"Look, [darling significant other], it'll even be totally at home in our modern decor!" Photos courtesy the artist.

Flying Saucer UFO Controller, Ultrasonic MIDI Instrument; Coming as Kit [Arduino]

The desire to be a little different in a band might drive someone to choose a custom guitar, or maybe, you know, change their hair. For some, it drives them to build a giant flying saucer they can play like an instrument by waving their hands. No, MIDI controller, don’t destroy Earth. Klaatu barada nikto. That’s the case with Helsinki-born artist Tommi Koskinen, now doing this as part of an MA thesis in the Media Lab of Aalto University. Another strange gestural controller? Yes. But this flying saucer might just land a bit closer to home. This is just the …

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anushri

Mutable’s Anushri Bundles Sequencing, Drums, Synthesis, CV in One Hobbyist-, Modular-Friendly Kit

Call it the Mutable Fun Pack. The Synth Happy Meal. The Family Variety Bucket. The Anushri doesn’t have quite the sound design depth that Mutable’s Shruthi-1 does, but in its place, you get a whole mess of different features. It’s an analog synth, with an additional digital oscillator. It’s got its own step sequencer/arpeggiator. It’s got an 8-bit, bit-crushed drum machine. And it has analog connections for modulars in addition to MIDI, so modular lovers can put it into a Eurorack if they like. In fact, it seems to bring some of the compact, lovable features of Roland’s 101 and …

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Synth of the Weekend: Fatduino is Sequenced Homebrew Goodness [Fat Man + Arduino]

There are wonderful oddities of synth creation breeds out there in the wild — strange, one-of-a-kind birds with three wings and forked duck-bills and other oddities. They might not all be practical for more than their creator, but like evolutionary anomalies, some adaptation or design feature might well make it into other productions – all the more reason that open schematics and permissive licenses could benefit the larger ecosystem, the rich, muddy wetland marsh of sounds. Friend and neighbor Marc Resibois points me this week to the Fatduino. It’s pertinent to our discussion of marriages between DIY synths and the …

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meeblipse_angle

MeeBlip SE: Making Our Open Synth Hardware Better, More Available, Starting Now

The original vision of the MeeBlip was to make something affordable, something open and hackable, something anyone could get, something that could tell a story, and something we’d use to make some music. And since those are all goals of Create Digital Music, too, it’s a perfect physical compliment to what we do. For me, personally, it means putting my money where my (blogging) mouth is. It’s a chance to learn. So that makes this a really special week. It hasn’t been easy getting here, but now the MeeBlip begins its second chapter. This week, we’re announcing availability of the …

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PAL198X Video, Featuring Neon Indian – Bleep Labs Synth, Probably Best Promo Ever

The Bleep Labs 198X, a mini analog synth co-designed with the band Neon Indian, is now here. It’s a pocketable three-oscillator synth – all triangle oscillators – that in addition to three knobs and light sensors lets you plug in control voltage or other devices and sensors in order to modulate its sound. That makes for some good, bleepy, party-clearingly noisy fun. And then there’s the Neon Indian-produced promo video, which is … insane. So there’s that. The synth itself you get as part of a $50 package that also includes vinyl, a CD, a t-shirt, and a poster. Hopefully …

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Analog and Modular Video Gear with LZX Industries; Live in Austin TX

Visualists are no longer safe from the addiction of modular racks. LZX Industries is bringing the Eurorack modular system, popular with a new generation of modular synthesists, to video. And in abstract, acidic washes of color and light, the results are mesmerizing. Modular systems remain a significant investment. LZX’s “minimal” systems run over a grand, with a properly balanced rack of modular units running you some US$2675. That’s not to say that’s not a value, if you can afford it: in contrast to the tricky-to-repair, largely disposable high-end laptops a lot of digital visualists buy, this is a set of …

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x0xb0x, Open Source Hardware and TB-303 Clone, Has a Renewed Future; Q+A

Photo (CC-BY-SA) Brandon Daniel. Open source hardware may not sound like something that would produce a huge musical hit – unless you’ve met the x0xb0x. A clone of Roland’s legendary TB-303 bassline generator, the open version offered not only greater afford-ability than the now-rare antique, but expanded possibilities for hacking the hardware into a musical device you could love as your own, all with the backing of an impassioned community. The gadget was designed by Limor Fried and an unidentified “crazy German engineer” who has kept his identity private. (I wish I had my own secret crazy German engineer. Darnit. …

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Austin + SxSW Handmade Music, New Kit, Super Show of Music

Austin is whirling with South by Southwest excitement, so why not make some swirly radio noises? Yes, Handmade Music Austin does have a big blowout party in the midst of South by, with a huge music lineup. Wish I could be there, gang, but I’ll be staying here in NYC. On the docket: FREE performances starting at noon by Florene, The Hearts & the Minds, WHITE, The Loud Objects, Bodytronix $10 for a workshop Registration and details: Handmade Music Austin #6 Super Show + update Eric Archer writes:

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Last-Minute Holiday Shopping: Geeky Gift Ideas, even for the Non-Musician

Andromeda MK-1 and MK-2 from Eric Archer on Vimeo. Thanks to the miracles of express shipping, there’s still time to give the gift of music technology for various holidays. (And I do mean the holiday season, not just Christmas – for me, it extends neatly to my birthday on January 13, which in turn falls before the music tech holiday NAMM.) Geeky goodness There are really wonderful sound makers out there to give to beginners and enthusiasts alike. MAKE:Magazine has done a fantastic job of covering terrific, affordable kits that anyone can use. I haven’t seen anyone – muscially inclined …

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Make Noise with Circuits: Handmade Music Austin Video, Freebie Kit, More

Once upon a time, people made things from electronics. Boys, girls, laypeople made stuff. My Dad actually tinkered with Theremins growing up and subscribed to Popular Mechanics. Now, in an age of hyper-specialization, too many people assume that making sounds with geeky-looking, handmade electronics should be left to the pros. But give people some instruction and let them make some noise, and you might be surprised how eager people are to try something out. Noise making, it seems, is some sort of primeval human instinct. So, it comes as little surprise that the wizards of Austin got lots of people …

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