Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.

READ MORE →
covello_color

A Monster Frankenstein Controller, with Fur Keys and Borg-Like Eyepiece, Built by Julie Covello

Photo by Nina Mouritzen; courtesy Julie Covello/Shakey. In an explosion of color, buttons, keys, velcro, and fur, and coupled with a cyborg-chic eyepiece, the VoltAxe is controllerism gone Mad Max, a post-acocalyptic keytar bred from salvaged parts. And if you want to make a unique construction of your own, creator Julie Covello – aka New York’s DJ Shakey – is willing to tell all her secrets, as well as why this was important to her music. In modeling (the basement hobby variety, not the skinny fashionista one), “kitbashing” is the act of combining bits of multiple kits to produce one …

READ MORE →

Compact Foot Controller Mod: KORG nanoKEY for Your Feet

Compact MIDI controllers for your fingers are plentiful, but tiny foot controllers are far fewer. map~map aka Marcus Fischer decided to build his own by performing a simple but clever mod of the KORG nanoKEY. Now, personally, I find the nanoKEY the one product in the nano series that’s lacking; it feels more like a QWERTY keyboard than anything resembling a MIDI keyboard. But Marcus transforms it into the world’s most compact and portable foot controller. You may have to be somewhat delicate with your toes, but he says the solution works perfectly! i’ve been wanting a compact usb midi …

READ MORE →

Tilt, Smack, Mash, Tweak: Ableton Live Jam with monome + nanoKONTROL

dromama from Altitude Sickness on Vimeo. Turning one knob and bouncing up and down may work for some, but virtuoso electronic performers want more live control out of music. Why? Because we have more fun. Raymond Weitekamp is a monome power user based at Princeton who has organized like-minded monomists. As with Edison’s performance work yesterday, Raymond is working to develop real performance technique. He’s already got the monome doing more that button mashing, thanks to clever mapping of tilt controls. (Check out the custom housing, too.) But to provide additional timbral controls, Raymond makes use of the Korg nanoKONTROL …

READ MORE →

Ableton Live MIDI Remote Scripting How To: Custom Korg nanoSERIES Control

A handsome shot of the Korg nanoSERIES pad and controller makes them look pricier than they are. Photo (CC) Jay Vidheecharoen. When software has “Live” as its name, you know control will be everything. So it’s great that many control surfaces will behave intelligently out of the box with Ableton Live, including devices like the Akai APC40 and Novation ReMOTE SL. If you’ve used one of these products, you’ve no doubt been able to click a device rack in Live and have a blue hand icon appear in the title bar, automatically assigning, say, the first eight macro knobs in …

READ MORE →

Akai Does Mini MIDI Keyboard, Pads, a la Korg nano – But with Real Action?

Updated images: The official LPK25 and LPD8 images, courtesy Akai Pro. (Thanks!) Click for larger versions and a look at the controls. Korg’s nano series has been a huge hit. Now it’s Akai’s turn, with their own mini USB pad and keyboard controllers. (Note: given lengthy product turnaround in this industry, these may actually have been designed before the nano – but that’s not as important, ultimately, as which models you like.) The Akai assumes you want something that’s a bit bulkier than the Korg nano line – with, presumably, a payoff in playability.

READ MORE →

Gear Check: Inside a Traveling VJ Bag, on the Way to Coachella

li {margin-bottom:10px;} Packing up VJ Gear to fit on an airplane can be tricky business. I flew from Portland to San Diego in order to join the Xochi Media crew for Coachella this year – luckily, they’re supplying most of the heavy equipment, so I needed only the essentials, as photographed above. Here’s what I brought and why: Edirol V-4 Video Mixer: The ever-present 4-input, 2-channel mixer which broke the price barrier for amateur VJs and became the staple mixer for many live video perfomers. Canon HF100: This is mostly for documentation. I sold my trusty GL-1 last year for …

READ MORE →

Jet Daisuke Hearts Korg: nanoKEY on Shinkansen, microKORG XL Adoration

Many in the CDM community miss the days when big-name gear inspired real love. Peer into the studios of even the most dedicated DIY software and hardware maker, and you’ll still see products from big manufacturers. And, much as some may unfairly deride newcomers, the lifeblood of electronic music is the person who opens a box and falls in love with a synth for the first time. Much of the Korg product line can’t inspire the kind of raw passion that its older products, and boxes from the likes of Roland and Yamaha, once commanded. But then, at its supposedly …

READ MORE →

ArKaos GrandVJ 1.1: Proper Alpha, Crossfader Support, Smart Input, Painted Black

Just as VDMX and Resolume have been treated to ground-up rewrites, so, too, has a name in VJ apps that has endured since the early days of computer VJing: ArKaos. GrandVJ is a completely new program, though it does maintain ArKaos’ signature feature – a music keyboard along the bottom of the screen. Now, I’ve wanted to root for GrandVJ’s new release since the beginning, partly because of its MIDI keyboard-savvy design but especially because the new release is fast — blazingly fast. Thanks to a rebuilt, ffmpeg-based video backend, it can really rock its way through high-framerate playback without …

READ MORE →