Connect Your Brain to Synthesizers, with Desktop and Modular Creations for Brainwaves

Oh, sure, you can convert MIDI and clock and DIN and control voltage. But how about brainwaves? How about jacking your noggin straight into your synths and controlling synthesizers only with your mind? It’s not quite like The Matrix, yet, if that’s what you’re imagining. But some crafty Italian inventors/experimental musicians have already whipped up a working prototype of hardware that interfaces brainwave-sensing headsets to synthesisers via analog signal and MIDI. And tomorrow, the 26th of July, they’re putting their heads where their money is, premiering the whole system in a live performance. The boxes are designed to work with …

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As My Guitar Gently Weeps with a Japanese Politician

While my elected representative gently weeps? Yes, don’t miss this video, going social today, from Japan, in which a guitarist perfectly times playing to a politician’s sob story. You might assume this isn’t relevant to CDM. But let’s say it hits the whammy bar — on your MIND. Earlier this month, I attended the NIME2014 conference – New Interfaces for Musical Expression. Year after year, groups like these discuss the merits of instrumental interfaces for expression. Generally, instruments like the guitar – good. Instruments like the piano – bad. No ability to add nuance after you hit a note, no …

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Watch: McRorie, Legend of Wearable Music Instruments, Still Rocking

The one-man band from the future, McRorie, is still going, it seems. Unbeknownst to us, the artist – real name, Stuart McRorie Tait – revealed a new live electronic show reel at the beginning of the year. See top: he’s still tapping his shoes for drums and beating his chest for toms, but he’s swapped out Starr Labs for his original, more conventional keyboards. The kilts are gone, sadly, but there’s an acid-distorted VJ mix in the background. And if the mood is right, lightning bolts apparently shoot from his crotch. MIDI keyboards strapped to the body have perhaps become …

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Play a Russian Folk Instrument with Your Mind, Or Turn Seashell Patterns, Likes Into Generative Art

::vtol:: “turbo-gusli” demo performance from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Musical instruments: make a move, get a sound. Or, musical instruments: apply an algorithm, get a sound. Read the tattoos on your arm as a score, turn the black-and-white patterning of a seashell into generated audiovisual artwork, apply brainwaves to a folk instrument and let a robot play it… Such are the mental excursions of one ::vtol::, aka Moscow’s Dmitry Morozov. He’s been busy over the past year or so, wearing robots that interface with tattoos to make music and constructing surround sound umbrellas. And we still have more crazy-science goodness to …

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Me the Machine: Imogen Heap Navigates Music, Music Video with Her Gloves

Watching Imogen Heap dance her way through cyber visuals and glowing-LED percussion, it’s easy to forget that you’re not watching a special effect. What was once a hypothetical, speculative scenario in sci-fi is now just what Imogen is doing with gloves and sensors. At the same time, the lineage to artists like Pamela Z or Laurie Anderson is clear, too. Now the question is, what’s next? “Me the Machine” debuted in a performance on her gloves. The music really is one that she can play with wearable tech. The music video just adds visualization to that performance – and, in …

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A Robotic Machine Worn on the Arm Turns Tattoos into Music

Symbols in on paper can be realized as music, so why not turn a tattoo on your arm into a musical score? That’s what artist Dmitry Morozov (“vtol”), Moscow-based media artist and musician, has done with “reading my body.” It does more than transform his body markings into sounds. He mounts a machine on his arm, as sensors scan the image from a stepper-motor driven path along rails. The strange robotic machine makes him a kind of cyborg photo scanner optical synth. And the results sound like a delicate solo on a violin, playing a lullaby to baby puppies. Kidding. …

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Reactable Mobile, on Sale This Weekend for iOS and Android; Watch the Full Table Meet OP-1

Reactable, now turning age five, still remains something that can take people’s breath away. Making the relationship of musical components into actual building blocks, it demystifies music making and makes it more magical all at the same time. And since the table itself is big, not-portable, and pricey, there’s also the iOS- and Android-compatible tablet edition. (The Android app is one of the few that gives my vintage Galaxy Tab something useful to do.) This weekend, you can grab Reactable Mobile yourself 50% off: 50% Off Fifth Anniversary But this is also a perfect opportunity to watch a tantalizing video …

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Molding Sound with Flesh: Biophysical Muscle Music Keeps Evolving

Ominous | Incarnated sound sculpture (Xth Sense) from Marco Donnarumma on Vimeo. For all the interfaces that involve turning knobs or waving your hands in the air, artist Marco Donnarumma wanted to go deeper. His work pulses with his flesh, listening deep inside muscles for every slight impulse. And in Marco’s hands, it seems the air itself can be molded into sound – not with ethereal hand flapping, but as though the ether itself is made of dense clay. It’s been nearly two years since we spoke with Marco about his work, and the wwirord he coined for this kind …

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A Naked Man Plays Robots and Finds Love; A Quadriplegic Finds a Voice in Music

Man & Machine: A Naked Robotic Love Story from Jesse Roesler on Vimeo. Making music with machines, we all become somehow more than human. We are people, augmented by technology. Those technologies strip us bare, expose us as naked emotionally … sometimes, literally. Through the eyes of one filmmaker, here are two parallel images that drive that point home. Last week at Berlin’s CTM Festival, we began a week-long hacklab by touring the Generation Z exhibition with curator Andrey Smirnov. One thing Andrey repeatedly emphasizes about the revolutionary Russian artists who came together in the 1920s is their belief in …

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Dance, Mapping, Face-Stimulation, and Other Wonders: Daito Manabe's Greatest Hits

Apply this stimulation directly to your retinas. Our friends at YouTube “curator” Network Awesome have assembled some of the best work of Daito Manabe, the Japanese visual and physical computing genius who consistently finds delightful new expressive uses for technology. And by assembling some stunning documentation, they’ve produced a playlist of excellence that can guide you through works – revisiting the best you’ve seen, finding new ones. Or as they put it: JAPANESE MEDIA-ARTIST WORKS WITH OTHERS TO CREATE GREAT COMBINATIONS OF DANCE & VIDEOART PLUS OTHER FUNKY STUFF (E.G. THAT ELECTRIC STIMULUS TO FACE THING) Markus Fiedler of Berlin …

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