Interfacing Music with Light, A Musical Instrument Makes Performance Mysterious, Surprising

24 light sensitive sensors ‘lightefface’ – arduino + max/msp from kaziem on Vimeo. One of my earliest memories is of the piano. We’ve become so accustomed to this contraption, that it’s easy to lose sight of the pleasure of touching the apparatus of the keys and hearing sound. So, perhaps the endless experimentation with sensors and interfaces – whether entirely practical or not – is a chance to rediscover the wonder of the connection of body to sound. For all we might talk about precision in expression or making clear the connection of gesture to noise for player or audience, …

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Look, Ma, Hands: iOS Theremin App Draws from Tannerin, Martenot, Trautonium

So, you want to go beyond conventional, piano-style keys and guitar frets. Even if the ultimate goal is hardware, the touch interface of iOS is a lovely blank canvas on which to experiment. In the latest app, the work of UK-based graphic designer Paul Betowski, the Theremin proves a jumping-off point to other instruments, like the 1928 Ondes-Martenot, 1929 Trautonium, and the instrument used on The Beach Boys’ legendary “Good Vibrations”: the Tannerin or Electro-Theremin. The new app is called the E Theremin – an Electro Theremin – but it owes more to the “Good Vibrations” instrument than the wave-your-hands-in-the-air …

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PPG WaveMapper for iOS, Sequel to Beloved Synth, Adds Graphical ‘Mapping’ [Coming Soon]

It looks like it might be some sort of synthesis board game. But the grid above is actually a way of using touch to design new hybrid sounds. And it could appeal to both newcomers and synth die-hards alike. Wolfgang Palm must really like his iPad. The digital synthesis pioneer, the founder of classic maker PPG and credited with inventing wavetable synthesis, has already had a thunderous debut on the iPad. His PPG WaveGenerator has been one of the best-reviewed synths for Apple’s mobiles yet. But, apparently not resting on his laurels, he’s already back with a sequel, the PPG …

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In-app editing, at last. Without switching to your Mac or PC, you can now edit or create layouts right on Lemur. Images courtesy Liine.

Make Controller Layouts Right on an iPad: New Lemur Arrives, LiveControl 2.0 Soon [iOS; Gallery]

Once the layout is done, using an iPad as an interactive, do-anything-you-want, Star Trek-style music and visual controller is a unique pleasure. But as your fingers surf through virtual knobs and faders, the idea has surely occurred to you: why can’t I actually do my editing and layout on the iPad? Lemur is perhaps the most powerful controller app anywhere, a terrific demonstration of why a tablet controller can be useful. And its editor – directly descended from the editor that went with the original, pre-iPad Lemur hardware – is powerful, unquestionably. But switching between an editor on the desktop …

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Classic KORG Polysix, Reimagined for iPad, Becomes All-in-One Workstation

In designing for Apple’s mobiles, KORG has again turned to equipment from their past. Having reinterpreted the ElecTribe and MS-20, their newest target is the versatile, classic Polysix. The 1981 original brought programmable polyphony to keyboard lovers, with analog oscillators, memory storage, six-voice polyphony, and various effects and modulation. For iOS, Korg models that sound (having done so already with the desktop Legacy Collection), and mimics the front-panel. But even more so than on the DS-20 rendition (iMS-20), they pack in modern features that make this a production tool as much as a synthesizer. That should be welcome news for …

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Concept: Rubik’s Cube as Interactive Electronic Music Tool Interface [Video]

MusixCube from Stefan Horak on Vimeo. It’s just a concept, but it’s an excellent one: the classic Rubik’s Cube here is transformed into a tangible music interface. Grid squares light up as icons, colored feedback animates sounds, and twisting the blocks around provides access to interface options and even parameter control. Someone. Make this happen. From Kiel, Germany (north of Hamburg) and artist/student Hauke Scholz. Hauke, let’s do this for real. A tool for producing electronic music, based on the interaction of the Rubik’s Cube, B.A. Thesis project at Muthesius Academy Of Fine Arts And Design by Hauke Scholz Video …

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Minority Report Meets GarageBand: Airborne Beats is Hand-Controlled Music Making

From the Lab: Airborne Beats from Oblong Industries on Vimeo. With hand gestures recalling those that first reached the mainstream in Minority Report, “Airborne Beats” lets you make music just by gesturing with your hands and fingers in mid-air. You can drag around audio samples, and make gestures for control, controlling both production and performance. Coming from the labs at Oblong, it’s the latest etude in a long series of these kind of interfaces (see below). They in turn point out this could work with any time-based interface. And because of the nature of the interface, it also makes those …

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MOTU's revamped interface now comes with themes, like this lovely black version. And it runs on Windows, not just Mac. DP8, SONAR X2 each tune these mature DAWs; here's a look at what they have to offer. Image courtesy MOTU.

Two DAWs Ship: SONAR X2, MOTU DP8 – As DP8 Invades Windows, Too

Two DAWs, announced earlier this year, are now shipping this week. One is Cakewalk’s SONAR X2 for Windows, which extends the new user interface overhaul – loved by some, despised by others – unveiled in X1. But PC stalwart Cakewalk has new competition on the Windows platform. MOTU’s DP8, apart from being a fairly significant overhaul for Mac users, also marks the arrival of that DAW on Windows. The timing is interesting, too, as there have been long gaps in the release cycle for two other DAWs – Apple Logic and Ableton Live – that are widely expected to be …

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Dreamy Graphical Granular Greatness: Borderlands is Coming to iPad Soon

Borderlands Granular from Christopher Carlson on Vimeo. If the tablet has a strength, it’s in re-imagining software as something truly immersive – no knobs, no switches, just a futuristic wash of visuals and sound, like touching noise with your fingertip. Borderlands (soon to have a slightly different name) hints at that promise. We took a look inside the idea behind the app and the thought process that led to its design in April: Borderlands, Amazing-Looking Granular Sampler [iPad, Desktop, Free Source], and Beautiful Sound But now the video teaser above is probably enough to really whet your appetite. And there’s …

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Radio in an Online Age, Made Tangible: Skube Are Smart, Last.fm + Spotify Speakers

Computers give you sophisticated ways of connecting to online music. But do you ever miss that physical object of the radio? Or wish that a speaker could be just as smart when, with a sigh of relief, you’ve pressed the laptop lid shut? Skube is a design experiment from Copenhagen focused on making portable devices more connected and communal sharing easier. They’re speakers that you might consider members of the Internet of Things, using Arduino and Xbee wireless networking to make the device mobile while piping sounds from Spotify and Last.fm. Here’s some demo footage of the speakers in action: …

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