Daft Presets? Reason 7 Effect is Instagram for Music; How to Use – or Misuse It – and Why [Video]

Propellerhead’s latest cheeky tutorial makes no apologies. Reason 7’s Audiomatic Retro Transformer is, they say, the equivalent of tapping a filter on a phone camera app like Instagram, bundling lots of different sound attributes together into a single push-button setting. Ironically, their example is a send-up of the distinctive sound of Daft Punk’s poppy, fuzzy disco – meaning, they’ve got a preset for the band that says the problem with computers is presets. (And to think, you didn’t need to pay for all that high-end studio time.) This seems likely to produce some controversy. In fact, I’d for some time …

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Processing 2.0 Arrives; Where to Get Started Upgrading Your Creative Coding

It’s been a long time coming, but Processing this week has reached 2.0, a major landmark release. For graphics, video, data, and usability, it’s a big leap forward. The big story here is that the creative coding tool is both faster and simpler. An OpenGL engine, built by GLGraphics developer Andres Colubri, now powers everything. That makes extraordinary feats of graphic wonder possible (with shaders and the like), but it also irons out frustrating inconsistencies between renderers. The narrative is similar for video. Andres Colubri’s GSVideo library handles the video work, with high-performance HD (and function with the shaders) for …

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The Natural World, in Code: Dan Shiffman Talks Genetic Algorithms

Dan Shiffman @ Kickstarter HQ on Genetic Algorithms on April 2nd from Kickstarter on Vimeo. Creative code may, to most people, be as far from the natural world as possible. But in a purely aesthetic way, finding the connection between natural environment and code expression is the mission of Dan Shiffman’s recent tome. And in this talk, it’s the nature of the Nature of Code, as creative code guru Dan Shiffman goes into his approach. The setting is fitting: Dan is at the headquarters of Kickstarter, the platform that managed to fund his book. After mixed success with a conventional …

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Creative Coding, Evolved: Processing Nears 2.0 Release With Hot-Looking Beta 9

There’s a reason for Processing’s popularity. By making code simple, elegant, and direct, and catering directly to the kinds of visual ideas creative people have, the environment has made programming accessible to artists and designers in a way nothing else could. Coding no longer has to be a source of fear, or a bad word. But Processing, years into its life, has also badly needed a refresh. 2.0 is more than just a house cleaning. It’s a new direction, with “modes” that mean it’s no longer tied to old desktop Java architectures. (See a tantalizing screenshot below – with the …

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Mapping, Further: At Mapping Festival, Artists Blend Musical and Visual Form [Video Round-up]

Mapping: it’s kind of everything. It’s the projected image mapped to the surface. It’s pixels mapped to lights. It’s the control layout you use on your iPad and your fader box mapped to parameters in visual output. It’s the translation of music to lights. It’s the range of color on the filter. You’re constantly mapping one thing to another. And of course, the community of people who read this site are generally somehow undertaking the difficult task of mapping across media, as you map visual performance to music. So, it’s fitting that “mapping” at Mapping Festival is about more than …

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PixelPusher to Make Networked Syphon Displays from LEDs, Easily, in Crowd-funded Project

LEDs are poised to revolutionize displays, but that future isn’t “evenly distributed” yet. And that’s why some emerging projects are so intriguing. Think instant displays, addressable from any computer – including with Syphon. Just plug Ethernet on one end, into strings of these: That’s the idea behind PixelPusher, a project currently on Kickstarter. Development appears complete; they’re using crowd funding to support doing a run of a thousand of these, made in California. The notion is networked lighting arrays you can address from a computer, using Syphon or free apps they’ve built with Processing. (For anyone who uses Processing, this …

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Voice as Surface and Artifact, in the Experimental Drone Music of Jelena Glazova [Listen]

Experimental noise art, drone music, and other forms – whatever you might call them – can unquestionably be an acquired taste. Absent the normal landmarks of harmonic and rhythmic structure, they raise questions about just what makes form – and accordingly, as a listener you can be lost in a unpleasantly-formless mass. But in the music of Latvian sound artist and poet Jelena Glazova, as in the experimental sound I find most appealing, the experience is not cerebral so much as sensual. There is a conceptual background, but perhaps that’s what sound does so well: it can execute a concept …

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Free Granulator II from Robert Henke for Max for Live; Another M4L Grain Instrument On Its Way

We’re spoiled by modern software as a canvas for experimental sound. Significantly, once constructed and encapsulated, these digital sound devices can fall away, allowing you to explore new noise frontiers through play, not only through calculated sound design. (That very question has come up in very different conversations with developers I’ve had in the last 24 hours or so, so I think it’s worth mentioning – whether it’s something you’ve created or downloaded, you can get to the point where you use your ears and intuition to find sounds.) Let’s talk about that in regards to Ableton Live and Max. …

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Vio for iOS: Transform, Tune, Harmonize Vocals in a Cloud of Particles [Preview]

Vocal modification is a natural app for iOS, yet a lot of the offerings out there are complicated to use. (At least one that springs to mind has options for add-on purchases that can muddle the user experience.) Audiofile Engineering (via a new brand, Square B) has just released an app that looks like loads of fun. Turning the interface into a swirling vortex of particles might not seem to be a step forward for ease of use, but here, the reduction in interface clutter lets you focus on singing. I’m retreating into the studio in a quiet moment to …

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Awesome Universe of Creative Coding, Explained in Five Minutes [Video]

“What’s creative coding?” At last, we have a five-minute video that, in rapid-cut wonder, explains the answer to lay people – and can be a serious dose of inspirational adrenaline to people doing it. (If designers and artists had locker rooms, watching this before tackling that next Processing tutorial might be in order.) Cover the big three of open-source, free-software toolkits for artists – Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Cinder – and showing everything you can do with them (from big-screen video walls to generative fashion), the video has nearly all the bases covered. In fact, the only thing missing is you: …

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