Ready-to-Play, Tuned Beer Bottles, and Other Design Experiments with Sound

From label to physical shape to the boxes they come in, these beer bottles have been reimagined for musical aims. Cheers! All images courtesy the artist, Matt Braun. What if blowing tunes on beer bottles was raised to the level of musical science? Through even the mundane medium of packaging, design can transform the everyday. DJ and designer Matt Braun of Philadelphia, collaborating with Chris Mufalli, use labels to tune the level of beer remaining in the bottle for musical results. Pitches are printed on the labels, allowing you to exactly match the liquid inside to a pitch you want, …

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Teasers: Debauched Fantasy Universe of Champagne Valentine

Champagne Valentine/ Black Material Video from Champagne Valentine on Vimeo. Amsterdam-based Champagne Valentine is Geoff Lillemon (oculart.com) and Anita Fontaine (anitafontaine.com), injecting fantastic otherworldly insanity into your audiovisual everyday. I’m lucky enough to have learned about their work through hyper-talented cross-media artist Sougwen, who worked with them while holing up in Amsterdam earlier this year. In miniature videos, we’re getting a number of windows into their world which I hope reveal more soon. Black Material, above, is a forthcoming book and DVD, drawing together NYC artist Robert Knoke and electro producer Spencer Product. The video at top stars Rosalie Canté, …

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Bendable, Musical Shoes for Nike, and How They Were Made

Shoes are the new turnables. Or at least that’s the conclusion you might reach after watching a new Japanese campaign for Nike’s Free Run+ running shoes. Apparently wishing to tout the bendable qualities of its new footwear, Nike enlisted sound artists to transform its product into a musical instrument. The shoes get plugged in, switched on, and mixed up, battle-style, as they sense when the shoe is flexed or moved in space. And yes, everything you see in the video is real: the shoes really are controlling digital sound live. We even have the Max patch to prove it. Lovers …

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The Man-Robot with an iMac Head, and Handmade Music Amsterdam

The Body, The Circuit, The Computer and The Voice: robot cowboy from STEIM Amsterdam on Vimeo. If you want to look for some of the roots of live electronic musical performance, STEIM is one place to start. Founded in 1969 by a group of Dutch composers (Misha Mengelberg, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, Dick Raaymakers, Jan van Vlijmen, Reinbert de Leeuw, and Konrad Boehmer), and led by the late “founding father” Michel Waisvisz, it has remained an important hub for inventing music technologies. It was one of the first places that gave an indication that these kind of experiments could extend …

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The Wearable Screen: A Dress Made from LEDs, by CuteCircuit

Ah, clothes. You’re so warm, so good at preventing us from being naked and sunburnt. But you know what the passionate visualist really wants from clothes: we want a display. The GalaxyDress is the latest creation of the fashionista-scientists of CuteCircuit, the smart-wearable design collective founded by Ivrea-trained designers Francesca Rosella and Ryan Genz. The design breakthrough, naturally, comes from the LEDs, which are tiny, thin, and most important for applying them to fashion, flat. The dress has also found its way into one of my all-time favorite museums. The Galaxy Dress is the center piece of the "Fast Forward: …

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"A Kiss From Tokyo" Retro Trailer Animates a Book

“A Kiss From Tokyo” Theatrical trailer from Stephane coedel on Vimeo. In the box, out of the box — in motion or still — part of what is exciting about the digital age as it matures is the ongoing blurring of lines between media. Digital art can rely on traditional media for input or output, history can collapse …and books can have their own trailers. The wonderful ISO50, by Renaissance designer-musician Man Tycho aka Scott Hansen, points to a deliciously retro trailer for an imagined movie promoting a book. The visuals are all After Effects, though I’d love to see …

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“A Kiss From Tokyo” Retro Trailer Animates a Book

“A Kiss From Tokyo” Theatrical trailer from Stephane coedel on Vimeo. In the box, out of the box — in motion or still — part of what is exciting about the digital age as it matures is the ongoing blurring of lines between media. Digital art can rely on traditional media for input or output, history can collapse …and books can have their own trailers. The wonderful ISO50, by Renaissance designer-musician Man Tycho aka Scott Hansen, points to a deliciously retro trailer for an imagined movie promoting a book. The visuals are all After Effects, though I’d love to see …

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Last-Minute Meta-Gift-Guide: Music and Electronics Gift Guides from the Blogosphere

It’s either the last chance to rush delivery on gifts, or the first chance to start thinking about picking up some music tech projects for yourself to keep up with musical New Years’ Resolutions. Either way, it’s time to give a shout out to some of the great gift guides that have been going up around the Interwebs. And nicely enough, there’s a strong emphasis on cheap and DIY projects, meaning these can be ideal even in tough economic times. SX-150 button mod from Collin Cunningham on Vimeo. MAKE: Blog > Music Makers’s Gift Guide Assembled by our friend (and …

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Sexy Computer Nerd: Rucyl Mills’ Wearable, Over-the-Shoulder MIDI Controller

It’s not animal-friendly, constructed of black leather and snakeskin, but it is fashion-forward. It’s Rucyl Mills’ over-the-shoulder, wearable MIDI controller, complete with pads, knobs and faders (looking mysteriously like they were liberated from an M-Audio Trigger Finger). Rucyl describes her creation: I built the elektro-07 so I could control the sonic and visual parameters of my live performances without having to look deep into the eye of my laptop, hunched over in computer music stance. I’m still learning how to play it.. Software wise, it runs a maxMSP/Jitter patch smoothly, connected to my laptop by a long usb cable. Major …

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Ridiculous NAMM News: Football Helmet Guitar

NAMM supposedly stands for the “National Association of Music Manufacturers.” It’s purportedly a trade show for music instruments and technology. But, for brief but glorious moments, “NAMM show” translates in English to “ridiculous musical stuff.” Just how ridiculous? We’re talking guitars made out of football helmets. Just in case you think you might extract any respectability from this $299 novelty guitar, there’s more: interchangeable face masks. Multiple colors for matching your favorite team (you’ll have to provide the logos — guess they didn’t pony up for a license). A built-in speaker, just in case an amp looks too, you know, …

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