A Game of Checkers Becomes a Step Sequencer, Ableton Live Controller

Checkerboard Step Sequencer V2 from Josh Silverman on Vimeo. Shall we play a game? Have your checkers chops ready, because Josh Silverman’s Checkerboard Step Sequencer, a tangible interface for music, will test both your game mettle and your grooves. Built with the open source coding tool OpenFrameworks and Ableton Live as sound source, the checkerboard fuses computer vision technology and … well, some beats. This video should make obvious the relationship between the position of the checkers pieces and the noises they represent and trigger. It’s still a work in progress, but for now I won’t subject you to the …

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iPhone Beats and Bass, Free This Week, More Fun with Mic Input on iOS

Ah, Mondays. If you’re looking for a way to brighten your work week and you’ve got an iPod touch or iPhone you can drop into your pocket, iOS music and audio developer Pulse Code tells us they’ve made four of its apps free for this week only, through August 8. That includes BtBx [iTunes], a simple and fun drum machine, DB-303, a simulation of the Roland TB-303 bass line synth and a particular favorite of pocket iPhone musicians, as well as a couple of fun toys – a robot tone synth and sound effects maker called Android FX and a …

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Online, Generative Tool Searches for the Perfect Groove; New MicroTonic Coming

The grooves are fun, but the generated names for the groove are even more so. Need a new band name, anyone? Generative: the rhythmic frontier. These are the voyages of the starship MicroTonic. Its online mission: to explore strange new grooves, to seek out new beats and new musical cultures … Yes, Patternarium, by software scientists Magnus and Fredrik Lindström of SonicCharge (Synplant, µTonic, Reason’s Malström), have built a server-based rhythmic generation tool. You, the human, don’t have to do much: reality TV show-style, just vote up or down patterns you hear, and the generative scripts will continue spawning new, …

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Trifonic’s Music, Beat Slicing Technique, Free Bass Patch

Trifonic: Editing Beats – Part 1 from Next Step Audio on Vimeo. No more secrets: that could well sum up the zeitgeist of music making in 2010. So it is that Trifonic, aka virtuoso beatmeister brothers Brian and Laurence Trifon of San Francisco, share their technique for chopping up and glitching out audio. Their new blog, Next Step Audio, is entirely dedicated to sharing their production techniques: http://nextstepaudio.com/ [site slightly erratic response-wise for me at press time] The video tutorial on beat editing, published by Next Step Audio, starts out generically enough: grab the ubiquitous “Amen break” as a sample, …

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You, Too Can Learn Renoise: Video Tutorial from Dac Makes you a Tracker

Seeing a tracker interface for the first time can be intimidating. But dive in a bit deeper, and you’ll discover what’s actually a very efficient interface for programming in musical sequences and working with samples. With just ten days left in the Renoise – Indamixx music production contest, there’s still time to get up and running using even the demo version of Renoise (into which you can import samples). And this could be a great excuse to learn a new tool. Dac, who’s a big part of support and community for Renoise, has put together a nice tutorial showing off …

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Advanced Ableton Live Tutorial: Modular-Style Unlinked Envelopes, Effects

iproducer #4 – Unlink and Conquer + Bonus from Gustavo Bravetti on Vimeo. Exclusive to CDM (and Vimeo), Live guru Gustavo Bravetti offers a deep tutorial in sound creation in Ableton using “unlinked envelopes.” He assembles quasi-modular routings of effects into one another to create some unusual sounds. I think there are some inspiring techniques here, even beyond Ableton Live – I’d watch it even if I weren’t a Live user. Gustavo writes: “This workshop demo video is about using Live’s unique clip unlinked envelopes and Ableton’s effects to easily create elaborated sequenced sounds as well as a “how to” …

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d-touch Tangible Sequencer: Updates to Free Camera+Blocks Drum Machine

Bored with mouse pushing and knob twiddling? The d-touch tangible sequencer / drum machine makes a cheap interface (with free downloadable software) for assembling sequences. Make some (attractive) blocks, set up a webcam, and plug into your computer. I took a first look at this tool last month, and noted its use in sequencing walnuts. (Yes, the ones that fall from trees.) Since then, the developers have been hard at work on updates. Enrico writes: We just released the d-touch sequencer, a new, more advanced, audio application. In the sequencer you can record your own samples in real time. We …

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iPhone Gets New Groove Boxes: Is it Live Synthesis, or is it Canned?

The iPhone has become an almost absurdly-popular platform for music apps this year, even given more capable, more plentiful PCs. But to those who don’t yet “get” the appeal, talk to a mobile music addict: having the ability to be creatively musically in corners of time that would otherwise go unused, like a cramped bus ride, can be a beautiful thing. (Now, you start talking about taking away my PC/Mac experience, and I will start screaming in agony – but that’s a topic for a separate post.) The question is, what form should that app take? Today, I’ve got an …

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ParamDrum: Reaktor-Powered Drum Sequencer an Rx for Drum Variety

ParamDrum TR Edition from Peter Dines on Vimeo. Imagine a machine that lets you walk a thin line between control and chaos. You’ll be tweaking it, for sure – you’ll want to invest a sufficient amount of time shaping its sounds and adjusting its instruments to alter its flightpath. But once set in motion, it will give you variety and delicious insanity. That’s the idea behind Peter Dines’ ParamDrum, a Reaktor drum machine with granular goodies inside providing sample manipulation and a set of clear sequenced controls for adjusting parameters. The “Param” bit refers to the parameters you’ll control – …

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Beat Blender: Actual Osterizer DJs with Real Fruit, Max, Ableton Live

Beat Blender Prototype from Matti Niinimäki on Vimeo. Sure, Wacom may be trying to get into the DJ market, but watch out for Hamilton Beach. This is a real flea market blender controlling Ableton Live beats with the aid of an Arduino and RFID-tagged fruits. Sadly, you can’t actually blend things (that might do nasty things to the RFID tags, and the blender would have to work), but it’s beautiful nonetheless. “One-man collective” Matti Niinimäki has been giving us all kinds of goodness from his secret Finnish “ninja hideout,” working on projects like controlling real-time animation with Mickey Mouse’s head …

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