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Beyond Traditional Instruments, a Status Report from the SoundLab

There’s nothing more personal than creative expression. And so experimenting with how you make music is more than just novelty: it’s a way to understand the fundamentals of how we relate to machines. And thinking outside the normal avenues means the ability to reach new people, as SoundLab is doing with audiences with learning disabilities. Ashley Elsdon joins us to give us the latest of how the project is going. A little while ago, CDM kindly posted a piece on our SoundLab project, which aims to help people with learning disabilities make music and collaborate in music creation. That was …

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An Entire Building in Stockholm Just Became a Game Board

Not satisfied with producing hundreds of records and working with a litany of famous names, sound artist / composer / musician HÃ¥kan Lidbo several times a year embarks on some novel experiment in sound and interactivity. In the latest, he’s worked with smart lightbulbs from Philips to transform an entire building in Stockholm into your very own personal game board. They’re calling it the world’s biggest Master Mind game, and who are we to argue? The idea is, windows become pixels, and you play online to try to guess the color code of your opponent, in a game of wits.

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How Gestures and Ableton Live Can Make Anyone a Conductor of Mendelssohn [Behind the Scenes]

Digital music can go way beyond just playback. But if performers and DJs can remix and remake today’s music, why should music from past centuries be static? An interactive team collaborating on the newly reopened Museum im Mendelssohn-Haus wanted to bring those same powers to average listeners. Now, of course, there’s no substitute for a real orchestra. But renting orchestral musicians and a hall is an epic expense, and the first thing most of those players will do when an average person gets in front of them and tries to conduct is, well – get angry. (They may do that …

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djrig

A Solar-Powered, Outdoor DJ Booth and Interactive Dance Floor for Public Playgrounds

Swingsets? Basketball courts? Dutch interactive design firm Yalp imagines populating futuristic public playgrounds with DJ decks and dance floors, for today’s teens. First, there’s the Fono DJ booth. It’s an outdoor public DJ booth, steel-cased with 14 light-up touch panels. Add a couple of phones, and kids can stream their own music, using the touch panels to control the settings. (In case you’re afraid your neighborhood is about to turn into a teen Ibiza, the makers emphasize that they let the installer choose maximum volume levels and times when the system shuts down.) Then, in case you want to dance …

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As My Guitar Gently Weeps with a Japanese Politician

While my elected representative gently weeps? Yes, don’t miss this video, going social today, from Japan, in which a guitarist perfectly times playing to a politician’s sob story. You might assume this isn’t relevant to CDM. But let’s say it hits the whammy bar — on your MIND. Earlier this month, I attended the NIME2014 conference – New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Year after year, groups like these discuss the merits of instrumental interfaces for expression. Generally, instruments like the guitar – good. Instruments like the piano – bad. No ability to add nuance after you hit a note, no …

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A New Lab Opens Music Making to People with Learning Disabilities

Let’s face it: the initial audience for the first version of music tech is often the developers. That impulse to build something for yourself is a perfectly reasonable one. But music technology is constantly producing new ways of creating music, and that means it has to learn quickly. Unlike, say, a guitar, it can’t build on centuries of experience. And if the industry and music technology community are to consider how to reach more people, why not go beyond just average markets? Why not open up music making to people who have been left out? If music making is an …

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Plaid’s Tether is an Interactive Web Song You Can Remix – Music, or Code

Now that your Web browser can do what music creation software can do, presenting a song can be more than just giving people a play button. And allowing people to “remix” your music might mean sounds and software alike. First, there was Jono Brandel’s terrific Patatap with Lullatone. Press keys on your keyboard, and a warm, Lullatone-inspired sample machine delights with brightly-colored abstract objects and sounds, a sort of custom browser beat box. Patatap went viral, perhaps because it brought musical wonder to the carousel of distracting tabs on the Web. Now, Jono Brandel (of the Google Creative Lab, with …

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How Gloves and Wearable Tech Could Change Music Performance: In Depth with Imogen Heap and Team

In fits and starts, musical interface inventors have tried for decades to make manipulating digital music more expressive. But that persistence comes out of a clear goal post. They want the machine’s seemingly-endlessly possibilities to fit the human like a glove. Imogen Heap is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of electronic musical performance, always making it seem as effortless as her songwriting and stage presence. For the Gloves Project, she assembled a super-team of wearable experts, interaction designers, and music researchers, several doctorates between them. This who’s-who have finally unveiled a project they’re ready to make public, and the …

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“Ghost Box”: Imagine Anything, Realized with 3D Printing, Projection, Interaction, Illusion [Interview]

It looks like an arcade cabinet. But inside, 16th-century illusion meets 21st-century projection and fabrication techniques to produce a booth that can let users imagine new products. It’s the power to transform special effect into real creation. Chicago-based creative studio Leviathan, teaming up with music foundry Waveplant, produced the project. Moving from an early art experiment to a commercial application, they combined a number of ingredients into a box for dreaming up custom designs. The elements: Projection mapping with a moving object (a technique we’ve seen with growing frequency) The “Pepper’s Ghost” effect – sometimes dubbed a “hologram” by folks …

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"Ghost Box": Imagine Anything, Realized with 3D Printing, Projection, Interaction, Illusion [Interview]

It looks like an arcade cabinet. But inside, 16th-century illusion meets 21st-century projection and fabrication techniques to produce a booth that can let users imagine new products. It’s the power to transform special effect into real creation. Chicago-based creative studio Leviathan, teaming up with music foundry Waveplant, produced the project. Moving from an early art experiment to a commercial application, they combined a number of ingredients into a box for dreaming up custom designs. The elements: Projection mapping with a moving object (a technique we’ve seen with growing frequency) The “Pepper’s Ghost” effect – sometimes dubbed a “hologram” by folks …

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