Apple II Gets a New Drum Machine: DMS Drummer, Now with Video Tutorial-Demo

Who says technology doesn’t last? The Apple II platform will be 35 years old in April, yet it’s still going strong. It even gets a brand-new drum machine software, launched this month, complete with eight wavetable-based drum sounds, and a clever sequencer. The surprise: the whole combination, delivered on a 5 1/4″ floppy disk, can be stunningly usable, as in something you’d actually want to make music with. Not bad for a computer you can typically pick up for a few bills at a flea market. (Emulators can also run the software, so you don’t even need hardware. Of course, …


Digimancy: A Commodore 64 Spouts Philosophy, Plays Modular Synths

In some cross between a self-aware, intelligent computer a la HAL and an experimental sound artist, the project Digimancy presents a talking, synth-playing Commodore 64. Get through a few minutes of it spouting theory, and somewhere at about 6 minutes, 30 seconds in this video, that Commodore 64 starts to jam with danceable, glitchy sounds. It’s a bizarre laboratory sonic production – white lab coat included – but eventually, this semi-evil computer makes songs. And it’s just the sort of convergence of analog and digital we love, as the C64 chips drive a nice set of boutique, analog gear. Patch …


Make Ableton Sing Like a Tuvan Synth, or Bleep like an NES

Zap! Photo (CC-BY-SA) candescence. Ableton has introduced various features to its flagship Live tool over the years, but one of the simplest ideas – combining instruments and effects into accessible Racks – is also one of its most useful. They make those sound controls immediate and functional, and they can be a great way of delivering sounds. Two cases in point: free downloads that incorporate synthesized vocals and retro Nintendo blips. AfroDJMac keeps his free Live goodies coming with noises constructed on a vintage Nintendo Entertainment System, the 8-bit timbres orchestrated by the sadly impossible-to-get MidiNES MIDI adapter. True to …


Nanoloop Comes to Android, with its Lovely, Minimal Music Idea-Making Interface

I think the first time I really understood handheld music making was when I first tried Nanoloop on Game Boy. While the more-popular LSDJ tracker is powerful, Nanoloop’s interface was unlike anything I’d seen before: aggressively minimal, it embodies in its interface design the feeling of a blank sheet of paper. Adding an idea feels like composition, like genuinely exploring open-ended possibilities and discovering what melodies may result. Now, Nanoloop – already on iOS – is available for Android, too. It remains simple stuff, the sense of what a music maker looks like when designed for your hand rather than …


Hack by Day, Afrotronic Future Funk By Night: Handmade Music NYC Sat 4/2, Listening and More Free Now

If you’re in the NYC area, we hope you’ll mark your calendar; if not, we have some free listening for you to explore below. Hacking and inventing, creative musicians are making and modifying the tools of their performance to express the music they imagine, with stunning variety of results. And so it is that once a month (erm, more or less), we get together in Manhattan to celebrate music makers at a little thing we call Handmade Music. This month, experimental sound systems and Afrotronic future funk with new electronic instruments inspired by west African tradition join the lineup. 1-6 …


Grids, Chips, and Blips: Handmade Music NYC, Saturday 2/5 Lab + Party, Video Samples + Listening

Galapagoose plays a Brooklyn rooftop at the monome community tour in the fall. Now he’s back to celebrate the release of new software, and meets up with artists from across the digital music-making spectrum. Handmade Music is back on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with an epic lineup spanning digital synths to monomes to interactive installations to chip music. It’s a bit like stepping into the music tech world described on the Web. (For the vast majority of you outside NYC, hoping to have good documentation of recent events edited and available shortly.) We’re moving to Saturday night and …


New Year, New Handmade Music: Call for NYC, Austin/SxSW, the World

Pete Edwards of casperelectronics making some noise at Manhattan’s Culturefix in October. Handmade Music is our party for people who make things that make music. If you create your own musical tools – whether acoustic instruments and soundmakers, hacks, circuit bends, custom Pd and Max patches, electronics, or code – we want to hear from you. We’re looking for contributors in NYC, Texas, and around the world: Live acts and projects in New York Street team volunteers in NYC and to help organize and promote events in other parts of the planet Live acts and projects for a special South …


NYC Sunday: MeeBlip, Mortal Kombat-Playing Guitars, Chips, Checkers, and Glockenspiel

Sunday night in Manhattan, the MeeBlip makes its public debut. If you want to check one out in person, ask any questions, etc., come check it out. (I’ll also have my battery-powered rig: one Vox amp on batteries, one MintyBoost battery pack for MeeBlip, one Rock Band 3 keytar.) And that’s just the beginning – we’ve got a huge lineup of stuff for this week’s Handmade Music. Sunday, November 14th FREE OPEN LABORATORY: 4pm – 7pm PARTY + MUSIC: 7p – 10pm Culturefix, LES (Map) Handmade Music is part party, part science fair. Come meet people who make things that …


Meet Meeblip, The Open Source, Hackable Digital Hardware Synth

Making music, making blips and bleeps, turning knobs, plugging in keyboards, and having the freedom to modify your gear – these are good things. And that’s why I’m so excited that today is the day the MeeBlip launches. It’s been several years in development, but now it’s finally here. It’s a hardware box that makes noises – virtual analog synth noises, chip-sounding noises, good noises, bad noises, noises you can make into music. It’s got physical knobs and switches on it, plus a MIDI DIN in port so you can connect that keytar you bought on eBay. It’s also a …


Handmade Music, From 3D to Wires, on October 10 in NYC, Austin, or Your Workbench

Handcrafted CD covers for records and mixes, meditative music made in game engines, handheld chip music creations, analog light synths and drone labs, VL-Tone classical music, and more surprises are coming to New York on Sunday, October 10. (Austin, Texas gets its own event, making noisemakers and ring modulators.) We promise music you can dance to, music you can’t, and tapas (at least in NYC). And on October 10, a little secret will finally be revealed to Manhattan and the world. If you’re a citizen of The Internet, we’ve got lots of sounds and creations to explore here on The …