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Watch a talk explain perfectly why humans make music with technology

Why do you make music? You make music because you feel something – and you found it because you felt something. And what’s the point of music technology? It’s to put us in that space, to give us access to those feelings, and then to translate them to others. That’s the message in a TEDx video from Perth, Australia, by stellar electronic one-human performer Claudio. And she puts it perfectly, in a way that perhaps people who love music but haven’t become full-time musicians can fully understand. So she walks through her performance rig – if you’re reading this site, …

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Robin Fox talks epic AV performances and rare synthesizer archives

There’s barely a performance medium that Robin Fox hasn’t touched, not a form with which he hasn’t moved us. From laser AV spectacles to exhibitions to work with contemporary dance (including the wonderful Chunky Move), this Australian artist is the kind of multi-faceted mind we adore. And so we sent Anahit Mantarlian for a marathon interview, so we can all geek out accordingly. -Ed. Audiovisual experimentalist Robin Fox has been busy. In 2016, the Australian composer and laser charmer toured Europe, presented his latest show RGB to Atonal Festival, performed at the inaugural MUTEK.JP Tokyo, and opened an organization (alongside …

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Concubine, the free album you need, has an app-made video to match

Can you think, dance, and dream at the same time? We get to debut a new video for Concubine, and it’s the perfect time to look at what this duo has accomplished in 2015. Concubine, the project from Noah Pred and Rick Bull, is never cold, but it’s always expressing several sentiments simultaneously. It’s at once hypnotic and cerebral, visceral and abstract. Smartly-calibrated percussion politely swings atop future-prog funk flights of fancy. It’ll get a little cheeky, but within a song framework that’s been obsessively constructed. And the album itself is put together similarly. Driving dance tracks are effortless interspersed …

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Don Buchla Takes Owners of His Former Synth Company to Court

Several major figures in synthesizer history have lost control of their names over the years. Robert Moog sued in 1998 to get his name back on synths; that court battle, with Don Martin, was won in 2002 and allowed the modern Moog Music to supplant the former Big Briar. While Dave Smith never lost access to his personal name, he gave up his original brand name Sequential. Yamaha voluntarily surrendered the Sequential badge earlier this year. But a new legal battle between Don Buchla and the current Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments is unprecedented on a number of levels. First, Buchla …

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Learn VDMX in Your Skivvies: Online Tutorial on Powerful OS X VJ Tool

There’s nothing like the comfort of your own home. The comfy feel of underwear instead of annoying … clothes. The absence of … other people in the same room. Yes, if you’ve ever dreamt of learning the lovely semi-modular, powerful VJ tool VDMX, now you don’t need to wait until experts in the tool come to your part of the world. You don’t even need clothes. (Though, maybe you’re chilly. You can totally wear clothes, too.) Vidvox’s own David Lublin will be presenting a workshop for video artists ready to get deep into VDMX. You can hear from this core …

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UMIDI are Custom-Designed DJ Controllers, Built to Order [Gallery, Video]

umidi – The World’s First Custom & Visual DJ Controller from umidi on Vimeo. DJs, laptop musicians, and VJs may never agree on what layout is optimal for controlling their apps. With UMIDI, they might not have to. The Kickstarter-funded project has an ambitious goal: building whatever control you want, to order. Use a graphical Web interface to select a layout, and the producer will custom-machine a case out of aluminum, etching it with your own design, and adding the controls you want. The resulting hardware is USB class-compliant and works with any software, they say, and weighs under 3 …

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Motion Improv: How Visuals for Audego Album Were Made with Quartz Composer

Audego Motion Graphics Medley from jeanpoole on Vimeo. Arrange, arrange … render. Wait. Wait. Given that you can jam along with music live, why not do the same with visuals? Quartz Composer’s real-time workflows still appeal for that reason. Australia’s Sean Healy, aka Jean Poole, writes to share how he worked with QC and a variety of other tools to make the process of adding visual accompaniment to music faster and more intuitive. “It’s great for prototyping ideas and developing them quickly,” he says of Quartz Composer, “and these can be recorded in realtime too (with Syphon Recorder).” Yes, that …

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From Light, Lasers, and Smoke, Solid-Looking Sculptures in the Air [OpenFrameworks]

Call it laser mapping. Melbourne-based artist Jayson Haebich has rendered in thin air, literally, architectural forms in color. He uses custom software to map lasers through particles to produce an ephemeral sculpture of air. The results are gorgeous – frozen digital motion. From his description: These are a series of static light sculptures that have been created using laser light, smoke, shadows, physical shapes and custom built software to create complex compositions of shadow and light that play with the sense of depth and perception. These pieces challenge the observers idea of perspective and ask them to consider what components …

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Giant Steps for Step Sequencing: Two Free Ableton Sequencers, with a Twist

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of physical control of a step sequencer for immediate, musical results. But you’d be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much more you can do with the concept. Think again. New step sequencers demonstrate how to get more with less, using clever tricks to maximize the musical variations you can get with just a few pads. They’re each free, and they’re each from Ableton Live, coming to us from our friends Sebastian Tomczak aka little-scale, the obscenely-prolific musical inventor in Australia, and Matt Black (UK, of Ninja Tune / Coldcut fame) working with Ableton guru …

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Pinball Pianola: Pinball Game Meets a Piano in a Wild Constructed Instrument

Pinball Pianola from Lucas Abela on Vimeo. The mechanical and kinetic collide – literally – with the sonic, in a devilishly-inventive hybrid instrument that cross-breeds a pinball table with a piano. Australian artist Lucas Abela is joining us next month as part of CTM Festival: The Golden Age. In the meantime, he shares this work. I’ve devised a Frankenstein experiment, combining the greatest musical invention of all time, the Piano; with the coolest amusement machines ever conceived; Pinball, to create an interactive sound installation like no other; ‘Pinball Pianola’, a musical device constructed by replacing the keyboard, hammers and front …

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