october

Make DJ Charts from Traktor, and More Free Playlist Tricks

If DJing with vinyl leaves traces in our memory, recollections of physical handling of album sleeves and crates, then for digital DJing, we must rely on data. Traktor DJ is quietly noting everything you do as you play – at the gig, in the studio. The key is how to do something with that data. The coolest trick came last month from our friend Tomash Ghz – he of the superb Digital Warrior, among others. (Very keen to get back to my desk in Berlin to muck about with the latest step sequencer there, but I digress.) Tomash has whipped …

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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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Processing 2.0 Arrives; Where to Get Started Upgrading Your Creative Coding

It’s been a long time coming, but Processing this week has reached 2.0, a major landmark release. For graphics, video, data, and usability, it’s a big leap forward. The big story here is that the creative coding tool is both faster and simpler. An OpenGL engine, built by GLGraphics developer Andres Colubri, now powers everything. That makes extraordinary feats of graphic wonder possible (with shaders and the like), but it also irons out frustrating inconsistencies between renderers. The narrative is similar for video. Andres Colubri’s GSVideo library handles the video work, with high-performance HD (and function with the shaders) for …

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Why Mobile Low-Latency is Hard, Explained by Google; Galaxy Nexus Still Musicians’ Android of Choice

Saying your device isn’t as responsive to sound as you’d want is a bit like saying you’re feeling sick to your stomach. The symptom is easy to describe, and everyone would agree it’s not a desirable state. But the fix can be rather complex. And when it comes to engineers who care about music and sound, experiencing latency – or its equally evil mirror cousin, crackles-and-pops – will make you sick to your stomach. Google I believe is deserving of some criticism over this issue. Years of subsequent updates saw the company largely silent or unresponsive about critical audio issues. …

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Creative Coding, Evolved: Processing Nears 2.0 Release With Hot-Looking Beta 9

There’s a reason for Processing’s popularity. By making code simple, elegant, and direct, and catering directly to the kinds of visual ideas creative people have, the environment has made programming accessible to artists and designers in a way nothing else could. Coding no longer has to be a source of fear, or a bad word. But Processing, years into its life, has also badly needed a refresh. 2.0 is more than just a house cleaning. It’s a new direction, with “modes” that mean it’s no longer tied to old desktop Java architectures. (See a tantalizing screenshot below – with the …

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Lightbender, an Audiovisual Color Organ Orb, and Other Painterly-Color Interface Resources

Blast from the past: this color organ is from 2007. But it’s a beautiful demonstration of light and sound, fused into a single interface, and thus worth mentioning as I pull together notes for a talk at Mapping Festival tomorrow here in Genève. Compare the 60s-vintage Lumigraph of Oskar Fischinger, which I write about today on Create Digital Music. In gooey pinks and purples, traced with imaginary sparks, the game controller-manipulated system resembles looking into the heart of a great jellyfish made of plasma. Lightbender v2 – audiovisual instrument from Sixth Sensor on Vimeo. From the notes, as well, are …

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megagrid

Meganome: A Massive Super-Monome Capable of Jazzy Rhythmic and Melodic Robotic Feats

Minneapolis-based artist Patrick Flanagan is no ordinary drummer or electronic musician. His rig does everything the hard way – and the results are fantastic. With robotic drum kit mechanically playing acoustic drums, his fingers command complex feats of rhythm and melody from an oversized, custom grid controller. There are idiomatic musical possibilities unlocked by software he’s built in Max/MSP and Java. Repeat increments, of the sort found in drum machines, produce complex rhythmic figuration on multiple drums – partly because, unlike the dumber implementation on drum machines, it’s possible to play multiple repeat increments at the same time. (In other …

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Awesome Universe of Creative Coding, Explained in Five Minutes [Video]

“What’s creative coding?” At last, we have a five-minute video that, in rapid-cut wonder, explains the answer to lay people – and can be a serious dose of inspirational adrenaline to people doing it. (If designers and artists had locker rooms, watching this before tackling that next Processing tutorial might be in order.) Cover the big three of open-source, free-software toolkits for artists – Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Cinder – and showing everything you can do with them (from big-screen video walls to generative fashion), the video has nearly all the bases covered. In fact, the only thing missing is you: …

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'The Nature of Code' Book Illustrates Coding Design Secrets – And Power of Self-Publishing

In traditional visual arts, some knowledge of color theory and form is essential to being expressive. From there, you move on to tricks of shading and perspective. These shared understandings allow even radical experimentation: the likes of Picasso, Dalí, and even Pollock played with their classical inspirations and training. Creative programmers have a bag full of tricks that underly a lot of the flashier, cooler effects in their work. These can, in turn, be a window into understanding foundations of math and geometry. (I imagine how much better I would have been at progressing later in mathematics had I been …

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‘The Nature of Code’ Book Illustrates Coding Design Secrets – And Power of Self-Publishing

In traditional visual arts, some knowledge of color theory and form is essential to being expressive. From there, you move on to tricks of shading and perspective. These shared understandings allow even radical experimentation: the likes of Picasso, Dalí, and even Pollock played with their classical inspirations and training. Creative programmers have a bag full of tricks that underly a lot of the flashier, cooler effects in their work. These can, in turn, be a window into understanding foundations of math and geometry. (I imagine how much better I would have been at progressing later in mathematics had I been …

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