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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New Instruments with Electricity: Kalimba + Ring Mod, Continuum + Kyma [Videos]

Combining even a couple of pieces of equipment can yield a kind of new, hybrid instrument. Our friend Chris Stack shares the latest in his fantastic ExperimentalSynth.com series, that haven for exploring strange, new sounds, seeking out new life and new electronic civilizations. Above: “Kevin Spears explores new soundscapes playing his kalimba through a Moog MF-102 Ring Modulator.” Below, featuring Sally Sparks: “A quick look at the Haken Continuum and Kyma sound engine.” Enjoy, and have a great weekend, y’all.

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'The Nature of Code' Book Illustrates Coding Design Secrets – And Power of Self-Publishing

In traditional visual arts, some knowledge of color theory and form is essential to being expressive. From there, you move on to tricks of shading and perspective. These shared understandings allow even radical experimentation: the likes of Picasso, Dalí, and even Pollock played with their classical inspirations and training. Creative programmers have a bag full of tricks that underly a lot of the flashier, cooler effects in their work. These can, in turn, be a window into understanding foundations of math and geometry. (I imagine how much better I would have been at progressing later in mathematics had I been …

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‘The Nature of Code’ Book Illustrates Coding Design Secrets – And Power of Self-Publishing

In traditional visual arts, some knowledge of color theory and form is essential to being expressive. From there, you move on to tricks of shading and perspective. These shared understandings allow even radical experimentation: the likes of Picasso, Dalí, and even Pollock played with their classical inspirations and training. Creative programmers have a bag full of tricks that underly a lot of the flashier, cooler effects in their work. These can, in turn, be a window into understanding foundations of math and geometry. (I imagine how much better I would have been at progressing later in mathematics had I been …

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King Britt, performing in the garden. Photo:

The Bee and The Stamen: Complete Live Stream, King Britt Interview, As Nature Meets Electronic Music

For just a moment, take your mind somewhere a bit different. First, imagine the computer as part of nature, not something separate from nature. And then, put your head inside the mind of a bee. (You might not want to operate heavy machinery, just in case you start to imagine you’re seeing things through a compound eye.) That’s the journey we’re on with King Britt, the veteran producer from Philadelphia. He’s remixed everyone from Miles Davis to Tori Amos, but now, he remixes the world of the bee. And given how small we ultimately all are, perhaps that’s a worthy …

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MOTU's revamped interface now comes with themes, like this lovely black version. And it runs on Windows, not just Mac. DP8, SONAR X2 each tune these mature DAWs; here's a look at what they have to offer. Image courtesy MOTU.

Two DAWs Ship: SONAR X2, MOTU DP8 – As DP8 Invades Windows, Too

Two DAWs, announced earlier this year, are now shipping this week. One is Cakewalk’s SONAR X2 for Windows, which extends the new user interface overhaul – loved by some, despised by others – unveiled in X1. But PC stalwart Cakewalk has new competition on the Windows platform. MOTU’s DP8, apart from being a fairly significant overhaul for Mac users, also marks the arrival of that DAW on Windows. The timing is interesting, too, as there have been long gaps in the release cycle for two other DAWs – Apple Logic and Ableton Live – that are widely expected to be …

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Generative Design Book Coming in English; Watch a Full-Length Talk on Generative Techniques

Generative Gestaltung from Benedikt Groß on Vimeo. “Generative design,” as a concept, describes design that goes beyond the direct hands of the creator, to the work that can emerge from rules and systems in organic fashion, in productions that require computer code – and with it, mathematic thought – to realize the realms of imagination. It’s also the title of perhaps my favorite book on creative coding, a gorgeous tome that explores design concepts clearly and simply in the language Processing. That book, Generative Gestaltung, was available initially in German, then translated to French, but at last is available to …

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