Play with Steve Reich’s techniques in a free iPhone app

Steve Reich’s musical etudes are already a kind of self-contained lesson in rhythm. Inspired by drumming traditions, Reich distills in his music essential principles of rhythmic construction, introducing Western Classical musicians to cyclic forms. That makes them a natural for visual scoring – doubly so something interactive, which is what an iPhone can provide. And so one percussion ensemble has made an app that both reveals Reich’s techniques and opens up a toy you can use to make your own musical experiments. Plus – it’s free.


This box is the best new busking technology of 2016

The phrase “music technology” may not naturally go with hand percussion or “plywood” for you. But there are plenty of people wanting to jam and play on the streets. So, what’s the big news for them? I think it’s this, frankly. It’s the Roland EC-10 EL Cajon. It weighs just 6 kilograms (under 9 lb). It runs on just six AA batteries. And it could sell you on hand percussion – or be the one hand percussion box you covet this year.


Confidence, humanity, and drumming: Kiran Gandhi interview

It’s clear right away that Kiran Gandhi is an “always-on artist.” We’re sitting down with the drummer/singer/electronic musician/businesswoman at Ableton’s Loop conference, and as she reflects on the acoustics of the outdoor tent where we’re recording, she sings an impromptu recording into her phone. There’s even a lyric reminding her to write about tents. The tone is set for our whole conversation: as Kiran longs for a higher-fidelity phone microphone, technology alone can’t keep pace with her spontaneity.


Patterning on iPad is a circular, sample-savvy drum machine

We’re in a the golden age of the drum machine, whether it’s dedicated hardware or a computer or a mobile gadget. Of course, that means it’s getting tougher to stand out. Patterning is one of the most promising software entries yet. I’m already a huge fan of Elastic Drums for its rich approach to timbre – this could be my other fast favorite. Patterning side-steps the two problems with most drum machines – boring, regular patterns, and boring, predictable sounds. Patterning’s user interface is centered around a circle, as cycles of time repeat in futuristic rotating colored geometries. We’ve seen …


Watch Agumenta Transform Drumming As You Play

Call it augmented drumming: algorithmic software listens to you play and creates wild IDM-style percussion around you.


Hand Pan Percussion, Reimagined as Futuristic Musical Instrument

It looks either like a hand pan (if you know your percussion instruments) or a flying saucer sitting in someone’s lap. But Oval is actually a digital instrument, a physical object that connects to a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and then produces any sound you want. It’s also emblematic of how the scene in alternative instrumental controllers have changed. A few short years ago, something like this most likely would have seen a one-off prototype. Its natural habitat would be an academic conference (hello, NIME). Maybe you’d see it onstage, maybe you’d read about it. Nowadays, things are different. Just …


Bach Played on Tubes Will Remind You That Acoustic is Fun

I must admit to knowing neither the term tubes musicaux, nor “boomwhackers.” We’re on the eve of the Musikmesse trade show, which for music technology sites means time spent largely in Hall 5.1 – the bit dedicated to electronic stuff and “DJs.” But that’s no reason to ignore the possibilities afforded by acoustic sound. So long as people are being inventive with materials, that end of the spectrum (so to speak) will remain compelling. And the “Boomwhacker” is a great example. As Wikipedia kindly fills me in, “Boomwhackers Tuned Percussion Tubes are lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes, tuned to musical …


Get a Free All-Clap Plug-in for Mac or Windows

Clap your hands say clap! And the holiday gifts keep coming. Next up: an all-clapping plug-in. Yes, Clap Machine does just what it says: it makes claps. Think four octaves of them, even, all very natural-sounding. Now, at first this is the sound of one hand clapping – okay, two hands clapping. You’ll probably want to use multiple notes to get more. (It’s actually a shame there isn’t a control for that, but … well, you’ll figure it out. I might actually whip up a quick Max for Live device to use single inputs from a step sequencer but generate …


Pianoteq 5 Improves Piano Modeling, Without Eating Up Your Hard Drive

If you want a fake piano, you can have a fake piano. You can have increasingly-good models and samples in hardware, but you can really get a fake piano on your computer. You can buy entire hard drives just to store the gigabytes of samples. You can load massive instances of Kontakt with different recorded sounds for every note, every articulation. You can have new pianos, old pianos, countless Steinway samples. You can even have a ridiculously-tall upright. Or, you can have Pianoteq. Whereas others gobble hard drive space, Pianoteq uses sophisticated modeling techniques that skip the samples, meaning it …


Drum and Bass, Made Analog, with Robots: Watch

What if Drum and Bass had been invented before computers, all with analog gear? And what if the drums were played by robots? Watch the video – it’s real. It’s real-time.