Reading List: The Best of the Web, from Vintage Grooveboxes to APC Sequencers to Indeterminism

There’s a beautiful river of information for electronic musicians out there, if you can only navigate its currents. In our new series, we pick out some of the best selections, since we can’t always squeeze in a full article of every terrific gem out there. It’s like a window into our inbox. And for the first edition, we’ve got a lot – resources for Ableton and wireless MIDI and Logic, deep thoughts on production and folk music and indeterminism and robots learning to play in a band. Queue it up for your reading pleasure. (We’re big fans of Pocket for …

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Rouge: The Power of TouchDesigner, Made Ready and Reusable for Live Performance [Free]

The beauty of open-ended, modular environments is the ability to create exactly what you need from the ground up, each time. The problem with open-ended, modular environments is the need to create exactly what you need from the ground up, each time. And that has left some readers of this site utterly baffled when opening the graphical environment TouchDesigner we mention so often. Media artist Mary Franck got tired of creating new modules and mappings for each performance, and wanted to produce a framework that allowed her to create custom shows without having to reinvent the wheel. What she has …

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The Natural World, in Code: Dan Shiffman Talks Genetic Algorithms

Dan Shiffman @ Kickstarter HQ on Genetic Algorithms on April 2nd from Kickstarter on Vimeo. Creative code may, to most people, be as far from the natural world as possible. But in a purely aesthetic way, finding the connection between natural environment and code expression is the mission of Dan Shiffman’s recent tome. And in this talk, it’s the nature of the Nature of Code, as creative code guru Dan Shiffman goes into his approach. The setting is fitting: Dan is at the headquarters of Kickstarter, the platform that managed to fund his book. After mixed success with a conventional …

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Biostagog: Fluid Cellular Architecture Combines Mapping, Responsive Interaction [Gallery]

BIOSTAGOG from Platige Image on Vimeo. When futurists dream of fluid architecture, more digital image than brick and mortar, this is one element of what they mean. From Warsaw, Poland comes a project combining algorithmic design, 3D-printed surfaces, and interactive motion turned into projection-mapped image. Yep, that ticks all the buzzword boxes. But the upshot really does signify something transformative here in all these trends: it shows an architectural surface imagined on computers that takes on new shapes and responds to its environment. So, while some of these particular interactions are familiar – apparently, no one gets tired of waving …

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Creative Coding, Evolved: Processing Nears 2.0 Release With Hot-Looking Beta 9

There’s a reason for Processing’s popularity. By making code simple, elegant, and direct, and catering directly to the kinds of visual ideas creative people have, the environment has made programming accessible to artists and designers in a way nothing else could. Coding no longer has to be a source of fear, or a bad word. But Processing, years into its life, has also badly needed a refresh. 2.0 is more than just a house cleaning. It’s a new direction, with “modes” that mean it’s no longer tied to old desktop Java architectures. (See a tantalizing screenshot below – with the …

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3D Light Painting How-To: iPad + Open Tools + LEGOs with Mickael Le Goff

Monark teaser (How to do 3D light-painting) from Mickael Le Goff on Vimeo. When photography meets generative visuals, where real-for-real techniques come together with digital imagery, some special things can happen. Take the surprisingly-effective technique of 3D light painting. If you don’t closely follow our sister music site, you may have missed NI’s Monark synth. But the teaser for it is worth revisiting for its technique. Combining the iPad as a convenient portable screen with generative visuals and an open source 3D and Arduino control rig, it produces a rich, subtle effect that could be worth adding to your arsenal. …

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Magic Cube: 20 Bicycles Make Generative, Architecture-Sized Graphics and Sound

Bet your Spinning class was never like this. In an architectural installation in Lyon, France, sound and light – and a whole lot of tech – come together with 20 bicycle riders, as the cycles appear to generate streams of data that feed the generative, abstract results. The Magic Cube @Lyon2012 from pixelux on Vimeo. The cyclists can’t really generate this much power – there’s just not enough energy and efficiency in this system for that – but, via sensors, their pedaling can impact the pattern. Presented at Fête des Lumières at the end of last year in Lyon, this …

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Generative Genius: Free Max for Live Patch Lets You Schedule Scenes at Any Clock Time

Bars and beats are great. But people find applications for sound and music that go beyond traditional tools. That has already made Ableton Live a popular choice for triggering audio events and the like. But even Live tends to be biased toward conventional musical time. Sound and multimedia shop Aconica rolled their own tool to create a solution, the brainchild of sound and media artist Martin Backes, and now that tool is available to Ableton Live users for free. (Max for Live, now included with Live Suite as of Live 9, is required.) The name of the plug-in gives away …

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Gantz Graf, the Max for Live Plug-in: Reactive-Visualizing Your Tracks

Hang about. I may have given away the punchline in the headline, and now there’s not much more to say. “Hey, is there a plug-in out there that I can just switch on and visualize music with?” I can’t count the number of times I get asked this. That could make the following a very popular download, indeed. Animator Alex Rutterford’s original Gantz Graf video, interestingly, was not reacting to audio. But generative technique has moved on since then, so aping the style of the visuals in a patch makes some sense. The results aren’t perfect, but they do demonstrate …

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Insane, Starship Control Panel Controls Sound Morphing-Synth in 3D: COSMOSƒ

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: manipulating sound presets should be as intuitive and powerful as regulating plasma coolant flow to the antimatter injector on a warp drive nacelle. I mean, knobs? How quaint. COSMOSƒ is a graphical morphing engine for sound, a standalone synthesizer with a wild, sci-fi interface. You can actually set up polar coordinates and navigate sounds through a sphere, in three dimensions. The sound engine is all internal, but looks like a lot of fun. (For more of this sort of thing, see the excellent, free and open source IanniX, which …

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