Renoise 3 Beta Quick Tour: Patterns, Instruments, Chains, Macros for More Musical Creativity

The phrase “alternative universe” always seems to fit Renoise. Imagine a world in which the tracker metaphor – a music arrangement notion mostly associated with software from years ago, especially on Amiga – became dominant. From there, you begin to explain that Renoise is an instrument that brings that retro idea into a modern context. Well, Renoise 3.0’s beta has arrived. And this time, it feels like someone ripped open a wormhole and showed us this alternate future in all its glory, no holds barred. Renoise 3 is a radical step forward for the popular tool, challenging notions of what …

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A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile

Whether you’re building an experimental effect or performance tool or writing the Next Big Thing in Mobile Apps, you might need some signal compression. Working in Pure Data (Pd), it’s easy to create patches that get unruly, especially once you add live audio input. For mobile developers, things get even worse: you have to make your app work anywhere, with a range of devices, acoustic environments, microphones — the list goes on. The folks at Two Big Ears, who are working on their own rather lovely Android synth, have come to the rescue of Pd hobbyists and mobile developers alike. …

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Pocket VJ: Raspberry Pi Gets Super Pikix Pi – Free, Dedicated Visual App

Those silver machines with the fruit on them sure are great. And for now, PCs (whether Apple or Windows or Linux) are unparalleled in performance. But cheaper, dedicated hardware with the same flexibility of computers could grow in appeal. The Steambox promises to the gaming community that a dedicated box running Linux can best desktops and consoles alike. And in visuals, we could see something similar. Why wait? With a $25, tiny pocket-sized computer and a free VJ app, you can start now. Sure, it won’t exactly match that mini-tower you’re lugging around running TouchDesigner. But if you need to …

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Black Friday – Cyber Monday Deal Roundup, Codes

Black Friday, the ominous-sounding American retail holiday named originally for the day when retailers broke even (think black ink), is of course on today. Fortunately, for music and sound, there’s no need to get trampled to land some discounts. Here’s what’s in the CDM inbox – these aren’t paid placements and they’re hardly comprehensive, but some deals I thought were especially nice: Vinyl lovers everywhere, you may want to check your local store today. Record Store Day’s BACK TO BLACK FRIDAY is on. (I guess they resisted the urge to call it None More Black, Spinal Tap style.) Audiofile Engineering, …

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Bitwig Audio Clips Video: No Need for Bland, Endless Loops

Yes, you know the phenomenon – loops sometimes get repetitive, cycling without variation. You can’t really blame the tool; Ableton Live, for instance, certainly allows loads of variation with automation envelopes. But as demonstrated in the latest beta video, Bitwig Studio will provide plenty of functionality for editing changes in audio clips. I’m not totally in love with the content of the video itself – I hope we can give the beta a go soon to check out the stretching algorithm with some other audio. But the features look very nice indeed: Multiple audio events inside a clip Drag to …

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Launchpad + Raspberry Pi = Standalone Grid Piano Practice Machine, Boots in 10 Seconds

A standalone grid musical instrument? Done. And it can be a new way to venture into the worlds of harmony. Marc “Nostromo” Resibois is back with another clever Raspberry Pi hack. We saw him last fall, beating KORG to the punch with his own – digital – MS-20 mini, using the Pi. It’s still appealing, in that he has some other synth ideas the analog recreation can’t muster. This time, he’s made a standalone practice instrument for grid players, using a Novation Launchpad and the Raspberry Pi computer. Some shopping around for a Launchpad could mean you could put together …

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Wave Your Hands: 3-Axis Gesture Control in New Hot Hand USB Wireless

We’ve been seeing wave-your-hands-in-the-air gestural controls for music since the early part of the last century – thank you, Leon Theremin. But one of the more wholehearted efforts to make it useful has come from the makers of Hot Hand. Initially they peddled the idea to guitarists and bass players, who were already accustomed to adding additional expression to their hand via whammy bars and the like. The Hot Hand USB is the latest iteration, and now hopes to woo computer DJs and producers. The draw: plug-it-in, driver-free control of anything via MIDI, wirelessly. Whereas these sorts of things are …

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ANS – Amazing, Eerie Russian Optical Synth – Now on Every OS [Megaguide to ANS Old and New]

Few early instruments from the last century can still sound futuristic today. But the photoelectronic ANS synthesizer is an enormous vintage hardware device that can already stand toe to toe with today’s most bleeding-edge software. It’s a natural for an iOS conversion, and an incredible amount of fun to use in software form – but also makes this a good time to revisit just how forward-thinking the original was. Before electronics grew in wide use in musical instruments, sound designers took a cue from soundtracks for film. That is, before digital, before analog, there was optical. Sound artists, including a …

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Bitwig Instrument Clip Editing Looks Kinda Crazy, as 1.0 Demo Nears

Here’s a word not normally associated with music editing: histograms. We’ve been waiting a long time for Bitwig Studio, once announced, to actually ship something. The latest video reveals a bit of what they’ve apparently been up to: they’ve been going a bit wild building an obsessive-compulsive MIDI editing suite. Whatever happens with Bitwig, it seems that when it does ship, it could become the tool of choice for micro-edited techno. Histogram editing is the cleverest, if oddest, feature here. It allows you to view a sort of spectrum of notes, transforming various notes’ parameters at once.

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aleph, from monome: Programmable Sound Computer That Does Anything

monome, the iconic grid controller that launched them all, has always been a device tethered to a computer. Without a USB connection to your machine, it is an attractive but functionless box. The latest monome project, the result of a collaboration between Brian Crabtree and musician Ezra Buchla (yes, there’s a relation) is different. It is a computer, with all the functions that entails, but in a box designed for sound. It has: A brain: Two of them, in fact – a DSP chip (BF533 blackfin, 533 mHz with 64 MB SDRAM) and an AVR32 for control. Audio connections: 4 …

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