Summit Touts Open Source Hardware, Q+A with Co-Creators; Music Hardware?

Summit co-chairs Ayah Bdeir (left) and Alicia Gibb (right) are hoping to galvanize a community around open source hardware, from NASA to Arduino. And that could have an impact on music and audio – if creators of gear for musicians get onboard, that is. Open source software has proven itself in technological, economic, and cultural terms – it’s simply a matter of reality. This site runs atop free software nginx, WordPress, MySQL, and (Red Hat Enterprise) Linux; in music, we have Csound, SuperCollider, Pd, Ardour, JACK, Processing, and so on. Csound has even appeared on karaoke machines. These tools run …

READ MORE →

monome Me: Community Tour, Tunes to Hear

Pauk (Pau Cabruja) using a Monome 256 attached to a guitar strap, photo by Lara Jaruchik. Courtesy monome Community Tour The monome is coming to your town. Unlike tours organized by commercial product vendors, a grassroots effort by monome users pledges to share the music made with the monome and give back to a larger community. It’s hard to explain the monome. It’s part tool, part lifestyle. And its openness comes in large part from the community of artists who use it, and embrace the controller’s sustainable production and unique design. In fact, it’s hard to explain just what a …

READ MORE →

mk: All New monome Kit Improves on Original; Q+A with Creator Brian Crabtree

It may not look like it yet, but do some simple assembly, add included buttons and your own LEDs, put this into a housing, and you’ll have the cult hit monome grid controller for your music making pleasure. Open hardware means the ability to create exactly what you want. But it doesn’t have to intimidate the newcomer – not so long as you’re up for a project and a little creativity. The monome grid controller, long a sensation with digital musicians, finally sees a major update in its kit version. The “kit” isn’t built from scratch; instead, it includes the …

READ MORE →

Velosynth: Bicycle-Mounted Synth is Open Source, Hackable, Potentially Useful

velosynth release#001 from velosynth on Vimeo. Bicycle transport is cheap, environmentally sound, and quiet – a little too quiet. Since bikes don’t make noise, it can be difficult to hear them coming. And since a bicyclist should be focused on the road, any visual feedback to the bicyclist is potentially distracting. What’s the solution? How about a box that easily straps to a bike and makes sounds? Sounds can provide feedback to pedestrians, fellow cyclists, and other people sharing the road. They can also make distraction-free sonification of data the cyclist might want, as opposed to requiring that a rider …

READ MORE →

*Spark D-Fuser Official Announcement Video: The DVI Mixer Approacheth

If you’re a visualist, working with digital video, then shit is in the process of becoming real. Toby*Spark initially announced the “*Spark D-Fuser” Sub-$1000 DVI mixer project 8 months ago, and followed up with some more specifics. If you Follow Toby on Twitter then you will have seen some sporadic details and titillating photos appear over the intervening months. Now, of course, VisualBerlin Festival is happening, and it’s an auspicious time for an announcement: *spark d-fuser: dvi mixer project presentation [2010] from toby*spark on Vimeo. Toby’s presentation is a beautiful enunciation of why this kind of hardware is important and …

READ MORE →

x0xb0x, Open Source Hardware and TB-303 Clone, Has a Renewed Future; Q+A

Photo (CC-BY-SA) Brandon Daniel. Open source hardware may not sound like something that would produce a huge musical hit – unless you’ve met the x0xb0x. A clone of Roland’s legendary TB-303 bassline generator, the open version offered not only greater afford-ability than the now-rare antique, but expanded possibilities for hacking the hardware into a musical device you could love as your own, all with the backing of an impassioned community. The gadget was designed by Limor Fried and an unidentified “crazy German engineer” who has kept his identity private. (I wish I had my own secret crazy German engineer. Darnit. …

READ MORE →

Shruti-1: DIY Digital Synth with Vintage Filter, as Dev Turns from Palm to Hardware

For all the hype around mobile music creation, here’s a story with an ending in the opposite direction. Independent developer Olivier Gillet is the reason a lot of people see handheld gadgets as potential music making devices; he’s the creator of the brilliant Bhajis Loops for Palm. But, as if to prove that hardware can be a digital platform, too, his latest creation, while it will fit in your palm, isn’t for a device like the overcrowded iPhone. And as we take up the issue of platforms for sonic tech, Olivier’s timing is perfect. Amidst gloom and doom predictions of …

READ MORE →

Participate: One Button Game Objects, Handmade Music in NYC, Amsterdam, SF

It’s a call for one-button works. Literally. Sorry. Photo (CC) Jeff Keyzer. What can you do with a button? What circuits can you bend? What software and hardware can you construct? Want to meet up with myself and fellow makers from the DIY music and visualist communities? I’m touring and looking for new works, we have one call for one-button objects that (if you can ship it) can come from anywhere in the world, plus upcoming events in New York, San Francisco, and — this month, Amsterdam at the planetary music tech hub that is STEIM. STEIM is an inspiration …

READ MORE →

DIY monome Case from LEGOs, Live Performance in a Bathroom

At the risk of becoming Create Digital Monomes, here are two things that make me very happy. For anyone who thinks it’s too hard to get hold of a genuine monome, or any of those of you who got the kit and haven’t built a proper case for it, this is for you. FYXDESIGN has posted a terrific tutorial enclosing the monome 40h kit (8×8 grid) inside a custom case made from LEGO bricks. The project comes out of a group at New York University’s ITP digital tech school who saved money, beat the monome’s scarcity, and made lots of …

READ MORE →

monome News: Max for Live with 7up, New Grayscale, Mass Kit Builds, NYC Fest

SevenUpLive 2.0 Preview from bar|none on Vimeo. Planet monome is getting to be an exciting place. The biggest news: SevenUpLive, an extraordinary original application that melds the monome as controller with a set of Live functions, is getting a major rebuild and Max for Live support. Mapping the buttons of the monome to a set of Live sonic magic, SevenUp transforms the monome – and Live – into an interactive compositional instrument, with looping, sequencing, and melodic and rhythmic manipulation. With Max for Live integration, that will also allow people writing Max patches for Ableton to use their work as …

READ MORE →