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 …

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The Music of 2071, As Imagined in 1964: Fischinger Lumigraph to Lumichord

Finishing research for a talk at Genève’s Mapping Festival, I came across this gem from comments on Create Digital Motion. It’s the innovative Lumigraph, an interactive light experiment by visionary film and animation pioneer Oskar Fischinger. The sci-fi film looked ahead to what the music of 2071 might be like, in 1964’s The Time Travelers. To their credit, goofy love lounge aside, the reuse of Fischinger’s abstract light project isn’t far off from music in 2013. (And, hey, whatever puts you in the mood.) Fischinger, for his part, almost certainly wasn’t thrilled with the use of his creation in this …

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Lightbender, an Audiovisual Color Organ Orb, and Other Painterly-Color Interface Resources

Blast from the past: this color organ is from 2007. But it’s a beautiful demonstration of light and sound, fused into a single interface, and thus worth mentioning as I pull together notes for a talk at Mapping Festival tomorrow here in Genève. Compare the 60s-vintage Lumigraph of Oskar Fischinger, which I write about today on Create Digital Music. In gooey pinks and purples, traced with imaginary sparks, the game controller-manipulated system resembles looking into the heart of a great jellyfish made of plasma. Lightbender v2 – audiovisual instrument from Sixth Sensor on Vimeo. From the notes, as well, are …

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Mapping, Further: At Mapping Festival, Artists Blend Musical and Visual Form [Video Round-up]

Mapping: it’s kind of everything. It’s the projected image mapped to the surface. It’s pixels mapped to lights. It’s the control layout you use on your iPad and your fader box mapped to parameters in visual output. It’s the translation of music to lights. It’s the range of color on the filter. You’re constantly mapping one thing to another. And of course, the community of people who read this site are generally somehow undertaking the difficult task of mapping across media, as you map visual performance to music. So, it’s fitting that “mapping” at Mapping Festival is about more than …

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Weekend Listening: Sounds from the Mindpirates Silo, And DIY Music Scene’s Underground Nooks

Off the commercial radar, playing often for the joy of it, the bedroom producers and music DIYers are now making their noises live and in person. Secluded in “home studios” no more, production is real-time, in the basements and abandoned spaces at the corners of the music scene. And yes, Happy Record Store Day – but that’s even more reason to cap off an afternoon of record shopping with an evening of live music, wherever you are. And we can offer some sounds direct from artists to discover here. Our friends at Mindpirates can help. We visited the archaic concrete …

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Fractals, Bots, Nodes, and Patternists: Onyx Ashanti’s Cyborg Music Meets the Ensemble [Guest Post]

Get ready: from one more-than-human musical cyborg, a robotic horde of beatjazz artists. Onyx Ashanti isn’t satisfied just augmenting his own body and musical expression with 3D-printed, sensor-laden prostheses. He’s extending that solo performance with bots that crawl around and gesture for feedback, then – inspired by the organic beauty of fractal geometry – is binding together performers with his system in a networked system of nodes. Just don’t call it a jam session. Call them patternists. If this sounds crazy, it is: crazy in just the way we like. But amidst this hyper-futuristic vision of performance, Onyx also writes …

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Loss for Words: Noah Pred’s Stuttering Vocal Beats, in Video, Release of the Day

From a completely different musical pole, it’s nice to follow up Jelena Glazova’s thoughts about vocals, poetry, and Dada with a dance track, Noah Pred’s “Loss for Words.” Transplanted from Toronto to Berlin, Thoughtless Music’s Noah Pred has helmed one of the smarter dance labels out there, channeling energies to and from the German capital and Canadian scene (Noah himself is American-born). Now, he’s back with a solo release I’ve been eagerly anticipating, having taken a side trip to Get Physical for the False Image project with Tom Clark. Tim Xavier and Hrdvsion join, two other friends to watch, join. …

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Magic Cube: 20 Bicycles Make Generative, Architecture-Sized Graphics and Sound

Bet your Spinning class was never like this. In an architectural installation in Lyon, France, sound and light – and a whole lot of tech – come together with 20 bicycle riders, as the cycles appear to generate streams of data that feed the generative, abstract results. The Magic Cube @Lyon2012 from pixelux on Vimeo. The cyclists can’t really generate this much power – there’s just not enough energy and efficiency in this system for that – but, via sensors, their pedaling can impact the pattern. Presented at Fête des Lumières at the end of last year in Lyon, this …

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Sound from Silos: Live Experimental Audiovisuals Rumble a Man-made Cave [Watch, Listen]

Electronic music, once the exclusive domain of secluded art laboratories, has now made the connection to clubs inseparable. The rhythms of dance music draw a line from popular to research; the software and gear marketed for dance musicians cross-pollinating with more experimental tools, as music styles, textures, and timbres mix, as well. But now, finding a way out of that club context and its restrictions may be as vital as the emergence from the lab years ago. Making connections between Argentina and Germany, across an international collective of audiovisual artists, FxLD’s latest project invades a disused grain silo in Berlin. …

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A Delicate Web in White Lasers: Robert Henke’s ‘Fragile Territories’

Mastery of technology need not be an end in itself, a showcase for mechanical sophistication. It can mean finding the point at which you push a medium to be its most expressive. And I suppose that’s why so many can admire the ongoing work of musician and media artist Robert Henke. The lasers in ‘Fragile Territories’ are not the crude, awkward beams you probably know from kitschy planetarium shows. Instead, they form a spidery lace so exquisite, you could imagine them as being part of something crackling with organic life – or the workings of a fanciful undersea electro-luminescent metropolis. …

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