Play a Russian Folk Instrument with Your Mind, Or Turn Seashell Patterns, Likes Into Generative Art

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” demo performance from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Musical instruments: make a move, get a sound. Or, musical instruments: apply an algorithm, get a sound. Read the tattoos on your arm as a score, turn the black-and-white patterning of a seashell into generated audiovisual artwork, apply brainwaves to a folk instrument and let a robot play it… Such are the mental excursions of one ::vtol::, aka Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov. He’s been busy over the past year or so, wearing robots that interface with tattoos to make music and constructing surround sound umbrellas. And we still have more crazy-science goodness to …


Roger Linn’s Linnstrument Could Finally Make Grids Expressive for Music [Hands On]

Roger Linn is largely to blame for the fact that so many instruments have grids of pads on them. He was the first to use custom touch-sensitive drum pads on drum machines as we now know them, and the rectangular arrays of pads – first on the Linn9000, but particularly on Akai’s break-out hit, the 4×4 MPC60 – became an iconic and popular interface. But now, he has a design that might change the way you think about grids. The problem is, input methods for digital instruments are still famously limited. Our computers themselves can produce astounding ranges of sound, …


How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …


Rhythm, Recoded in Plug-ins, Ableton Live: A Conversation with WaveDNA

Music software is at its best when it goes beyond cookie-cutter regularity, and spawns something creative. And sometimes, the path there involves retooling how that music is made. That’s why I’m pleased to get to share this interview with WaveDNA. Liquid Rhythm is something unlike just about anything else in music software. It looks like a music theory class collided with a mandala. In colored patterns, arrayed in bars and wheels, you can produce all kinds of new rhythms, then integrate deeply with your host software. If you use Ableton Live, the integration goes further still. Whether you’re using Drum …


Watch Flappy Bird Make Ambient Music, Billiard Balls Bounce, in Lemur Hacks

If Brian Eno were scoring the dreams of a gaming addiction, it might go something like this. Yes, we already told you previously that Lemur 5 adding a canvas object would mean anything could be a controller. It makes the iPad controller app as much a blank, well, canvas, as your Web browser window, more or less. But with relatively scant documentation, Lemur 5 assumed a lot of its users. I mean, it seems like you’d almost need some ingenious coder/hacker to turn this into something completely ridiculous, right? Okay, that didn’t take long. Someone going by the name “saveas909” …


Let your iPad Look Like Anything, Sequence Anything, with Lemur 5

Even before the world had seen the iPad, the promise of Lemur was a touchable interface that could become anything – a Star Trek-like world in which you could touch fluid controls directly to make live music and visuals. The reality, though, was more limited. Users were limited to a library of widgets. That included useful controls, like knobs, faders, and even more far-out physics-enabled X/Y pads, buct widgets, nonetheless. A major update to Lemur this week blows that wide open, in two ways. First, it overhauls how sequencing works, with both tighter timing and new objects, ideal for use …


Reactable Mobile, on Sale This Weekend for iOS and Android; Watch the Full Table Meet OP-1

Reactable, now turning age five, still remains something that can take people’s breath away. Making the relationship of musical components into actual building blocks, it demystifies music making and makes it more magical all at the same time. And since the table itself is big, not-portable, and pricey, there’s also the iOS- and Android-compatible tablet edition. (The Android app is one of the few that gives my vintage Galaxy Tab something useful to do.) This weekend, you can grab Reactable Mobile yourself 50% off: 50% Off Fifth Anniversary But this is also a perfect opportunity to watch a tantalizing video …


A Naked Man Plays Robots and Finds Love; A Quadriplegic Finds a Voice in Music

Man & Machine: A Naked Robotic Love Story from Jesse Roesler on Vimeo. Making music with machines, we all become somehow more than human. We are people, augmented by technology. Those technologies strip us bare, expose us as naked emotionally … sometimes, literally. Through the eyes of one filmmaker, here are two parallel images that drive that point home. Last week at Berlin’s CTM Festival, we began a week-long hacklab by touring the Generation Z exhibition with curator Andrey Smirnov. One thing Andrey repeatedly emphasizes about the revolutionary Russian artists who came together in the 1920s is their belief in …


Resy’s Unique Sound Tools: Morphing Triangle Software, Hardware in a Can

If you’re looking to give yourself sonic inspiration in a new shape, a musical marketplace has some deals for you now. Resy is a recently-launched curated shop for “indie” instruments, both hardware and software. It’s worth mentioning them now because they have a lovely deal through end of day tomorrow Monday the 23rd, and also because these two tools are unique and quirky stories themselves. And Resy has the clever idea of making twee music videos showing off the instruments, rather than the usual dry promos. First up, there’s einKLANG, the morphing software instrument that’s all about the triangle.


Lawnmower Man-Style Audiovisuals, in Kinect Experiment, Plus a New Kinect

Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description: This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift. It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us …