sampler Tracks, lots more

Cubase 9 is here, and Steinberg are touting improved stability and performance, and lots of user-requested features. That includes new goodies like a built-in Sample Track for manipulating audio, plus history in the mixer. At last, all the Cubase releases are synced – Elements, Artist, and Pro all hit Cubase 9 at once. (Steinberg says it’s the first time that’s happened.) But this is also intended to be a clean break. 32-bit plug-in support is out – 64-bit only. There’s also meant to be improved compatibility as a result, and a scanner tool will hunt out plug-ins you’ve got that …

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