RYAT's production setup.

In LA, looking to what new tech means for music makers

This week, the eyes of the music world will look at what’s new in toys. But how about looking further, to how technology is used? Going deeper to what’s happening in live music and music making is the essence of our new series Practice Space. CDM is excited to host a living-room style gathering of musicians and performance artists in the heart of downtown LA, and we hope you’ll join us – in person and online.

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A Toe-Tapping, Dancing 3D-Printed Robot Plays Music

Making Music With Poppy from Pierre Rouanet on Vimeo. It can “learn” to tap its toe and bob its head. And then it can make sounds as you move its arms. It’s a robotic interface for music – a bit like playing with a very smart toy doll. To show off its interactive/interfacing abilities, the team behind Poppy used music. Poppy is a robot that can be produced with a 3D printer. All the hardware and software are fully open source. The idea – fused with cash from the EU’s European Research Council for funding science and creativity – is …

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The Visualized Opera: Vitruvian Melds Dance, Digital with Operetta [unrender]

Get ready for the high Renaissance of the digital. The individual ingredients remain the same. But the threads of transmedia work, spanning everything from traditional costume design and choreography to the latest generative projections, draw ever closer. A new generation of artists treats projection in the theater as something elemental, something that demands exploration. Vitruvian, premiering its latest iteration in Berlin Friday as part of our event unrender with LEHRTER SIEBZEHN, has gradually evolved in the ways it interweaves dance with opera, projected visualization and interactive sound with dance theater. An “interactive opera” in one act, it unapologetically adds digital …

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Molding Sound with Flesh: Biophysical Muscle Music Keeps Evolving

Ominous | Incarnated sound sculpture (Xth Sense) from Marco Donnarumma on Vimeo. For all the interfaces that involve turning knobs or waving your hands in the air, artist Marco Donnarumma wanted to go deeper. His work pulses with his flesh, listening deep inside muscles for every slight impulse. And in Marco’s hands, it seems the air itself can be molded into sound – not with ethereal hand flapping, but as though the ether itself is made of dense clay. It’s been nearly two years since we spoke with Marco about his work, and the wwirord he coined for this kind …

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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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Surveilled, Controlled, Exhausted: Augmented Dance on Machine-Human Interface’s Dark Side

If BODYLINE BORDERLINE takes your breath away, perhaps you can thank the fact that it takes the dancers’ breath away. Computer vision in dance is now an accepted trope, to the point of being nearly cliché. The challenge is in part that the human eye’s capacity to follow nuances in movement contrasts to the crude capabilities of even the most sophisticated digital systems. But there are also opportunities for new angles on the material. Whereas so much dance with vision has focused on sparkly wonderlands of particle effects and the like, blissful mirror amusement parks, BODYLINE BORDERLAND has a different …

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Surveilled, Controlled, Exhausted: Augmented Dance on Machine-Human Interface's Dark Side

If BODYLINE BORDERLINE takes your breath away, perhaps you can thank the fact that it takes the dancers’ breath away. Computer vision in dance is now an accepted trope, to the point of being nearly cliché. The challenge is in part that the human eye’s capacity to follow nuances in movement contrasts to the crude capabilities of even the most sophisticated digital systems. But there are also opportunities for new angles on the material. Whereas so much dance with vision has focused on sparkly wonderlands of particle effects and the like, blissful mirror amusement parks, BODYLINE BORDERLAND has a different …

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Music and Performance, Made On The Spot: Hacklab, Open Call in Berlin

Inventing technological hacks in short time is one thing. At CTM Festival in Berlin, we want to push collaborative participants to go further. First, invent the technology for performance. Then, invent the performance – and be ready to perform publicly – and it do it all in just one week. It’s time again to join a MusicMakers Hacklab. Last year was the first week-long event hosted with CDM, and the first at CTM Festival. CTM makes a perfect venue, a brilliant and packed showcase for adventurous sound (and in parallel with another digital media fest, Transmediale, in the same city …

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Dance and Music: Convert Kinect to MIDI, Free Beta on Mac and Windows

When we first saw movements and dance converted to music in February, it must have sparked some interest. Developer Jesper Nordin tells us popular demand has prompted him to release a free (as in beer) version of his Gestrument Kinect controller. With a beta download and a Windows or Mac machine, you can translate Microsoft’s depth-sensing camera to MIDI events you can use with instruments. Previously (including mention of the iPad version of this idea, if you don’t fancy prancing about in front of a camera): Gestrument, Shaping Music with Kinect, Touch, and Acoustic Ensembles [Videos] Now, you can grab …

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Note from the Editor: Music for Dance, Music and Movement

“Dance music” is a term that has lately become maligned all over again. And the press is often fond of deriding the music of machines, as if drum machines and computers are sentient alien technology that climbed out of the smoldering remains of a wrecked UFO rather than the handiwork of someone’s imagination. For me, though, these two materials – movement and machines – are the reason I do what I care about this field, exploring new sounds in a way that is human and gestural, whether the music is in an experimental concert at 8p or a party in …

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