Watch a Short Film on the Play Between Musicians and Instruments, Design and Technology

From Rush to the classical clarinet to rethinking the keyboard interface, a lovely new film by Michael Shane explores the relationship between music and technology, and the philosophy behind new musical inventions. Two New York-based characters figure prominently in that investigation. There’s Martin Yee, the drum tech, who talks about humans and drums. (Sadly, we don’t get into the question of acoustic technology – that’s something I hope to cover in upcoming reports, both in transforming and augmenting the drum kit, and re-designing the acoustic piano.) Then, there’s the ubiquitous keyboardist Jordan Rudess, whom I think puts on one of …

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Meet the Strange, Wonderful 70s Machine that Used AI to Make Music

The 70s were one heck of a groovy time. When they weren’t postulating theories about the very underlying essence of all physical reality being reduced to computational models, pioneering AI scientists were … creating weird music sequencers? Seriously? The Singularity will be brought to you by Giorgio Moroder, perhaps? Yes, as we saw earlier this week, AI legends Edward Fredkin and Marvin Minsky somehow managed to take their research in philosophy, digital physics, and cognitive science, and make a weird box that most definitely is capable of blinking lights and making sequences of bleeps. The Triadex Muse really seems like …

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How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …

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Egyptrixx x A N F: Audiovisuals as Surface, Texture, and Trip to Alien Volcanoes

It’s real, and yet, it isn’t. It’s the sound of percussion, but it resonates in an otherworldly way. It’s the flaming, blood-red surface of a volcano, but it’s melting before us. Some of the most evocative digital works walk this line, transport us to a place our brains can accept, yet not entirely believe, universes just past the reaches of our imagination. And so the collaboration between Egyptrixx (Toronto’s David Psutka) and A N F (Berlin visualist Andreas Nicolas Fischer) congeals around the notion of texture and surface. In generated geometries, globs of interplanetary resin, space insect innards about to …

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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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Cubase iC Air, erm... artists' rendering. Just about got that mix right. (Hold on - red ball. This track is not going to be premeditated.)

Cubase Goes Futuristic: Motion Hand Gestures Control Music in Free Add-on [Details]

When it comes to big, flagship audio tools, you don’t get a whole lot of sci-fi in your software. That makes Steinberg’s announcements this week more of a change of pace. They aren’t the first to talk about virtual studio sessions, or even gesturally-controlled music. But seeing this as an add-on to Cubase, not just an experimental hack, counts as news. And Cubase users can add on those futuristic capabilities in the form of two new tools. You can fly through Cubase sessions with gestural controls using depth cameras (on Windows) or LEAP Motion (on Windows and Mac). And you …

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From a Single 2D Photo, 3D Objects Created Easily

A research presentation from SIGGRAPH has been spreading quickly online, demonstrating just how seamlessly we might soon transform two-dimensional photography into three-dimensional objects. Perhaps what makes the “3-Sweep” technique so impressive is that it doesn’t represent some sort of computational breakthrough, or algorithmic trickery. It’s simply good, inventive design. And it allows human and machine to work hand in hand – rather than try to make the algorithm do everything, humans assist by evaluating where the objects are. And making the user interface tools intuitive for those humans also makes the results more accurate. (As I saw noted by researcher …

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Turning 24 Touch Displays into a Multi-Player OS: Obscura’s Steve Mason [NXNE]

15,360 x 3240 resolution on 24 interconnected touch displays: this is no iPad. Toronto-based freelancer Amanda Connon-Unda headed to Toronto’s hottest interactive conference for CDM to catch Obscura’s Steve Mason, revealing what it’s like to design a massively-multiplayer “spatial” OS. It’s been a long journey as the SF firm went from thinking big with projection mapping to rethinking touch interaction. Here’s what Amanda learned. -PK Steve Mason is brimming with enthusiasm. The VP of innovation at San Francisco’s Obscura Digital is describing the new design of their spatial operating system, before a crowd gathered at the North by Northeast Interactive …

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Turning 24 Touch Displays into a Multi-Player OS: Obscura's Steve Mason [NXNE]

15,360 x 3240 resolution on 24 interconnected touch displays: this is no iPad. Toronto-based freelancer Amanda Connon-Unda headed to Toronto’s hottest interactive conference for CDM to catch Obscura’s Steve Mason, revealing what it’s like to design a massively-multiplayer “spatial” OS. It’s been a long journey as the SF firm went from thinking big with projection mapping to rethinking touch interaction. Here’s what Amanda learned. -PK Steve Mason is brimming with enthusiasm. The VP of innovation at San Francisco’s Obscura Digital is describing the new design of their spatial operating system, before a crowd gathered at the North by Northeast Interactive …

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Lawnmower Man-Style Audiovisuals, in Kinect Experiment, Plus a New Kinect

Oculus Rift + Kinect – Audio visual instrument a001 from Ethno Tekh on Vimeo. That window between science fiction and actual interfaces continues to narrow. Here, virtual hands paw at geometric orbs to produce sound, with simultaneous 3D visuals as accompaniment, in the latest artist/hacker experiment. You can thank the popular and surprisingly-accessible game engine, Unity – which recently added free deployment to mobiles, by the way. Description: This is our first Kinect-controlled, virtual reality experiment, using the greatly anticipated Oculus Rift. It’s a simple virtual reality environment built in Unity 3D with our own interactive framework. It allows us …

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