iPhone Gets New Groove Boxes: Is it Live Synthesis, or is it Canned?

The iPhone has become an almost absurdly-popular platform for music apps this year, even given more capable, more plentiful PCs. But to those who don’t yet “get” the appeal, talk to a mobile music addict: having the ability to be creatively musically in corners of time that would otherwise go unused, like a cramped bus ride, can be a beautiful thing. (Now, you start talking about taking away my PC/Mac experience, and I will start screaming in agony – but that’s a topic for a separate post.) The question is, what form should that app take? Today, I’ve got an …

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ParamDrum: Reaktor-Powered Drum Sequencer an Rx for Drum Variety

ParamDrum TR Edition from Peter Dines on Vimeo. Imagine a machine that lets you walk a thin line between control and chaos. You’ll be tweaking it, for sure – you’ll want to invest a sufficient amount of time shaping its sounds and adjusting its instruments to alter its flightpath. But once set in motion, it will give you variety and delicious insanity. That’s the idea behind Peter Dines’ ParamDrum, a Reaktor drum machine with granular goodies inside providing sample manipulation and a set of clear sequenced controls for adjusting parameters. The “Param” bit refers to the parameters you’ll control – …

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Audiomulch 2.0, Available Mac+PC; Live Patching Video with Hypnotic Guitar

AudioMulch 2.0 live patching screencast from AudioMulch on Vimeo. Wonderful things come from Australia. Developer Ross Bencina has released AudioMulch 2.0, the audio patching environment, now on both Mac and Windows. Audiomulch is all pretty in black now with a new UI. But why is it special? AudioMulch has always been distinguished in its quick workflow, its ready-to-use objects that allow sophisticated patches with relatively simple structures, and its idiosyncratic soundmakers. The Metasurface multi-parameter controller is also a favorite. The price is higher, which may scare away some – US$189, or $89 upgrade. There’s a 60-day trial that you can …

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Loops for Real Drummers: Musicianship, Technology Don’t Have to Compete

Loops have gotten an unfortunate reputation as being a stand-in for real musicians or real musicianship – perhaps because, too often, they are. That’s why it’s always refreshing to see a discussion of how looping can incorporate musical technique. Like many electronic musicians, I have zero background in drumming; I’m a keyboardist and was trained in Classical Piano. But then, part of the gift of being a composer is getting inside the heads of musicians who play instruments you can’t. And when it comes to understanding rhythm, there’s a limitless supply of work to explore from around the world. Ryan …

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Buddha Machine 2: All-in-One $25 Ambient Box Gets a Sequel

  In the midst of the US election, I missed an important announcement: the smash hit Buddha Machine, a mysterious little $25 gadget that generates its own ambient music, has a sequel. You might think of Buddha Machine 2 as Buddha Machine Pro. New features: A bigger sonic palette, with nine loops Pitch bend (which the creators describe as being “like a whammy bar for your buddha box”) Three colors (well, it is a consumer product of sorts!) Expanding the sonic capabilities will be a welcome change. The packaging is wonderful, with a symbolically-appropriate lotus flower and a round hole …

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Touch the Wave: Free Looping and Scratching Audio on iPhone, Elsewhere

Looping and scratching audio is so familiar at this point that it may be hard to know what more can be done with the concept. But I like the looks of Touch the Wave, a new iPod touch / iPhone app. It gets back to basics with some fairly simple audio looping and repitching. The twist: it uses multiple, color-coded loop points, and has the ability (if I’m looking at this right) to download audio from URLs. The app is the work of Yuki Yasoshima, and it’s free. Touch the Wave on iTunes App Store (in Japanese, but available outside …

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Korg Kaossilator 4-Bar Loop Hack

Intrigued by the Kaossilator, but annoyed by hearing two bars over and over and over and over…? Our friend David Battino has the solution, and while it’s a simple trick, it wound up being the deal-maker for buying Korg’s cute little “dynamic phrase synth”: What loosened my credit card was a secret hack Korg revealed during fact-check: If you power up the Kaossilator while holding down the Tap and Loop Rec buttons, the loop memory doubles from two bars to four. That may not sound like much, but it gives you time to set up tension and release; I find …

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Interview: Geeking Out with Fennesz on Sound and Performance

Fennesz at Mutek‭ ‬2008 Fennesz and Lillevan at Mutek 2008 from Create Digital Media on Vimeo. I met with Christian Fennesz and video artist Lillevan in the green room of the Theatre de Nouveau Monde, where they would be performing together at A/Visions 3. Fennesz had no idea what visuals Lillevan would be using that evening, but they say they have known each other for a long time and there is an element of trust there. The trust was well placed because their performance was lovely and memorable, often using oceanic and watery themes projected over the top of both …

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VJ Fader Releases 38 Free VJ Loops

This retro-inspired color-on-black loopset is a great starter pack. 282 Megabytes worth of 640×480 PhotoJPEG Quicktimes. Preview of the loops in action in a live set to Fabric 38 M.A.N.D.Y. Created by VJ Fader using the 3D-Stroke After Effects Plugin. Download Page || Direct Download

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3L Beta Giveaway: artificialeyes’ Generative Performance Tool Nearing Release

It’s been 2 months since artificialeyes announced their new Mac-only visualist tool 3L ("Thrill"). The ae guys have just pushed out a new beta release, updated the 3L manuals, posted a new features page with screenshots, and the word from Michael is that the commercial release will happen as soon as they have the infrastructure in place for selling it. To further whet your appetite, over 100 free VJ loops created with 3L have been posted to archive.org: Free VJ LOOPS created with 3L 3L VJ Loops Series 2 Free VJ Loops created with 3L Series 3 … and leading …

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