unrender 2: Visuals as Live Medium, in Installations and Performances, in Berlin [CDM presents]

Electronic and digital visuals are expanding in their expressive potential, as live and real-time instruments, performances, and interactive installations. But the venues and contexts for that work remain understood in terms of narrow, older categories: the gallery and video art, the club and “VJing” – and now, increasingly, via commercial patrons (search engines, trade shows). What happens when clubland and art-land, the design world and the music scene can encounter one another in open spaces? unrender is one humble way we get to try to answer that. Hosted and co-curated as a collaboration of CDM with Lehrter Siebzehn, we work …

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reaktoruserlibrary

Make Anything: Reaktor User Library Updated; This Week Get Reaktor for $99

It’s time for some Reaktor love. Native Instruments’ Reaktor may not get the attention of tools like Traktor or Maschine. But the software is part of the company’s DNA, still used to prototype devices (like the new drum synths for Maschine), and able to create a vast array of instruments and effects for those willing to plumb its depths. And even if you aren’t ready to tackle Maschine patching yourself, the User Library for Reaktor is one of creative sound’s greatest gems. That Web resource was, unfortunately, looking more than a little long in the tooth, though, for all the …

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mmhl01

MusicMakers Hacklab: Next Stop, Tijuana; Attend or Just Listen

From Germany to Mexico – the next location to host a collaborative laboratory of musical invention will be in Tijuana. One of the participants in our MusicMakers Hacklab in Berlin at CTM Festival has decided to take that inspiration with her, and mount her own event in northern Mexico. You can join, too, if you live in Tijuana or can get yourself there. What’s compelling to me is that the mission will blend some of the oldest, most retro tech with new applications and new ideas – see description below. If you can’t get to Mexico, though, we can finish …

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Plaid’s Tether is an Interactive Web Song You Can Remix – Music, or Code

Now that your Web browser can do what music creation software can do, presenting a song can be more than just giving people a play button. And allowing people to “remix” your music might mean sounds and software alike. First, there was Jono Brandel’s terrific Patatap with Lullatone. Press keys on your keyboard, and a warm, Lullatone-inspired sample machine delights with brightly-colored abstract objects and sounds, a sort of custom browser beat box. Patatap went viral, perhaps because it brought musical wonder to the carousel of distracting tabs on the Web. Now, Jono Brandel (of the Google Creative Lab, with …

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Apply This Weekend to Hack Music Creation in Stockholm for 24 Hours, Free

MIDI: it’s not just a protocol. It’s a state of mind. It’s the interconnectedness of all things musical. Or, at least, it is at MIDI HACK next month in Stockholm. A 24-hour hackathon will delve deep into musical creation. It’s not just mucking about with code, either: there will be performances and talks, artists and makers, all to feed your ideas. And whereas past hack days have often focused on Web programmers and music consumption (music what?), this is different. If you’re a singer, or you want to rip a MIDI controller into shreds, or wire up a banana, this …

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Watch Flappy Bird Make Ambient Music, Billiard Balls Bounce, in Lemur Hacks

If Brian Eno were scoring the dreams of a gaming addiction, it might go something like this. Yes, we already told you previously that Lemur 5 adding a canvas object would mean anything could be a controller. It makes the iPad controller app as much a blank, well, canvas, as your Web browser window, more or less. But with relatively scant documentation, Lemur 5 assumed a lot of its users. I mean, it seems like you’d almost need some ingenious coder/hacker to turn this into something completely ridiculous, right? Okay, that didn’t take long. Someone going by the name “saveas909” …

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unrender: Celebrating Visual Expression as Something Live; Online and in Berlin Friday

There’s not a word yet for visuals as event. We know it when we see it. And we know it in other media. With music, there’s no question when something becomes performative, when the human element is something you can’t subtract. But in electronic visuals, in light and image, the awareness of what is emerging in the medium seems latent. The narrow view of VJing and club visuals is dated. And disconnecting those media from generative and interactive work misses an explosive and dynamic new craft. Whether it’s clever work with optical analog and overhead projectors, or a delicately-constructed piece …

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52 Tracks in 52 Weeks: Starting 2014 for Producers

You say you want a resolution? Calendar years may be largely arbitrary deadlines, but arbitrary deadlines can be a boon to creativity. Online community Weekly Beats is again launching a project for producers that invites them to upload new music tracks every week for the year. By the end of 2014, it means each artist may have released as many as 52 tracks, ranging between about one and fifteen minutes. The weekly goal seems a nice one, too: daily goals are fairly punishing, but doing one a week is enough to keep up some consistency. If you want to join …

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Happy New Year; Nominees for Stories Everyone Missed?

Happy New Year, everyone. We’re taking the day off, but while we’re putting together a year-end review of musical technology and invention, any nominees for stories that fell under the radar, that people might have missed? DIY projects, unique tools, or anything of the sort welcome; we do appreciate your ideas, as always. Let us know in comments, and we’ll pick out some of our favorites. Have a lovely evening – Happy rockin’ New Year’s, and to Germany, Guten Rutsch!

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A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile

Whether you’re building an experimental effect or performance tool or writing the Next Big Thing in Mobile Apps, you might need some signal compression. Working in Pure Data (Pd), it’s easy to create patches that get unruly, especially once you add live audio input. For mobile developers, things get even worse: you have to make your app work anywhere, with a range of devices, acoustic environments, microphones — the list goes on. The folks at Two Big Ears, who are working on their own rather lovely Android synth, have come to the rescue of Pd hobbyists and mobile developers alike. …

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