In Photos: Discovering Sound Making, Electronics at Culturefix NYC

Photos above: Jennifer Meagher, with additional photography by myself. Handmade Music found a new home on New York’s Lower East Side, at Culturefix, an electronics boutique cum gallery, bar, and tapas. The philosophy of this event has long been to simply open the doors, letting a community of people come together, make some noise, and have fun and learn. So we’re indebted to the people who made it happen – and I think there were some lessons to hopefully reproduce. And yes, part of why I share this is I hope we can work over time to provide more resources, …

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Images from OFFF: When Designers Make MacBook Graffiti, and Other Pictures from Portugal

The OFFF Festival, held last week in Lisbon, Portugal, has to be one of the most visually stimulating places I’ve ever been. Herds of bright-faced, young, handsome European artist boys and girls pack by the thousands into an old steel mill. In a cavernous, resonant concrete bunker, the echo of excited chatter never really stops. Instead, to be noticed, presenters have to create visual flash – visual demos here are everything. It almost seems like it shouldn’t work. I notice a few bloggers complained about sometimes-disorganized presentations, the difficulty in hearing (tough for me, and the presentations were in my …

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Gallery: The Music and Visual Controllers of NAMM, Up Close

Jay Smith of Livid Instruments may be in the business of making controller hardware himself, but that doesn’t stop him from appreciate the knob-laden goodness of the NAMM show floor. Jay’s own gear reveals a not-so-secret love of knobs and buttons and faders, and if you’re into that sort of thing, this year’s NAMM music trade show had plenty to love – Akai’s APC40 controller for Live, Akai’s MPK keyboard, the Alesis MasterControl, Arturia’s Factory Experience controller for their soft synth emulations, and even another brutish-looking computer-in-a-keyboard, now with pads, from Open Labs. The shots give you a particularly good …

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Gig Rigs: Girl Talk – PC, Plastic Wrap, and AudioMulch

Photo: Jordan Harris. Used on CDM by permission. Yes, for the record, that is a young woman screaming to the sounds of AudioMulch. Believe. Jordan Harris was able to snag some screenshots of Girl Talk’s rig. There’s not much to tell: a laptop, a mouse, and in a sign of the growing stature of Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis), some very practical plastic wrap to protect the machine. What’s unique about Gregg’s work is that this computer doesn’t clear out the room: it attracts screaming throngs of fans. Especially lady fans, proof that this does not have to be a sport …

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Behind the Scenes with Justice in Rio

Here’s a unique chance to step onstage with electronic duo Justice – well, through photos, at least – on tour in Brazil. Behind a stack of Marshall Amps and other gear that looks ready to push back an invading horde of Barbarians with a battering ram, these two have some very lovely goodies for live laptop performance. No plain-vanilla DJ sets here. Our friend Fabio “FZero” writes: I came across some pictures of the gear Justice used to play in Rio. They were taken by a guy which works on Circo Voador (the place were they played) and uploaded to …

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Stanton DaScratch Touch Controller Images

Stanton has sent CDM some product shots of the new DaScratch touch controller. What we couldn’t see before is evident here: the fit and finish looks like it has some potential, and most of all, this device is really compact. (Well, that or they just shot it using someone with very large hands.) I look forward to seeing it up close and personal. I want to hear from you: what do you think is the competition for this device? What are you looking for in terms of expressive controllers — controllers that aren’t just mixer / control surfaces? Mixer-style layouts …

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Live Visual Control: Processing + Multitouch, and Numark Total Control + Quartz Composer

Visualist duo Ivan and Jose have set up a new blog with some very inspiring experiments in live visual control: http://tratadodeintegracion.cc/stream/ If you speak Spanish, you’ll find this to be an invaluable set of resources. If you don’t, you’ll simply enter a hacking wonderland with some mysterious images and videos and (even with no knowledge of the language) still some very handy links. Among their accomplishments so far: a DIY multi-touch rig controlling Processing and Max/MSP (with MaxLink handling communication between the two). And for those of you who prefer hardware, here’s the Numark Total Control working in concert with …

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Futuristic Music Design: Competitors, Judges, Teaser Videos and Photos

If you want new ideas about design and interaction, ask a musician. Before the Wii remote, the iPhone, Microsoft’s Surface, and Minority Report, musicians were trying oddball ideas for music performance. That hasn’t slowed down, either, from the futuristic and space-y to down-and-dirty acoustic techniques. We’ve got quite a gamut coming up for our madcap, sound and noise-packed hour of competition happening this Saturday at NASA’s Ames Research center during Yuri’s Night, and we’d love to share them with everyone online. For starters, here’s the rundown of the projects with links to project sites and artists, and all the judges: …

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Weekend Inspiration: Putting it Together with artificialeyes.tv Live Visualism

In case you haven’t noticed, a theme has been emerging on CDMotion: alternative interfaces geared for performance, software that expands the range of expression, and projection that gets visuals out of the 4:3-ratio box. There’s no one solution, and the expense involved in the tools covers quite the gamut. (I may have to personally start the “ghetto” guide to this stuff.) But bringing together these elements is still essential to raising the impact of visuals. I still hear the “but the visuals aren’t as important” over and over again from people outside our field, and I think it’s a phrase …

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CES: Intel Embraces Mobile Linux Audio Production

Quick: you’ve got to sell UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC’s) to a mass market! How to do it? Well, Intel decided to show off pro audio and music production on the Linux-based Transmission, from Trinity Audio, as we saw earlier this week. I’m not entirely sure what got Intel thinking our geeky way, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. And in all seriousness, Linux really an ideal OS choice here, because of its ability to be customized to the application. The other flipside: low-power is the future. Computers now suck up 15% of the electricity in the US …

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