Pushing the Live Performance Envelope in LA: Mike Slott, Artists on Video; Party Friday

Music has always moved forward when people get together to play. Groups of artists in Los Angeles’ Interface LA collective – and other California groups, like LoveTech and – are challenging each other to keep expanding their technique in playing electronics live. I’m pleased with CDM and some of our friends to support a party Friday night in downtown LA celebrating playing live. Interface LA is a group centered on live electronic music performance and interactions. We’ll be bringing you video coverage after the event here, thanks to talented videographer Charlie Visnic. But we can kick things off now …


Tetrafol, Sound Object by monome + machineproject + Fol Chen, in Videos, Sounds, and Interview

LA-based bang Fol Chen (Asthmatic Kitty records) wanted to go beyond the computer as the playback and manipulation device for their music. So they worked with collaborators to invent a solution. In a new video, sounds, and an interview, we can share some of how this came into being. Built with the monome creators (Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain) and LA research and experimentation center Machine Project, the Tetrafol is a custom, pyramidal sound device. The object warps Fol Chen’s music using gestural manipulation of playback, but can also use your own samples. And with open-source circuit and firmware, the …


Good Listening, Good Taste: Selection of Ghostly Sonic Output, Inspiration for Getting Things Made

More than just a label, Ghostly is establishing itself as a hub of design, as in the new poster series by Swiss artist Sonnenzimmer, available from their online store. With artists likewise drawing heavily from visual inspiration, the connection between sight, sound, and taste is an evocative one. Photo courtesy Ghostly International. You can expect to see ongoing appearances by Ghostly International, the 12-year-old label with roots in Detroit that has since established firm outposts in California and New York, in these pages. (Pixels?) The reason is simple: Ghostly is a grand experiment in how to retain relevance as a …


Workshop in LA: Make Your Own Musical Tools, Free, with Processing and Pd

Music visualization in Processing by yours truly. If you’re in the LA area, I’m teaching a reasonably beginner-friendly workshop in making musical tools with visual interfaces, using entirely free software (Processing and Pd, on Mac, Windows, Linux, and if you like, Android). It’s this coming Thursday night, September 8 – the perfect way to get back to school! (For me, too…) I’ll also be sharing some resources as I put them together for that workshop, so wherever you are, keep an eye on CDM soon. The workshop is US$60, but you’ll leave with the skills you need to make your …


Free Patching Circles: In SoCal, A Community Gathers Around Multimedia Creation with Pd

Handmade software distribution: homebrewed USB keys store free software. Photo courtesy Theron Trowbridge. Imagine Pd everywhere. Pure Data, a free tool for constructing music and media by creating graphical code, is spotted this week hacked to run on a lowly Nook tablet and interfacing with the powerful Kinect camera system. A community in Los Angeles and Southern California is growing around the idea of the “patching circle,” in which users of various tools (Processing, Max for Live welcome, too) gather to share the process of making, like knitting circles of yore. (Yeah, okay, I made up the term, so you …


Hawken, Upcoming Indie Mech Game, Stuns Eyeballs; Learns Lessons from Model Kit Building and Kitbash

The craft of photorealistic gaming has risen to astounding heights, but look-alike art direction can overshadow its technical achievement. Not so with an extraordinary-looking indie title called Hawken. The mech combat first-person shooter, built in the Unreal Engine, is crafted in a way that speaks to the possibilities of digital technique to spin imaginary worlds, and to build integrated aesthetics. As Technical Lead Jon Kreuzer told PC Gamer, the nine-person LA studio reused components to construct the world of the game: “Many parts of the levels are created by combining re-usable building blocks into unique structures, which can allow new …


Tupperware Music, Guitar Robots, Polyphonic Makerbot – Handmade Music LA Tonight

dromama from Altitude Sickness on Vimeo. Wherever you are in the world, here’s some geeky inspiration to kick off this summer weekend. And if you’re in the Los Angeles area, you should absolutely, positively be on Venice Boulevard tonight at 8pm at hacker venue CRASH Space for Handmade Music, gone LA. In the lineup: circuit bent toys, robotic guitars, MakerBots, monomes, and microcontroller synths, with Altitude Sickness, Ian Hattwick, The Sweaty Caps, Theron Trowbridge, and Vince Wong. It’s free at 8 pm, but if you can donate the recommended $10, you can help CRASH Space become a not-for-profit. Full details …


"Broken Fingaz" Graffiti Stop Motion for The Glitch Mob

Broken Fingaz -Graffiti Stop Motion from Broken Fingaz on Vimeo. The Glitch Mob, a talented team of musical artists based in LA, are readying their debut album, and along with that comes a range of collaborations with visual materials, too. I covered The Glitch Mob’s upcoming activities, complete with a free song download from the upcoming album, over on Create Digital Music. That includes some details of how they’re handling multiple laptop performers at once, work with the Lemur touchscreens, and sync and collaboration issues — all equally relevant to visuals as to music. (In fact, it’s worth a gander …


Beyond NAMM: LA Friday Night Party, Music Tech Panel – It’s Gonna Be The Future Soon

Photo courtesy Droid Behavior from a previous year. In Anaheim this week, the music manufacturer trade gather to show their wares. But 8pm – 4am Friday night, we party. “Wham Bam Thank You NAMM” has become an annual tradition, an unofficial afterparty of sorts for the first two days of the trade show. This year’s lineup: John Tejada, Richard Devine, Flashbulb, Deru, Laura Escude, Scott Pagano, CPU, DJ Kero, Acid Circus, Derek Michael, Baseck, Eezir, Trifonic, DJ G Ov, Moldover, Henry Strange, and myself, among others. Escaping from the Anaheim Convention Center doldrums, the event is held in the lovely, …


Got a Product at NAMM? Get in Our Guide, Request Meetings; Correspondents Wanted

Yes, folks, NAMM is big. Photo (CC) If you’re introducing or demonstrating new products at NAMM, and you’d like to be considered for CDM’s curated NAMM products guide, let us know. Incidentally, since I don’t represent the NAMM organization, that can mean anyone in LA around NAMM or otherwise timing announcements that week, whether or not you’re an exhibitor. One- and two-person shops are as welcome as big manufacturers, as always. There is no charge to be in the CDM guide, excepting the need to have something cool. We can’t cover everything and want to avoid information overload, but …