2 V-P Makes Performing Live with Quartz Composer Effortless, Powerful

Apple’s Quartz Composer has long enabled beautiful, intricate generative and responsive visuals, often even with simple patches. But assembling its compositions into something with which you can perform is more of a chore. 2 V-P isn’t the first attempt to wrap Quartz’s interactive visualizations into a performance tool. But it might be the most practical. The work of Ali Demirel, with developer Pascal Lesport, it embodies a lot of Ali’s approach to thoughtfully-morphing imagery. It’s been torture-tested in the real world of performance, particularly in Ali’s ongoing collaboration with Richie Hawtin. What’s promising about 2 V-P is that it centersentirely …

READ MORE →

A Tangled Sculpture of Lightbulbs, Stage to Elaborate Synchronized AV Performance

In a tree-like cluster of wooden branches, 60 electronically-fired lightbulbs glow in tightly-choreographed pulses along with music. The light sculpture becomes the setting for a kind of AV dance theater, forming an otherworldly environment for narrative movement. “A Man Named Zero” is the work of Nocte and a team in the UK of performers, pairing DJ with lightbulb accompaniment. Nocte realized the project in the creative coding tool Cinder (C++), which provides both the lightbulb control and slick-looking wireframe visual interface. Interestingly, the audio analysis isn’t just a straight FFT. Instead, using the open LibXtract library, the software “extracts” audio …

READ MORE →

Surveilled, Controlled, Exhausted: Augmented Dance on Machine-Human Interface's Dark Side

If BODYLINE BORDERLINE takes your breath away, perhaps you can thank the fact that it takes the dancers’ breath away. Computer vision in dance is now an accepted trope, to the point of being nearly cliché. The challenge is in part that the human eye’s capacity to follow nuances in movement contrasts to the crude capabilities of even the most sophisticated digital systems. But there are also opportunities for new angles on the material. Whereas so much dance with vision has focused on sparkly wonderlands of particle effects and the like, blissful mirror amusement parks, BODYLINE BORDERLAND has a different …

READ MORE →

Surveilled, Controlled, Exhausted: Augmented Dance on Machine-Human Interface’s Dark Side

If BODYLINE BORDERLINE takes your breath away, perhaps you can thank the fact that it takes the dancers’ breath away. Computer vision in dance is now an accepted trope, to the point of being nearly cliché. The challenge is in part that the human eye’s capacity to follow nuances in movement contrasts to the crude capabilities of even the most sophisticated digital systems. But there are also opportunities for new angles on the material. Whereas so much dance with vision has focused on sparkly wonderlands of particle effects and the like, blissful mirror amusement parks, BODYLINE BORDERLAND has a different …

READ MORE →
anf_AB_LiveEdit_01

Egyptrixx x A N F: Audiovisuals as Surface, Texture, and Trip to Alien Volcanoes

It’s real, and yet, it isn’t. It’s the sound of percussion, but it resonates in an otherworldly way. It’s the flaming, blood-red surface of a volcano, but it’s melting before us. Some of the most evocative digital works walk this line, transport us to a place our brains can accept, yet not entirely believe, universes just past the reaches of our imagination. And so the collaboration between Egyptrixx (Toronto’s David Psutka) and A N F (Berlin visualist Andreas Nicolas Fischer) congeals around the notion of texture and surface. In generated geometries, globs of interplanetary resin, space insect innards about to …

READ MORE →

Music and Performance, Made On The Spot: Hacklab, Open Call in Berlin

Inventing technological hacks in short time is one thing. At CTM Festival in Berlin, we want to push collaborative participants to go further. First, invent the technology for performance. Then, invent the performance – and be ready to perform publicly – and it do it all in just one week. It’s time again to join a MusicMakers Hacklab. Last year was the first week-long event hosted with CDM, and the first at CTM Festival. CTM makes a perfect venue, a brilliant and packed showcase for adventurous sound (and in parallel with another digital media fest, Transmediale, in the same city …

READ MORE →

Palette Snaps Together Controls for Music, Creative Software

It seems everyone is thinking in LEGO these days. There’s littleBits, which snaps together analog components with magnetic connections. There’s Patchblocks, which connects digital modules you can then re-program onscreen. And now, there’s Palette, a set of controller blocks that snap together and connect via USB. It gives you knobs, sliders, and X/Y controls for manipulating any software – from music to apps. The crowd-funded project looks smart in both hardware and software design. And software easily extends what it can do – whether you’re playing a DJ set in Traktor or editing graphics in Photoshop. (Smart segues between those …

READ MORE →

iOS 7 is Here; Now, Please Don’t Install It Yet

We’ve been waiting for the moment at which a post-PC, mobile operating system has equaled a desktop OS for serious music making. Well, that moment has arrived — — in that we get to release a dire warning about an OS update breaking music-making apps. Yes, now iOS 7 shares that dubious distinction of countless OS X and Windows upgrades over the years. (Sniff. They grow up so fast.) It’s not a coincidence. Once you do start using a variety of music apps on a platform, you need to be more careful about OS updates – any OS updates. Music …

READ MORE →

Erika: Musical Restraint, Space, Future, BBSes, Detroit [Interview]

From being a long-time mainstay of the Detroit scene to, at last, debuting a proper solo LP with Hexagon Cloud, the one word that can sum up Erika for me is, simply, “inspiring.” And if Hexagon Cloud’s perfectly-calibrated analog sounds and imaginative musical frequencies indulge our futuristic sonic fantasies, here we get the chance to talk to Erika a bit about what lies beyond musical parameters, too. That ranges from Detroit (past the fetishization of ruined buildings, please) to the liberation of early-90s BBSing to the appeal of outer space. You can listen to Erika’s work and revisit some reflections …

READ MORE →

Deconstructed Dance Floor: EVOL’s Strange Experiments with Light, Sound, and Acid

For all the years of “classical” electronic music performance from academia, the experience of entering a club or dance music program can be awfully avant garde and surreal. There’s a barrage of sensory input – flashing lights, strange, repetitive sounds. The Spanish/British duo Roc Jiménez de Cisneros and Stephen Sharp, aka EVOL, have taken that feeling to its extreme. And the results are weird, wonderful fun. (The two play Berlin Thursday night at N.K. on a diverse program including Chris Douglas and Bill Kouligas; N.K. is one of Europe’s most consistent venues for electronic experimentalism, and somehow will keep feeding …

READ MORE →