Play with Steve Reich’s techniques in a free iPhone app

Steve Reich’s musical etudes are already a kind of self-contained lesson in rhythm. Inspired by drumming traditions, Reich distills in his music essential principles of rhythmic construction, introducing Western Classical musicians to cyclic forms. That makes them a natural for visual scoring – doubly so something interactive, which is what an iPhone can provide. And so one percussion ensemble has made an app that both reveals Reich’s techniques and opens up a toy you can use to make your own musical experiments. Plus – it’s free.


Google are giving away experiments to teach music and code

Technology’s record in the last century was often replacing music making with music consumption. But in this century, that might turn around. Google seems to hope so. Today, the company posted a set of free sound toys on its site, all running in your browser. They’re fun diversions for now – but thanks to open code and powerful new browser features, they could become more.


MICKEYPHON is a terrifying giant robot head that’s also a musical instrument

Inside the computer, music software very often looks like it always did – faux mixers and multitracks and piano rolls. But in the hands of designers, musical objects are appearing as something very different. And those iconic mouse ears seem to be … following you.


“Raving with Tweens” Is What Dance Music Culture Needs Right Now

“When you grow up, you can be whatever you want. you don’t have to be a dj.” “This is lit.” “It’s just really fun dancing and stuff.” I’ve spent some time at Cielo and – all due respect to the residents – these kids. It’s funny, my Dad and I were on the phone yesterday and somehow wound up in a conversation about SFX Entertainment, and he asked me about their confusing use of the acronym “EDC” for electronic dance culture. It’s this. Then everything else will work out. There’s hope for all the rest of us yet. And, uh, …


Eat a Cucumber! A Musical Playground Gets Kids Hooked on Veggies, Music, and Electronics

Quick, we need kids to be able to express their feelings, they really ought to learn more about electronics, and – more veg. Definitely need to eat more vegetables. You know what we have to do. Let’s combine all that. Moscow-based collective/project Playtronica has gone wild with the Makey Makey “invention kit,” and built a whole range of projects around interfacing electronics to vegetables and other creative inputs. They have hands-on workstations for kids that look like your Farmers’ Market was taken over by Leon Theremin. Kids are making rhythms, recording sounds, making songs. And in a CDM-exclusive premiere, we …


GB Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and 13-Year Old Kelly Make Music Together

What unites the Green Bay Packers, Spina bifida, Maschine drum machines, miniBrute, a Milwaukee charity, and a 13-year-old girl? Well, this video. It’s easy to forget that music technology isn’t just about making a handful of superstars. Music making can be an essential part of expression for just about anyone, whether music is their primary professional vocation or not. And the tools we have now are part of being able to express ideas – not only in the way traditional music can, but with the same tools kids grow up hearing on records. It’s obvious, it’s essential … and yet …


Skrillex, as Reviewed By Very Young Children

This may already be the image you have in your mind of Skrillex’s fan base, but let’s get real: these are actual kids, and they really are getting introduced to electronic dance music through Skrillex for the first time. “What is dubstep?” Darned if I know any more, kid. What have we learned? 1. All kids sound cooler when they have English accents. (It’s unreal. They can be throwing a temper tantrum and still sound oddly sophisticated, or at least charmingly in-character. CDM’s sizable readership of English people may wonder what the heck I’m talking about, then dare me to …


Noisy Jelly: Gelatin Achieves Powers of Sound (And Make Your Own)

What if your musical instrument were gelatinous? Edible? “Noisy Jelly” is the latest project to imagine that scenario. Thanks to the capacitive quality of gelatin (known to us Americans by the brand name JELL-O and to some simply as “jelly”), you can mix up a set of colored instruments that jiggle when you touch them. Powered by the open hardware platform Arduino to read sensors and Max/MSP to produce sound, it’s the work of a couple of Paris-based students, RaphaĆ«l and Marianne Cauvard. Check out the terrific video featuring wide-eyed children, and specs below. What makes this more delightful is …


16-Week-Old Baby Plays Animoog on iPad, Spins Hypnotic, Trippy Solo

Deep thought: if this is what this young person’s baby toy looks like, what will his computer look like? Father Matt Durant writes to share a surprisingly spacey, expressive solo by his 16-week-old baby son: My baby son, Austin, touched an iPad for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I loaded up Moog’s new Animoog app and was blown away with what happened. Mom & I have never seen him so dexterous and thoughtful with any object before. Luckily I had my iPhone within reach so I was able to record his ‘performance’ in video. I’ve sent it …


A Handmade Children’s Book, a 7″ Vinyl Record, and Tangible, Handmade Music

In the midst of all this talk of intangible digital intellectual property and arcane licensing and Internet policy, there’s something comforting about thinking of music and art as something you make with your hands and give to someone. It was a discussion of that – even in the context of technology – that first led me to the discussion of “Handmade Music.” (Tip of the hat to my friend, Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb, with whom this discussion has crossed the Atlantic from Brooklyn to Berlin.) Via Cool Hunting, here’s an old-fashioned way of making a music object. The music is on …