Hypersampling, Whatever Your Grid: Free mlrv2 Instrument, to monome and Beyond

Owing to a tradition that goes back to the first samplers and hip-hop pioneers, sampling and digital performance have become a kind of instrumental technique. You might play well, you might play poorly, but even working with samples, you can actually play. You can look at the simple design of the monome as the hardware embodiment of digital, a reflection of an array of pixels. You can see it as an extension of Roger Linn’s MPC and other drum machine concepts. It’s probably both those things. But since the monome itself makes no sound, it’s been software that has made …


How to Get Poor with Prototyping: Advice from MPC, LinnDrum, AdrenaLinn Creator Roger Linn

New ideas and invention are wonderful things – so long as you don’t have any illusions about cost and payoff, that is. So, with that cheeky headline, here’s Roger Linn. He writes us: I thought you might get a kick out of this and maybe some of your DIY readers might find it useful. Occasionally I get an email from someone who thinks he has a great idea for a music product that will make millions, and asks for advice on how to make a prototype, or wants to tell me his idea so I can make it for him …


New Year, New Handmade Music: Call for NYC, Austin/SxSW, the World

Pete Edwards of casperelectronics making some noise at Manhattan’s Culturefix in October. Handmade Music is our party for people who make things that make music. If you create your own musical tools – whether acoustic instruments and soundmakers, hacks, circuit bends, custom Pd and Max patches, electronics, or code – we want to hear from you. We’re looking for contributors in NYC, Texas, and around the world: Live acts and projects in New York Street team volunteers in NYC and to help organize and promote events in other parts of the planet Live acts and projects for a special South …


NYC Sunday: MeeBlip, Mortal Kombat-Playing Guitars, Chips, Checkers, and Glockenspiel

Sunday night in Manhattan, the MeeBlip makes its public debut. If you want to check one out in person, ask any questions, etc., come check it out. (I’ll also have my battery-powered rig: one Vox amp on batteries, one MintyBoost battery pack for MeeBlip, one Rock Band 3 keytar.) And that’s just the beginning – we’ve got a huge lineup of stuff for this week’s Handmade Music. Sunday, November 14th FREE OPEN LABORATORY: 4pm – 7pm PARTY + MUSIC: 7p – 10pm Culturefix, LES (Map) Handmade Music is part party, part science fair. Come meet people who make things that …


Analog and Modular Video Gear with LZX Industries; Live in Austin TX

Visualists are no longer safe from the addiction of modular racks. LZX Industries is bringing the Eurorack modular system, popular with a new generation of modular synthesists, to video. And in abstract, acidic washes of color and light, the results are mesmerizing. Modular systems remain a significant investment. LZX’s “minimal” systems run over a grand, with a properly balanced rack of modular units running you some US$2675. That’s not to say that’s not a value, if you can afford it: in contrast to the tricky-to-repair, largely disposable high-end laptops a lot of digital visualists buy, this is a set of …


A Game of Checkers Becomes a Step Sequencer, Ableton Live Controller

Checkerboard Step Sequencer V2 from Josh Silverman on Vimeo. Shall we play a game? Have your checkers chops ready, because Josh Silverman’s Checkerboard Step Sequencer, a tangible interface for music, will test both your game mettle and your grooves. Built with the open source coding tool OpenFrameworks and Ableton Live as sound source, the checkerboard fuses computer vision technology and … well, some beats. This video should make obvious the relationship between the position of the checkers pieces and the noises they represent and trigger. It’s still a work in progress, but for now I won’t subject you to the …


Meet Meeblip, The Open Source, Hackable Digital Hardware Synth

Making music, making blips and bleeps, turning knobs, plugging in keyboards, and having the freedom to modify your gear – these are good things. And that’s why I’m so excited that today is the day the MeeBlip launches. It’s been several years in development, but now it’s finally here. It’s a hardware box that makes noises – virtual analog synth noises, chip-sounding noises, good noises, bad noises, noises you can make into music. It’s got physical knobs and switches on it, plus a MIDI DIN in port so you can connect that keytar you bought on eBay. It’s also a …


Reclaim the Album’s Soul: Tips for Handmade CD Artwork, Make One Sunday

You hear the repeated chorus: music in the digital age has become meaningless and valueless, like turning on water from a tap in the middle of Rome. But, quietly, a movement is stirring that is reclaiming the value of music. Armed with nothing more sophisticated than markers, paper, collage materials, and imagination, they send mixes of music like grade school Valentines. Heck, they even use the mail. It makes the album more personal than it was even in its golden, mass-produced age. Many of the practitioners in this case are returning to the cassette and mix tape. But I was …


Handmade Music, From 3D to Wires, on October 10 in NYC, Austin, or Your Workbench

Handcrafted CD covers for records and mixes, meditative music made in game engines, handheld chip music creations, analog light synths and drone labs, VL-Tone classical music, and more surprises are coming to New York on Sunday, October 10. (Austin, Texas gets its own event, making noisemakers and ring modulators.) We promise music you can dance to, music you can’t, and tapas (at least in NYC). And on October 10, a little secret will finally be revealed to Manhattan and the world. If you’re a citizen of The Internet, we’ve got lots of sounds and creations to explore here on The …


In Photos: Discovering Sound Making, Electronics at Culturefix NYC

Photos above: Jennifer Meagher, with additional photography by myself. Handmade Music found a new home on New York’s Lower East Side, at Culturefix, an electronics boutique cum gallery, bar, and tapas. The philosophy of this event has long been to simply open the doors, letting a community of people come together, make some noise, and have fun and learn. So we’re indebted to the people who made it happen – and I think there were some lessons to hopefully reproduce. And yes, part of why I share this is I hope we can work over time to provide more resources, …