Morphing Abstractions to New Thom Yorke Superband, Tarik Barri’s Poetry of Flatness

When Thom Yorke starts a new superband – and adds the Chili Peppers’ Flea, Radiohead producer and multi-instrumentalist Nigel Godrich, and percussion from both Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.) and Brazillian virtuoso Mauro Refosco (Chili Peppers, David Byrne) – you can bet people will pay attention to the music. Spoiler alert: the first single has the musical fingerprints of Yorke and Godrich all over it, of course. The album debuts February 25. But there’s also reason to pay attention to the visuals. Dutch-born, Berlin-based audiovisual programmer Tarik Barri got Thom’s call to add visuals to the catchy-but-chilly “Judge Jury and Executioner.” …


Awesome Universe of Creative Coding, Explained in Five Minutes [Video]

“What’s creative coding?” At last, we have a five-minute video that, in rapid-cut wonder, explains the answer to lay people – and can be a serious dose of inspirational adrenaline to people doing it. (If designers and artists had locker rooms, watching this before tackling that next Processing tutorial might be in order.) Cover the big three of open-source, free-software toolkits for artists – Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Cinder – and showing everything you can do with them (from big-screen video walls to generative fashion), the video has nearly all the bases covered. In fact, the only thing missing is you: …


Move Over, Kinect: Early Gestural Musical Demos for Leap Motion Look Terrific

Microsoft’s Kinect has proven a compelling proof of concept for gestural control of music. But it could be just the beginning of mass-market gestural sensing technologies. The Leap Motion, like Kinect, promises to be affordable gear. Unlike the Kinect, the hardware is even more unobtrusive, and gestural control is more precise and responsive. Given the latency limitations of Kinect, that’s a huge deal for music. And better expression could inspire new musical ideas. We’ve spoken many times before about the limitations of touchless control – Theremins are spectacular but not the easiest instruments to play, and waving your hands in …

Not available in stores: the custom touchscreen solution, running an original sampler, that turns Hans Zimmer's musical ideas into reality. Mark Werry is the person who made it all possible.

Interview: Mark Wherry, Man Behind Hollywood’s Digital Musical Instruments, Hans Zimmer Collaborator

Computer innovator Alan Kay famously said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Mark Wherry is doing as good a job as anyone of inventing that technology. Powering scores from the latest Batman films to Inception, working closely with Hollywood’s leading meastro Hans Zimmer, the work Wherry is doing really does invent instruments in order to invent sounds. New samplers, new touchscreens, new rigs all have to come together just to keep up with the feverish sound design demands of film and game titles. And with sophisticated surround delivery, at a time when studio veterans complain …


Sneak-Thief’s Sneaquencer is a DIY Monster, Dream Hardware for Performance [Open Source Music]

You can dream of something, you can complain about it on forums, or you can do it. Sneak-Thief, aka Michel Morin, is a doer. And what’s great about him is that he doesn’t just produce geeky, obsessive hardware – he has the musical chops to match. He can wrangle his own hardware, coding in C, but he can also make people dance. Designing hardware isn’t just an exercise in doing something because he can – it’s part of his musical expression, the line between his ideas and reality. Talking to Michel about what he’s done, he really focuses on his …


Control in Mid-Air: Oblong Industries and G-Speak, Gone Gestural [Cinder]

Oblong g-speak from Oblong Industries on Vimeo. Los Angeles-based Oblong are doing some wonderful work with gestural interface design and their own homebrewed tech. I review a bit of what this means for the challenging area of building an entire music app today on Create Digital Music. (I feel if stories aren’t regularly overlapping on the two sites, I’m probably not doing my job.) But it’s worth watching the full videos for graphical evidence of the potential here. The team is working with free creative coding environment Cinder and IR sensing. Oblong Labs from Oblong Industries on Vimeo.


Minority Report Meets GarageBand: Airborne Beats is Hand-Controlled Music Making

From the Lab: Airborne Beats from Oblong Industries on Vimeo. With hand gestures recalling those that first reached the mainstream in Minority Report, “Airborne Beats” lets you make music just by gesturing with your hands and fingers in mid-air. You can drag around audio samples, and make gestures for control, controlling both production and performance. Coming from the labs at Oblong, it’s the latest etude in a long series of these kind of interfaces (see below). They in turn point out this could work with any time-based interface. And because of the nature of the interface, it also makes those …

Dan Deacon, in action - and judging by that array of gear oddities, one of us. Photo (CC-BY) Joshua Rothhaas.

Dan Deacon Makes Phones Into Instruments and a Live Light Show [iOS, Android, Dev Interview]

Cigarette lighters in the air may have given way to smartphones – but it’s hardly fitting at a concert to watch everyone checking their SMS inbox. In a new twist, Dan Deacon concerts use all that computational power in people’s pockets to make these devices part of the show, refocusing fans on the music. The work of Wham City Apps and developer Keith Lea, the Dan Deacon app synchronizes sound and light to make a sea of phones into objects of wonderment rather than business machines or Facebook hubs. Away from the show, the app doubles as a musical instrument. …


Touching Beams of Light: An Otherworldly Laser Interaction Prototype

Laser interaction prototype from jayson on Vimeo. Interaction design isn’t just input. Output can transform a simple demo into something that seems to bend reality. Melbourne-based artist Jayson Haebich sends over a laser interaction prototype he’s creating. The results seem like science fiction, as though he’s opening jump gates with his fingers. It’s almost exclusively for aesthetic effect, but that sense of light, sound, and space coming together and then being gently pulled apart is more than enough. Technical details: The software used to control the laser was created using OpenFrameworks and C++ by Jayson Haebich and uses an Xbox …


Cinder, Smarter with Shapes and Timelines and Samples, Could Make Flash Jealous [Creative Coding]

A Golden Clock from Red Paper Heart on Vimeo. The Company, Bring To Light NYC from Andrea Cuius on Vimeo. Creative coding has blossomed into a full-fledged movement for getting expressive with screens, sound, and media. While much software remains a commercial, proprietary activity, these tools have demonstrated what a collective, free model can do. For the most part, those tools complement non-free tools. But just as Processing and OpenFrameworks have matured, Cinder is now at a point where it boasts features that could attract even seasoned users of old standby Flash. Under the unassuming name “0.8.4,” a big release …