Here’s how the Organelle can replace a computer with Pd

This is, very probably, the sign of things to come. With ARM boards becoming ever-more cheap, accessible, powerful, and efficient, the same technology that is transforming phones, laptops, tablets, and other categories can just as easily be the foundation of a musical instrument. And one “computer” in your life might not look like a conventional desktop or laptop. So, we were both unsurprised and delighted to see a box emerge over the weekend looking like a quirky Pocket Piano, but providing lots of stuff useful to people interested in taking the world of synths and effects from Pd out of …


Critter & Guitari’s new music box turns into anything, with Pd

What makes something a “computer”? In practical terms, the definition is getting steadily blurrier when it comes to music. With computation sipping power, generating less heat, and costing far less than before, that “computer” may find itself in places other than a big folding metal typewriter with a spendy display and a picture of a bitten fruit on the back. But the power of the computer – the ability to turn a magic box into the instrument or effect of your desiring – that stays. And that’s something that’s beginning to remake musical objects.

Photo (CC-BY) Kevin Wong.

A free app makes a TI graphing calculator make music

“I’m the operator with my pocket calculator.” No — like, actually. HoustonTracker 2 runs on the TI-82/83/83+/84+ Texas Instruments graphing pocket calculators – the kind you probably had to buy for your high school math class. And it doesn’t just make the calculator into a sequencer. All the sounds come straight out of the calculator itself, thanks to some gorgeous-sounding 1-bit noises. (Who needs those 15 or so extra bits, anyway? This is beautiful.) What do I mean? Just watch:


What it means that the MeeBlip synth is open source hardware

The MeeBlip synthesizer project is about to reach five years old. I feel this collaboration with engineer James Grahame has been one of the most important to me and to CDM. We haven’t talked so much about its open source side, though – and it’s time. In five years, we’ve sold thousands of synths – most of them ready-to-play. The MeeBlip isn’t a board and some bag of parts, and it isn’t a kit. You don’t need a soldering iron; after our very first batch, you don’t even need a screwdriver. The MeeBlip is an instrument you can use right …


Here are two new ways of combining a synth with Arduino

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten not just one, but two new synthesizers that piggy-back on the Arduino electronics platform. The result, then, is instruments that you can modify via Arduino code. You’ll need an Arduino for each of these to work, so figure on adding some bucks to the purchase price. (I also recommend only using a real Arduino or Genuino; the clones I’ve found are often unreliable, and it’s better to support the developers of the platform.)


Get physical modeling sonic powers, free, in Max starter kit

There is a powerful world of sound exploration in your hands. But sometimes the hardest part is just starting. So the quiet launch of a site called Maxology is very good news. It’s evidently a place to go for tutorials and projects and more. And right now, you can grab a bunch of free and open source objects for physical modeling, built for Max 7 and Max for Live. That opens a window into a world of realistic and impossible sounds, built on algorithms that mimic the way instruments work physically and acoustically.

Ninja Jamm Android-07a-Play Matrix mixed clip and drill

Ninja Tune’s remix, creation app on Android after 300k iOS downloads

Before Ableton Live, before VJ apps, the AV act Coldcut were already making their own software for remixed audiovisual performance. Now, with the Ninja Tune label they founded, Matt Black is still championing the notion of performance that goes beyond pressing play. I’ve never seen anyone pick up Ninja Jamm and not immediately fall in love with it. It’s just a tremendous amount of fun working with the built-in effects and quick access to bits and pieces of music. The likes of Amon Tobin, Bonobo, and Roots Manuva are there, with a variety of genres. There’s also Loopmasters sound content, …


Drum machines in your browser, and more places to find Web Audio and MIDI

Open a new tab, and suddenly you have a powerful, sequenced drum synth making grooves. Give it a shot: https://irritantcreative.ca/projects/x0x Or read more. (This latest creation came out in June.) This is either the future of collaborative music making or the Single Greatest Way To Make Music While Pretending To Do Other Work I’ve ever seen. But, as a new effort works on sharing music scores in the browser, it’s worth checking up on the Web Audio API – the stuff that makes interactive sound possible – and connections to hardware via MIDI. And there’s a lot going on, the …

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Launchpad Pro Grid Controller: Hands-on Comprehensive Guide

Novation’s Launchpad Pro is here. It shares the same compact footprint as earlier Launchpads, but adds full color, pressure-sensitive pads, and MIDI inputs and outputs, plus the ability to operate without a computer. So, with other grids to choose from, where does this one fit? The Launchpad line of controllers has always been about simplicity. Even when the original Launchpad was introduced, it did less than its nearest rival, the AKAI APC. But it was popular partly thanks to being simple, light, small, and affordable. That fits many users’ needs, and can be nicely combined with other hardware. The Launchpad …


An ‘Interspecies’ Music Interface Combines a Mask, Bacteria

Organum Vivum – a interspecies interface from Paul Seidler on Vimeo. Your next digital interface might be grown, not made. Organam Vivum drops the usual combinations of knobs and hard surfaces and wires for something organic – an “interspecies” interface. The sensors are grown from bacteria, formed into alien-looking, futuristic materials and a mask. The bio-interfacing project began as a collaboration between Aliisa Talja (who has a background in industrial design) with Paul Seidler at the CDM-hosted MusicMakers Hacklab at CTM Festival earlier this year. Not only are the materials literally organic, but in touching and breathing into these delicate …