Last Days of Compact Disco: Album Lovers Hand-Make Musical Objects

While Mac blog TUAW calls on Apple to kill optical drives (does Apple need that kind of encouragement?), the shiny digital compact disc and the album in general still have their devotees. Sure, album sales are down. Sure, digital downloads are in. But look beyond business or practicality for a moment at these exotic hand-constructed musical objects, and what you see is sheer love. A hand-constructed CD or vinyl album is a gesture of making music for someone, not for the ether. I raised the issue early last month, and readers responded with lots of examples of handmade records, which …

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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 …

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Turntable-Based, Kinetic Sound Sculptures and Instruments

Works For Turntable from Stephen Cornford on Vimeo. Digital sound, and electronic sound in general, can become abstract. In fact, sound itself can be abstract. So there’s something beautiful about rendering sound as something kinetic, mechanical, and physical. Watch the hypnotic works by Stephen Cornford, top; as the video progresses, the pieces deepen in subtlety. (Thanks to Richard Devine for spotting this one.) Cornford isn’t the only artist finding new sonic frontiers in the turntable. From a recent event in San Francisco sponsored by our friends at MAKE Magazine, artist Walter Kitundu talks about his own fascination with the turntable …

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Round-up: Your Web-Connected Musical Future, at Music Hackday Stockholm

It’s like Woodstock for Web music tech nerds. Photo (CC-BY) Anton Lindqvist. “Okay,” you say to the Web geeks, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want another little app that looks at my iTunes collection and tells me that if I like Lady Gaga, I probably also like Madonna. I want to listen in new ways and, most importantly, make music. What have you got, Web 2.0… 3.0… whatever we’re on now, that I can actually use. I want some of the deliciousness of the future, now.” “Oh, and another thing – can I patch this Android phone of mine in …

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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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Handmade Music Open Lab: Make Stuff, Get Inspired, Featuring Morgan Packard

Showcasing amazing projects is a good thing. But we know that no creation emerges fully-formed. They start from nothing, with lots of mistakes along the way. You get help and ideas from other people. And you need time. So this month’s Handmade Music in Brooklyn we’re declaring an Open Lab. Got a kit lying on your shelf, waiting to get made? Got a half-finished project that needs fixing? Just want to hang around some musical and visual DIYers and see what they’re up to? And just need a few hours to make some progress? That’s the idea. Software projects, hardware …

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Huggable Plush Synths and Soft Circuits, and Handmade Music NYC Thurs!

Electronics and synths are hard and you can’t hug them; plush animals and toys and blankets and pillows are soft and huggable. And we won’t even get started on the slightly-absurd gender associations of soft textiles and hard, toxic electronics. Or at least, so goes the traditional assumption. But increasingly, designers are becoming interested in soft design. So in a last-minute addition to Handmade Music NYC, Richie Brown has added plush instruments – a ring modulator and two synths, which in turn can be patched together. They’re instruments you can hug. (Next step: make the connections soft, too, I think.) …

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Handmade Music March Noise and Mayhem Recap; Call for Stuff Next Thursday

Wonderful things happen when you invite lovers of noise together in a room. Musicians and non-musicians, electronics geeks and first-timers, folks pick up a soldering iron — often for the first time — and cause utter mayhem. So we again had a fantastic time at Handmade Music last month. I’ve just gotten the photos in, so decided to share. We’re looking for folks to bring stuff to Handmade Music on 4/16 – see the bottom of the article and give us a shout if you have software or hardware creations to share. They don’t even have to work, entirely – …

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Handmade Music: Creative Hardware + Software, Plus Make Your Own Noise Toy

Wall•E Loves Noise Toys (part 1) from Gian Pablo Villamil on Vimeo. This Thursday night, if you’re in NYC, you’ll want to be in Brooklyn – and around the world, stay tuned as always to CDM. Handmade Music projects will again explode into the nerdster party in Brooklyn, with more ways to get involved worldwide. The science fair-meets-music lounge event hits Thursday night, and this time, you can walk home with your very own noisemakers – no musical or electronic experience required. Tristan Perich, composer, sound artist, inventor, and 1-bit music maker will be onhand from Loud Objects to share …

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Handmade Motion: DIY Visuals Wanted for Brooklyn Event, Too

It’s called “Handmade Music,” but I’m hopeful CDM’s ongoing DIY party in Brooklyn will start to add more visualists. Jay Smith of Livid has made an appearance, and most recently we were able to feature the wonderful, circuit-bent Nintendo console motion art of noteNdo (Jeff Donaldson), pictured above. We have a lovely projector ready to go and lots of interesting spaces on which to project. This month’s edition will also feature great music by Terry Dame and the Electric Junkyard Gamelan; it’d be great to have some live visuals with it. Info on the current Handmade Music: Handmade Music 2/19: …

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