BlokDust is an amazing graphical sound tool in your browser

Just when you think you’ve tired of browser toys, of novel graphical modular sound thing-a-ma-jigs, then — this comes along. It’s called Blokdust. It’s beautiful. And … it’s surprisingly deep. Not only might you get sucked into playing with it, but thanks to some simply but powerful blocks and custom sample loading, you might even make a track with it. And for nerds, this is all fully free and open source and hipster-JavaScript-coder compliant if you want to toy with the stuff under the hood.


Kyma 7 Wants You To Discover, And See, New Sounds

Kyma 7 in Four Minutes from Symbolic Sound on Vimeo. Somewhere apart from the general purpose computer, the standalone electronic instrument, the racks of modulars, there is Kyma. For nearly a quarter century, this boutique digital instrument has opened up sonic realms to a scattered illuminati of artists. And this week, it hit a new milestone, with functionality and resources intended to make sound exploration still broader and more accessible. Three years in development, Kyma 7 is here. The buzz around modular often comes back to the same refrain: modular is cool because it’s open ended. That rat’s nest of …


Pattern and Design: A 2-Day Festival Turns Vintage Type into Musical Scores

It’s time to reinvent the graphical score. With musical practice more international, more broad and varied than ever, and electronics in the mix, conventional notational idioms just aren’t enough. For curator and prolific electronic producer Hanno Leichtmann, the starting point was a collection of vintage Letraset and Letratone type, as pictured above. Leichtmann, a graphic designer himself (and maker of beautiful record covers), is passionate about digital and ink-based design processes alike; even the posters for the event are exquisitely (and expensively) hand-produced. He then invited a who’s who of illustrators and graphic designers from Germany, Austria, France, Great Britain, …


Android Gets Patchable Audio Everything: Free Patchfield Architecture [Video, Resources]

Android audio users, developers, patchers, and musicians just got a huge gift. Patchfield is, as the name implies, a space in which you can connect synths, effects, and sound modules in an open, modular environment. It’s a free app you can use on its own, as well as a free architecture developers can use in their apps. For DIYers and developers, it’s already looking like something you’ll want to try right away. (End users may want to wait for now, but the idea remains cool.) Inside an app (as a service), Patchfield provides a set of tools developers can use …


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 …


Audulus is Simple, Elegant Mac Modular App for $15, Now With Plugin Support

Audulus Briefing from Taylor Holliday on Vimeo. In a physical studio – heck, even with some guitar stompboxes – it’s customary to get the rig you want by connecting different modules. So, it makes absolute sense that software might work this way, too. But many popular modular options, while insanely powerful, can overwhelm simple tasks. Audulus, by contrast, may be an accessible tool for users. It doesn’t do everything – I’d like to see more sequencers and such, please – but it does have a nice collection of useful utilities. The basic idea: hook up some modules graphically, and process …


Traversing a Score in 3D Space: Free IanniX Explores Strange, New Worlds

IanniX — From UPIC to IanniX from IanniX on Vimeo. In the beginning, there was the bar. Actually, wait – that came later. In the beginning, there were sketched outlines of notes. And the notes became fixed in pitch space, and then, increasingly, in time, in divided measures from left to right. And so, what we know today as Western music notation came to be. But then, in the 20th Century, composers began to undo the rigid boxes that score produced. First with pen and paper, later armed with the computer, composers connecting graphic and sound started to violate those …


Roland R-MIX App Selects Parts of Music Visually, on Mac, PC, and iPad

Here’s a software release I don’t think most observers saw coming: Roland has new software for computers and iPads that lets you edit visually. The underlying VariPhrase technology is familiar from other Roland products, though combined here with something Roland calls V-Remastering. The upshot is this: you begin with a heat map-like visual of a sound’s spectrum, then pull on components of a mix, isolating the volume levels of different parts of a track. Think visual mash-ups and karaoke tracks, as well as clean-up. What can you do once you have those components? Isolate components, adjust their mix, and add …


Drawing Sounds with New Experimental Synths (iOS from SunVox Creator)

Developer Alex Zolotov has been producing fascinating experiments for the iPhone. Today, we’re covering updates to Alex’s SunVox production tool, on iOS and desktop alike, but this pair of iOS tools deserves its own post. I could try to describe them, but there’s little to say that can’t be clearly seen in the video: you draw sounds, in spectral form (bottom) and waveform view (top), in order to produce synths graphically. The idea isn’t new, of course, but it’s beautifully implemented here in a way that’s immediate and sonically rich. Below, one other recent iOS creation, SoundFields, which also takes …


Music in Space and Time: Wild Geometries and Sequencing in Iannix, Free

Nerds: It’s an OSC sequencer. It’s JavaScript-programmable for making your own generative music. It works with hardware and other software. You can use it in real-time. Everyone: it makes spectacularly strange sounds out of spectacularly beautiful flows of geometries through space. IanniX, the latest-generation descendant of work done by pioneering experimental composer Iannis Xenakis, has been evolving at rapid pace into what may be the most sophisticated graphical sequencer ever. Xenakis originally had to content himself to drawing elaborate, architectural graphics on paper, then later being one of the first to use a graphical tablet for interactive scores. IanniX, backed …