Brainpipe Interview: Creators of Trippy Indie Game Talk Interactive Sound

Funny, I’m usually able to “acheive” that most days. Ummm… art imitates life? Brainpipe is a psychedellic journey down the neural pathways, a long, strange trip into the minds of an unusual band of independent game designers. And while some games demand muscular graphics cards or brilliant flat panels, this is one that requires playing with headphones. The immersive sense of the descent down this brain’s pathway is entirely dependent on its sound. While even big development houses often license sound engines, the band of hard-core designers at Digital Eel also rolled their own interactive audio code to make the …

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Super Cute: Indie Rock Coloring Book

Super Cute Thursday (unplanned) continues, with an adorable indie rock coloring book. It’s hardly the first. STS9 and recently the lovely Riceboy Sleeps limited edition by Sigur Ros’ Jonsi and Alex came with coloring books. Perhaps inspired by musicians entering parenthood, it’s all the rage. If you can’t be pressured to select just one band for your (or your kids’) coloring pleasure, here’s The Indie Rock Coloring Book, a project of the Yellow Bird Project, which gives to artists’ charities. You get to not only color but solve mazes and connect-the-dots. Hey, with music increasingly intangible in the digital age …

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Osmos Game Available, with Brilliant Electronic Score

Osmos Trailer from hemisphere games on Vimeo. Osmos is a glorious glimpse of the fusion of electronic sound and game design many of us anticipate. It is built around a (challenging!) physics-based gameplay style – in the same vein as float-around-the-world games like flOw (and long before that, Asteroids) with procedural design and a perfect, liquid electronic soundtrack. Osmos became available DRM-free yesterday on Valve’s terrific Steam service for US$10 (on sale for a little less this week), and you can buy worldwide from the developer on Direct2Drive. (The developer has temporarily suspended direct sales from their site. Updated: the …

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Signs of Change, Ingenuity in Music Distribution

Photo (CC) Clonny. Details on Flickr. With the weakened world economy, content in general faces plenty of gloom and doom. Advertising models are severely weakened. But, oddly, in the world of music, there are some positive signs that the shift to decentralized, online distribution might actually be going well — and maybe economic pressures are simply ensuring the parties involved find some way to make the adjustment. And music distribution is becoming wonderfully weird and diverse – maybe far more so than in recording’s so-called golden age, an era in the past dominated by racial division, predatory labels, and a …

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Game Music Making: Kongregate Collabs to Connect Music Makers with Indie Games

Speaking of games, you can expect game production to start to attract the attention of musicians and web publishers. Whereas a few short years ago, targeting musicians might mean dangling rock club gigs or album sales, now a lot of those same music makers want to break into gaming, too. Kongregate is a bit like public access, only on steroids and for games. The idea is this: get indie game makers in one place contributing games, then get lots of people playing those games, then support the system with ad revenue shared with the game makers. The model has grown …

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REAPER v3: From MIDI to Automation to Guitar Hero Control, the Alt DAW Improves

Welcome to the alt-DAW scene. Last week, not only did Renoise continue its rebirth of the forgotten “tracker” genre of music making software with ReWire support, but we saw a big new version of REAPER, the beloved lightweight audio production tool from the original creator of Winamp. What makes an “alt DAW”, or “indie” production software? To me, it’s: small development teams of a few people tightly-integrated communities directly involved in feature requests trusting users instead of adding significant DRM, returning to the traditional “shareware” business model of old affordable pricing That’s not to take away from some of the …

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Half-Life 2 Gets Fan-Made Indie Series on a $500 Budget – But Man Hours Count More

“Evacuate City-17 at once — if not sooner.” It’s started. Once the domain of big-budget productions, cheap computers (and even open-source tools) now offer more than enough power to enable indie productions to imagine special effects. The remaining gaps: talent and skill. That’s why people actually shouldn’t be surprised that it’s possible to make a slick-looking sci-fi creation on a shoestring. “$500 budget”? Well, absolutely. Of course, what that doesn’t include is the incalculable, unpaid labor that went into production – the part that increasingly is the budget, now that you don’t need pricey film stock just to shoot or …

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Indie Bands: Taco Bell Wants to Feed You Burritos, Promote You on Hot Sauce

Photo: Morgan Tepsic. Does that mean South Korea has Taco Bells? I usually try to steer clear of the marketing crud, but this is too bizarre to pass up. Taco Bell, anxious to jump on this whole “indie music” bandwagon, is using the only currency it has: combinations of refried beans, cheese, rehydrated ground meat, and tortillas. Here’s the plan: they find 100 bands, and give them $500 in Taco Bell food while they’re on tour — just in case the burritos were the one thing breaking your tour budget. (Okay, there is that whole fuel cost and lodging thing, …

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Torrent: Listen to 700 Songs from South by Southwest

Correction: the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin is not making a preview of all the bands playing the festival this year, so someone else has done it for them (Thanks, Wells in comments, for setting me straight). But, hey, perhaps this not-so-kosher torrent will lead you to some good music — or, best of all, motivate you to go hear someone live. I’m sure somewhere in there there’s even an electronic artist or two. You’ve got 700 songs — nearly 4 GB of stuff. Just get ready to hit the “skip” button to find the stuff you like. …

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