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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Participate: One Button Game Objects, Handmade Music in NYC, Amsterdam, SF

It’s a call for one-button works. Literally. Sorry. Photo (CC) Jeff Keyzer. What can you do with a button? What circuits can you bend? What software and hardware can you construct? Want to meet up with myself and fellow makers from the DIY music and visualist communities? I’m touring and looking for new works, we have one call for one-button objects that (if you can ship it) can come from anywhere in the world, plus upcoming events in New York, San Francisco, and — this month, Amsterdam at the planetary music tech hub that is STEIM. STEIM is an inspiration …

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DIY Community: Austin a Hotbed of Inventive Hardware You Can Build and Use

Wherever you live, you can enjoy the DIY and open hardware inventions coming out of Texas. Or, as the famous song goes: “That’s right, you’re not from Texas / Texas wants you anyway.” Austin, Texas may be associated with the strum of guitars. But it’s also populated by some of our favorite electronic music hardware inventors on the planet, led by the likes of Bleep Labs, 4ms, Eric Archer, and more. They’ve taken the idea of a “Handmade Music” and come up with the best formula for building a community around DIY hardware I’ve seen yet: 1. Get beginners – …

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DIY Community: Handmade Music Toronto, 2/19, and Why Now is a Great Time for Making

From a previous hackday at InterAccess; photo (CC-BY) Rob Cruickshank. Handmade Music is spreading. Toronto’s InterAccess has been a hub of terrific DIY activity in sound and other fields, otherwise known as a General Gravity Well of Awesomeness, and they’re now doing their own Handmade Music, kicking off this month. Full call below, but as with other events, there is an open call for work (and some nice thoughts on why now is a wonderful time for DIY). Even if you’re not in Toronto, it’s nice to read their take on why this stuff matters. I’m gratified they’ve found this …

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Call for Works: One-Button Game Objects

Push the button: Kokoromi’s Gamma game challenge, which we saw earlier this week, challenges game designers to build an entire gameplay mechanic around a single button. What can be done with a single hardware object – a self-contained, one-button invention? We’re looking for creations that answer that question, inspired by games (and encompassing hardware games and hacks), but also extending into interactive art and musical and visual instruments. I’m putting this on the CDMs partly because I’d love to see these sorts of objects from visualists. We have upcoming hackday events in New York, Amsterdam, and San Francisco which could …

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Music from the Road: Tristan Perich, Lesley Flanigan on Speakers, 1-bit, Harspichord

Strings of tour dates and electronic music often mean crowd-friendly dance music, but there’s a growing, impassioned audience for more contemplative concert sounds, too. Composer-musicians Lesley Flanigan and Tristan Perich are pulling into the last stop on an extended tour of their work, here in New York Friday at Galapagos Art Space. For many, electronic music, in particular that made with computers, becomes about abstraction. For this duo, electronics become a chance to grow even closer to the tangible, acoustic sound – techniques they share in workshops as well as performances. And would you believe… antique harpsichord? Tristan Perich at …

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Geeky Gift Ideas, even for the Non-Musician

Andromeda MK-1 and MK-2 from Eric Archer on Vimeo. Thanks to the miracles of express shipping, there’s still time to give the gift of music technology for various holidays. (And I do mean the holiday season, not just Christmas – for me, it extends neatly to my birthday on January 13, which in turn falls before the music tech holiday NAMM.) Geeky goodness There are really wonderful sound makers out there to give to beginners and enthusiasts alike. MAKE:Magazine has done a fantastic job of covering terrific, affordable kits that anyone can use. I haven’t seen anyone – muscially inclined …

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Blip Festival Handmade Music Opener, and the Sega Mega Drive Meets MIDI + Launchpad

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We get to enjoy the sounds and sights made by chips, independent games, and Novation Launchpad-controlled Sega Mega Drives. Blip Fest hits NYC this week in a celebration of vintage and lo-fi chips and the wonderful, blippy music they produce. To get things started right on Wednesday night, we have a special edition of Handmade Music, the DIY music party/science fair/noisy racket series, in a special location — the opening of Babycastles, a new, permanent home for independent games. (Think “indie arcade,” an idea I hope spreads worldwide.) If you’re in the …

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This Weekend is Crazy in Austin: Handmade Music, Live 8 Sessions Tour

In LA’s DubSpot Live 8 Sessions, I shared a panel with Daedalus, talking about design, live playing, the monome, and how limiting tools for performance can be powerful. Austin gets its own cast of presenters this weekend. Sadly, I can’t be in all places at once. If I could, I’d be in Austin – twice over – this weekend. Handmade Music session two hits with an all-new set of learning and noise-making. Whether new to electronics making or an old hand, there’s something to absorb from some of the best mad sound scientists in the world. And our friends at …

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Make Noise with Circuits: Handmade Music Austin Video, Freebie Kit, More

Once upon a time, people made things from electronics. Boys, girls, laypeople made stuff. My Dad actually tinkered with Theremins growing up and subscribed to Popular Mechanics. Now, in an age of hyper-specialization, too many people assume that making sounds with geeky-looking, handmade electronics should be left to the pros. But give people some instruction and let them make some noise, and you might be surprised how eager people are to try something out. Noise making, it seems, is some sort of primeval human instinct. So, it comes as little surprise that the wizards of Austin got lots of people …

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