cork_christmas

Listening: A Punky, Darkwave, Ice Level Game Austrian Christmas Album from Ireland; Laila Dub Christmas

Christmas in Cork, at – where else – McDonald’s. Photo (CC-BY-SA) jf1234. If you can find a spot in the rotation with your Mannheim Steamroller collection for something a bit different, CDM reader Leigh Walsh of Cork, Ireland sends in her work. She describes it as “punky gothy electronic … for Christmas,” with any proceeds benefiting Autism research. The single sounds crazy, but for me, things get good with the game world-like, shimmering “Secret Inside the Ice Level” and “Melody for the Sewn Princess” tracks. I can find myself mentally wandering an 8-bit ice cave level right now… Austrian Christmas …

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mannheimsteamrollercover

It’s Good to Be Mannheim Steamroller: Egyptian Artefacts, Wolves, and a Cape to Wear in the Studio – WSJ

Image: Jason Hickey. As Christmas revelers head out for last-minute shopping in the last surge of pre-holiday capitalism, they might catch over piped music the ouvre of one Mannheim Steamroller. For all the electronic artists we might imagine as representing the genre, this guy has sold one heck of a lot of Christmas records, in a strange brew of hyper-active electrified timbres and New Age. How many records? Well, enough that he is able to, from his Omaha home, raise wolves. Not yet fully grown, they require a full-time trainer (they now respond to commands in German), walks up to …

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Angry Birds in Christmas Lights, and a Green Message for Lighting

There is a time of year when the short days, hours of travel (this time over some 8000 km in the air), and holiday season make me want to post silly, insubstantial things. This is one of those posts. But, let me make some attempt at profundity: 1. Microcontrollers have put interactive lighting in the hands of even the festive home decorator. It’s true. (the rig here is “two computers and 10 Light-o-rama 16 channel controllers”) 2. Consider, ye who make mobile designs, the profound cultural impact these things have. Once reserved for blockbuster movies, and before that the spoken …

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musescorexmas

Lovely Christmas Songbook for iPad, Built with Open Source Scoring Tools (More Platforms Coming)

Have an uncommon yule with tools and music from the Commons. That’s the pitch (so to speak) of the Ultimate Christmas Songbook, an iPad app built with 50 Christmas songs and a fully free and open source notation engine. Making use of public domain songs, the number of songs available continues to grow as the community contributes tunes. (Those contributors got the app for free.) As notation proliferates on tablets, the app also suggests that “commercial” doesn’t have to mean “closed.” The scores themselves are available in open, cross-platform formats (MIDI, MusicXML, MuseScore, and PDF). But by generating revenues, the …

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From Christmas Tree Lights, A Lo-Fi Ableton Synth

It’s that time of the year, when the halls echo with the sound of … horrible electronic synthesized Christmas tunes, playing on endless loops from strings of lights and other cheap electronics! But wait – what if you could take those sounds and embrace their low-fidelity, chippy sounds to more inventive musical purposes? Turn to our friend AfroDJ, who has gradually built up several dozen Ableton Live racks. The latest samples Christmas tree lights for a festive, chiptastic holiday timbre. I just put up my Christmas tree and put on some lights that play Christmas songs. The songs are comprised …

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disco_ornament

What’s on Your Holiday Wish List – Beyond the Usual Suspects? (Open Thread)

Disco Christmas! Photo (CC-BY) paparutzi. Yes, it’s that gift-y time of year again, which naturally means among lovers of music technology, thoughts turn to gear wishes and dreams of new hardware. We’ve asked in the past what readers want in their stockings and presents – and, just as interestingly, what they’d give to others. And you’ve come up with fascinating ideas. This year, I’ll frame the question a bit differently: what, beyond the usual suspects, would you love to have? Books or music collections? Handmade or boutique items? Unique tools and toys that’d help you be creative? And what would …

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Thanksgiving Open Thread, Delivering in Beta

On US soil today, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m over 3600 miles away, myself, from the place that began as home this year in New York, but ready to celebrate a day off anyway as I take in Eindhoven’s STRP Festival and prepare for performing on Saturday back in Berlin. But whether you’re in the US or in one of the many other parts of the world where we count readers, let’s pause to consider what makes us thankful. I’m immensely thankful to have the opportunity to make music. I find it’s always worth reminding myself of that, and reminding to fight …

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hallopresets

Happy Halloween; Spooky Sound Presets for Moog’s Animoog on iPad

Instruments like the Theremin may be trying to shake off their association with fear, dread, and the unnatural. But the synthesizer has no such concern: after all, the Moog is pretty much a rock star, literally. So, for anyone fiddling around with the Animoog – hopefully including iPad owners who are newer to synthesis – you can now grab a bunch of presets to provide the perfect sonic accompaniment to this Halloween. The sounds are the work of synthesist/sound designers Drew Neumann and Kevin Lamb. And as if the app, currently on sale for $.99, weren’t already a steal for …

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Digital Fireworks: A Very Audiovisual 4th of July from Nalepa + Johnny de Kam

For a very different aesthetic take on the United States’ Independence Day celebrations, here’s electronic producer Steve Nalepa joining visualist superstar Johnny de Kam for a collaboration. I find it makes for some nice, chilled-out Monday, July 4 inspiration, wherever you are – no marching-band bombast required. Nalepa has been sharing his Ableton skills with the Dubspot school, online and off, and Johnny de Kam, if you don’t know his work, is one of the leading visualists on the planet, a skilled craftsman of motion and live visual performance, as well as a founder of visual software maker Vidvox. See, …

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LEGO Christmas Tree Plays Carols, Courtesy Max/MSP, Custom Electronics

Desmond Dodecahedron has the craziest way of celebrating the season I’ve seen this year: just build a giant Christmas tree from LEGOs, then use visual programming environment Max/MSP and some custom electronics to trigger tunes. Desmond writes: Once I discovered that the word “advent” was actually an abbreviation of “audio event” and the fact that we have had lots of snow in London – I decided to create this Christmas Carol note filtering tree. (in this case it is actually a midi event tree – but you get the general idea). Each pitch class of a Carol i.e. all the …

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