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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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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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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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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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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QWERTY Keyboard Instrument: Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Cheeepeeeee

Samchillian, the oddly-named, circuit-bended (and spray painted) ergonomic QWERTY keyboard that New Yorker Leon Gruenbaum invented is more than a wierd name: it could be a chance for keyboardists to finally cure themselves of guitar envy, AND look nerdy while doing it! Since QWERTY keys are mapped to pitch change, not specific pitches (stay with me, here), simple key patterns can generate wild, screaming solos. One key press can equal 'one pitch higher' in a scale. Suddenly a scale is just a repetition of two keys. Scale too boring? Create a microtonal flurry of notes that sounds like Hendrix and …

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Touchscreen Music Controller Reveals Star Trek-like Future

Weren't those touchpad controllers great on Star Trek? Every control was projected from behind, so controls could change flexibly based on what you were doing, and everything could be manipulated by touch. Guess what? Star Trek-like control has arrived for music. Witness Lemur, a digital touchscreen controller for music and VJ applications. Customize your touchscreen surface using editing software for Windows, Linux, and Mac, then use the Lemur to control OSC-compliant apps like Max/MSP and the free Pd (Pure Data). But you'll never see this experimental French device in the US, right? Au contraire, says JazzMutant's Guillaume Largillier: "We're manufacturing …

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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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Choosing an Audio Interface

I've loved MacInTouch's reader reports since I bought my first Mac in 1996. Today there's a lively discussion going about audio interfaces for mobile recording. It's a natural for the CDM 'fine reading of the week' award. Only problem is: too many interfaces. In fact, you can see why consumers are likely to gravitate to any new Apple audio interface. On the other hand, you'll also see why anyone whose needs are more than entry-level are likely to choose from the rich range of boxes available at every price point, each catering to specific needs. That said, let's assume for …

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Reason 3 Announced: Full Details

Enough of the speculation: Propellerhead today has formally announced Reason 3 and posted full details. Here's what's new, boiled down: Combinator will let you build combination patches of multiple Reason instruments, as I and others had predicted. MClass mastering suite includes EQ, stereo imaging, compressor, and maximizer.  'Performance' features: better control surface support including motorized faders, new browser, new soundbank with Combinator patches and "more sampled instruments" instead of just loops.  6:2 Line Mixer / submixer. Improved automation Improved sample quality, dramatically shorter load times

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