This is how to DJ with a 7″ tablet and an NES controller

Learn the tools of the trade! Learn the industry standard. No laptops! Remember when a certain nightclub banned laptops from the DJ booth? Well, technically, this isn’t a laptop. And “industry standard” – hey, you didn’t say which industry. (Nintendo’s definitely an industry standard.) This video just crossed my desk, and it’s a clever hack […]

Lo-Fi SES Looks Like a Game Controller, Plays Like a Chip Instrument

What if there were a hacky, hackable handheld game platform – just for making noises? That’s what the Arduino-powered, Lo-Fi SES is all about. It’s basically a little 8-bit music toy, with a control layout borrowed from Nintendo of the past, but expandable, hackable, and open. The sound is very grungy and digital, but it […]

Cool Yule: Toy Company’s Free 8-bit/Lo-Fi Christmas Album, from Montreal

Whether you’re unwrapping presents or not, we’re spending these twenty four hours unwrapping some beautiful musical gifts: have a Yule that’s cool with fine, free/donationware releases. First in the queue… If unimaginative holiday music on endless repeat has given you the winter blues, the fine folks of Toy Company have the cure. The Montreal-based collective […]

Tokyo Blip: A Chip Music Interlude for Blip Festival

How do you prefer to compose? Pen and manuscript paper? Recording ideas from a piano? Firing up your favorite music software? How about … coding in 65c816 Assembly language? The trio behind this video prefers the latter, more intensive approach, to get close to the chip hardware by communicating directly with the Super NES. It’s […]

A Massive Bundle of Game Music, the Magical Machinarium Score, and the Quiet Indie Music Revolution

As musical old-timers repeatedly sing the sad song of the supposed demise of the full-length album, a funny thing has happened. Lovers of games have taken up a growing passion for game music, and in particular the indie score for indie games. Independent game publishing and independent music composition – from truly unsigned, unknown artists […]

Dot, a Winner-less Video Game, Sports Spare, Lovely Retro Audiovisual Art

At first glance, the visuals seem mysterious and almost intentionally obscure. Then, as you watch the dance of pixellated artwork in “Dot,” you see moments of strange, lonely beauty. Brazilian-based audiovisual artist and regular reader Henrique Roscoe (aka vj 1mpar) writes us to describe his work: This is an audiovisual performance with synchronized sounds and […]

Make Ableton Sing Like a Tuvan Synth, or Bleep like an NES

Zap! Photo (CC-BY-SA) candescence. Ableton has introduced various features to its flagship Live tool over the years, but one of the simplest ideas – combining instruments and effects into accessible Racks – is also one of its most useful. They make those sound controls immediate and functional, and they can be a great way of […]

Hack by Day, Afrotronic Future Funk By Night: Handmade Music NYC Sat 4/2, Listening and More Free Now

If you’re in the NYC area, we hope you’ll mark your calendar; if not, we have some free listening for you to explore below. Hacking and inventing, creative musicians are making and modifying the tools of their performance to express the music they imagine, with stunning variety of results. And so it is that once […]

Visions of Bleeps and Beats: Images and Video from Handmade Music

“Handmade music” has now been taken up by groups in cities around the world, without any central organization. It’s an open celebration of experimentation in music making and sound. Here, we get a look at the event series we’ve been running here in New York that helped spawn those others. Part of what I like […]

Nintendo NES Does MIDI and Live Music, Integrated into Your Studio

Retro chip music appeal and the occasional Super Mario Bros. game aside, you probably think of the Nintendo NES and Famicom system as something collecting dust at garage sales. You probably don’t think of this NES running as a self-contained music production workstation, syncing to MIDI and Android, or exploiting new software for producing elaborate […]