The making of a fanciful album imagining a post-apocalyptic future

What would your future clone think of you now, looking back across an apocalyptic reshaping of humanity? That’s the question posed by the 2005 novel The Possibility of an Island, and it resonates in Franz Kirmann’s new album Elysian Park. This might sound bleak, but it isn’t. Kirmann’s new record paints a science fiction sound portrait in dense textures and hyperreal washes of color. There are stuttering and spectacular rhythms making bold shuffles across the music. It’s headphone stuff for sonic dreaming, relentlessly futuristic and endlessly engaging. It’s a world you’ll want to enter and reenter, an addictive time warp. …


When Milliner, Musician Collaborate, You Get This Crazy Music Hat

It looks like what you’d want to wear if you were invited to a dinner party … with Sun Ra and his Arkestra. It lights up and responds as though you’re about to guest star on a Japanese TV show about a trans-dimensional space princess. But then… it starts making music. And the wild whimsy of the Chromehatic turns into a sultry set piece for a pitch-perfect performance by vocalist FEMME, celebrated London-based performer/producer. As for the headpiece itself, it launches a line entitled SENSEries, pairing milliner/couture designer Jodie Cartman (whose work has shown up on the brow of Morcheeba …


On Apple Watch, Sound Design Translates into Haptic Feel

You already know sound is something you feel, physically – you know this from the sensation in your head on headphones, from your gut as a PA produces big bass, from the bodily experience of thunderstorms or the siren on an ambulance. But we may soon live in a world where increasingly the role of sound design is wrapped up in interaction – where those sounds can produce physical sensations and haptic interactions. And whether or not the Apple Watch is used by musicians and DJs with new apps, it could add to possibilities for sound designers. Wired has a …


Watch: McRorie, Legend of Wearable Music Instruments, Still Rocking

The one-man band from the future, McRorie, is still going, it seems. Unbeknownst to us, the artist – real name, Stuart McRorie Tait – revealed a new live electronic show reel at the beginning of the year. See top: he’s still tapping his shoes for drums and beating his chest for toms, but he’s swapped out Starr Labs for his original, more conventional keyboards. The kilts are gone, sadly, but there’s an acid-distorted VJ mix in the background. And if the mood is right, lightning bolts apparently shoot from his crotch. MIDI keyboards strapped to the body have perhaps become …


MIDI-Controlled Necktie Lights Up As You Play, with Internet-Enabled LEDs

As the consumer electronics industry struggles to work out what people want in wearable technology, the people are speaking. We want – no, need – neckwear that lights up in sync to music as we play. Clearly. Well, anyway, that’s what Hector Urtubia – aka Mr Book – is doing in his latest hack. It’s a proof of concept, but it’s good, nerdy fun. And it uses mesh networking and conductive thread. The ingredients: Pinoccio (yes, spelled without the ‘h’), an Internet-connected, compact, Arduino-compatible board. You can even access this board over the Web, so think Internet of Things here. …


Could You Someday Wear Speakers? Wearable Tech and Expression

Wearable tech so far has often tended to dresses that light up or wristwatches that act as remote controls for your smartphone. But what if wearable tech actually produced sound – and it wasn’t a pair of headphones? That’s the question posed by SubPac. It’s a sort of backpack subwoofer aimed both at improving tactile bass response for consumers and allowing proper bass monitoring for DJs and producers – you know, when they can’t just try their latest mix on a big club PA. We’ve covered wearable tech on CDM before – we’ve even hosted workshops and labs on the …


A Surround Sound System You Can Carry Like an Umbrella, ‘Anywhere’

Music is transformed by context, by instrumentation and space and setting. With amplified music, thinking about content alone isn’t enough. Visualists now work with projection mapping and lighting constructions and lasers and the like. It seems electronic musicians as a scene may benefit from thinking more about speakers. We saw recently 4DSOUND, an immersive architectural installation. But that requires carrying around columns. Here’s a multichannel system you can tote along with you, like an umbrella. The results look like a prop from a post-apocalyptic Terry Gilliam movie; it’s sound as object. pseudo multichannel personal autonomous sound installation with 10 panning …


This Wearable Necklace Mic Could Change How You Hear – or Record

Listening accurately is all about direction. It’s the power that lets you carry on a conversation in a loud bar, and hear where sounds are coming from. But for anyone trying to record sounds – or anyone who has impaired hearing – those sounds can be lost. Directional microphones can solve that problem, but they have an additional one: size. Some of the more directional mics are simply huge. That’s where Wear becomes interesting. Emmy-winning engineer and AV specialist Eric Rosenthal teamed up with designer and sound artist Michelle Temple, and they’ve created a new solution. (Rosenthal is an ITP/NYU …


A Case in Motion: AUUG Marries Wearable iPhone, Software, Cloud in Gestures

The next innovations in music and sound may come somewhere between fashion and instrument, between hardware, software, and service. The AUUG Motion Synth represents one idea of how to do that. In terms of hardware, it’s just aluminum – albeit aluminum in a rather clever configuration. Worn on your wrist, it solves the problem of how to gesture with an iPhone or iPod touch without … well, without dropping it. There isn’t any additional sensor; it simply uses the sensing already in the device. Then again, with Apple’s iPhone 5S, that may be what you want, and the presence of …


Bubbles and Light, in an Interactive Costume, Integrated with Music

Coded Environments from Jekka on Vimeo. Big EDM stage shows aside, in the realm of more intimate electronic performance, there seems tremendous untapped potential in combining wearable technology with performance. There, the immersion speaks to the player – essential, as in computer music much of what the performance artist does and imagines is invisible. Jekka, aka Moscow’s Jenny Nedosekina – a curator as well as a solo performer – has assembled a team to build a project. This is marked “teaser,” but it’s already compelling enough to share. (And I hope you send in other similar work, as then we …