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A New Online Platform Gives You Expert Music Tech Training, Free

Every feel like you wish you could go back to school? Or… go to a different school? Maybe you want to learn at CalArts, or Princeton, or Stanford, or Goldsmiths. Maybe you wish Robert Henke would sit at your side and teach you about Ableton Live. Or maybe Perry Cook would teach you synthesis. Or Casey Reas would talk to you about creative coding and Processing. Digital learning gives us some of those chances – without running into campus security, that is. And so we’ve seen some great learning platforms, including iTunes audio courses from Stanford and people like Steve …

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5 Tidbits of Good News from WWDC for Musicians and Visualists

Apple’s WWDC keynote this year is an mix of mostly consumer-focused, end-user features and the occasional nerdier developer-centric discussion, plus a healthy heaping of hyperbolae. (The App Store, compared to the invention of the telescope and the discovery of electricity – did I hear that right?) But, if you’re paying close attention, there are some tidbits of good news for people using Apple’s platforms for creative work – or making the tools those people use. Before we talk about Apple Music, let’s look at the OS news. 1. Metal in OS X will open up new visual possibilities. Metal is …

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From Bluetooth MIDI to Easier, Faster Graphics, New Goodies for Creative Apple Development

Watching new operating systems is always a potent mix of “what new treats will we get?” and “what are they going to break?” Fortunately in this case, it seems Apple is mostly crossing items off users’ and developers’ wish lists on both iOS and OS X, though further details will come in coming developer sessions. Now, those are under NDA, but the wait for public information is unlikely to be long, now that Apple has announced a public beta of OS X Yosemite and an aggressive release schedule for both OS X and iOS 8. We also know a lot …

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Coding the Club: How the Sensory Experience of Electronic Music Could Expand [Video]

Coded Matter(s) #5: Coding the Club from FIBER on Vimeo. For so much of the world, the club experience is nothing if not predictable. The sound, the aesthetic, the entire evening fit to a predictable mold. But drawing upon decades of work in experimental audiovisual performance, a new generation of sound and light artists are applying today’s tools to build live creations that can transcend all of that, that appeal directly to the senses and transform the architecture of the musical environment. One highlight for me this year was the chance to moderate an installment in March of Fiber Festival’s …

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A Big Ass MIDI Cube with Hakan Lidbo, Live at MIDI Hack Stockholm [Video, Code]

It’s a big-ass MIDI cube. Okay, sometimes the name kind of sums up all of it. But among various wonders at MIDI Hack Day here in Stockholm this weekend, “developer/designer/entrepreneur” Per-Olov Jernberg has teamed up with artist HÃ¥kan Lidbo to bring a giant, inflatable green cube into the offices of Spotify and transform is into a musical instrument. This is what I would have at my birthday parties if I could go back in time. Or, really, now. And you can, too, because code in Processing is already available. Good, clean fun – with oversized musical instruments, a recent fascination …

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“Open” Kinect Tools Go Closed and Dead, Limiting Artist and Hacker Options; Call for Help

The narrative around Kinect and how hackers and artists has always been a little oversimplified. You may have heard something like this: thanks to a bounty, creative individuals “hacked” Microsoft’s Kinect camera and made it open. That’s true, but it isn’t the whole story. While there is a “hacked” Kinect toolset, most of the creative applications you’ve seen make use of a richer set of frameworks from OpenNI. “OpenNI” referred to an alliance of individuals and organizations, and was supposed to represent various interests, as well as what the group called on their Website “an open source SDK used for …

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"Open" Kinect Tools Go Closed and Dead, Limiting Artist and Hacker Options; Call for Help

The narrative around Kinect and how hackers and artists has always been a little oversimplified. You may have heard something like this: thanks to a bounty, creative individuals “hacked” Microsoft’s Kinect camera and made it open. That’s true, but it isn’t the whole story. While there is a “hacked” Kinect toolset, most of the creative applications you’ve seen make use of a richer set of frameworks from OpenNI. “OpenNI” referred to an alliance of individuals and organizations, and was supposed to represent various interests, as well as what the group called on their Website “an open source SDK used for …

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Dancer to Score to Animation: Coding, Decoding, and Recoding in a Choreography Lab

When it comes to dance technology, it isn’t enough to team dazzling engineers with dancers. Making digital technology meaningful to those steeped in the craft of dance means artists getting their hands dirty. Dance has a history in experimental exploration, from Merce Cunningham’s pioneering work with the LifeForms software (directly in his choreography) to digital dance hybrids created by the likes of Troika Ranch (Dawn Stoppiello/Mark Coniglio). The Motion Bank and Frankfurt, Germany could be the scene for dance tech’s next act. Choreographer William Forsythe launched a four-year project in Frankfurt am Main to collect data using Microsoft’s Kinect. The …

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A Tangled Sculpture of Lightbulbs, Stage to Elaborate Synchronized AV Performance

In a tree-like cluster of wooden branches, 60 electronically-fired lightbulbs glow in tightly-choreographed pulses along with music. The light sculpture becomes the setting for a kind of AV dance theater, forming an otherworldly environment for narrative movement. “A Man Named Zero” is the work of Nocte and a team in the UK of performers, pairing DJ with lightbulb accompaniment. Nocte realized the project in the creative coding tool Cinder (C++), which provides both the lightbulb control and slick-looking wireframe visual interface. Interestingly, the audio analysis isn’t just a straight FFT. Instead, using the open LibXtract library, the software “extracts” audio …

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From Song to 3D Model to Augmented App: Visualizing Oneohtrix Point Never

One reason to use code, and the constellation of open source creative coding libraries, is the ability to express ideas across media. HoloDecks is a beautiful experiment in doing just that. The work translates invisible sound to three-dimensional form, and combines visualization in the physical and virtual domains. HoloDecks goes through multiple phases of expression, built entirely in the multi-platform, free and open source OpenFrameworks. Analysis of the song. First, there is a spectral analysis of the selected tune – in this example, it’s “Zebra,” by Oneohtrix Point Never. Virtual three-dimensional visualization. Next, the spectral data is plotted in a …

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