volcasample

Meet KORG’s New Sample Sequencing volca – And its SDK for Sampling

The KORG volca sample is here – and it’s more open than we thought. We’ve seen KORG’s affordable, compact, battery-powered volca formula applied to synths (BASS and KEYS) and a drum machine (BEATS). I’m especially partial to the booming kick of the BASS, the sound of the KEYS (which despite the name also works as a bass synth), and the clever touch sequencing interface. Well, now having teased the newest addition to the family, we’re learning about the details of the KORG sample. It’s not a sampler per se – there’s no mic or audio input – but what KORG …

READ MORE →
IMG_20141017_134128678

Here’s How Clever Hacks Turned Sushi Into a Music Sequencer, with Just Blaze and Tokimonsta

If you’ve ever ordered sushi from one of those rotating belts, you’ll love this musical hack that takes it to an entirely new place. For Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) Tokyo, Native Instruments engineers teamed up with Just Blaze and Tokimonsta to turn a sushi restaurant into a live electronic remix instrument. And these aren’t tricks – slick as the music video at top my appear. They really did use a combination of cameras and software to make colored plates into a working interface for music. RBMA produced a video that shows some of what’s going on behind the scenes, …

READ MORE →

This iPad App Turns Elektron’s Analog Rytm Into a Hyper Drum Machine

It samples. It slices. It mangles. It generates. It mutates. It’s like what happens when a drum machine is invaded by nanobots, and they start improving everything. Let me explain. Take your favorite iPad samplers. Now, imagine they’re the basis of samples in an analog Elektron drum machine – colourful slicing interface and all. Then imagine this same iPad app does what Elektron themselves seemed unable to do: making an easy, logical way of transferring samples. And then, imagine that this app also can spawn new rhythms for you. It’s as if you took everything powerful about the Elektron Analog …

READ MORE →

How Gestures and Ableton Live Can Make Anyone a Conductor of Mendelssohn [Behind the Scenes]

Digital music can go way beyond just playback. But if performers and DJs can remix and remake today’s music, why should music from past centuries be static? An interactive team collaborating on the newly reopened Museum im Mendelssohn-Haus wanted to bring those same powers to average listeners. Now, of course, there’s no substitute for a real orchestra. But renting orchestral musicians and a hall is an epic expense, and the first thing most of those players will do when an average person gets in front of them and tries to conduct is, well – get angry. (They may do that …

READ MORE →

Listen as a Compiler Makes Weirdly Good Blippy, Glitchy IDM Sounds [Free Tools]

What’s the sound of a computer program running? Normally, nothing – the number crunching that takes place as software allocates memory forms patterns, but not ones that might immediately make sense of sound. “malloc” is a C function that allocates memory in which code executes. But a simple hack takes the output of a compiler, and makes sound files out of it. It’s the equivalent disconnecting the pipe from a widget-making factory, and instead of producing useful tools, making cool shapes out of sugary icing – useless and delicious. It’s a sonification of the memory allocation and reading process itself, …

READ MORE →

This Free Tool Will Make Any Mobile Browser Into a Multi-Touch Music Controller

Tablet or phone or touch-enabled desktop computer – now it doesn’t matter. A free tool called (for the moment) Nexus lets you make any browser a canvas for music. iOS, Android, Windows, Mac – if the browser is there, your creations become omni-platform. Shown at the NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) conference in London earlier this month, Nexus is the most complete foundation for this idea seen yet. And since it’s free, it’s open to others to build upon. Right out of the box, it includes basic interface widgets obviously inspired by Lemur (and apps like TouchOSC), so you …

READ MORE →
generalmidi

MIDI Piano Roll Turned Into Platformer: Adventures of General MIDI

It turns Logic Pro into a game level editor. It makes a standard MIDI file into a terrain of platforms to explore. As you navigate, your footfalls on piano roll-visualized notes procedurally generate sound effects and music. And it turns General MIDI — and Super Midio, and my personal favorite, the SysExorcist — into heroes. It’s Adventures of General MIDI, a platformer made from MIDI files. And it’s the creation of Will Bedford, who quips that he fails miserably at his own game in the YouTube video and gives up at the end. Even more unlikely (arguably), it’s built in …

READ MORE →
Serious play. Photo courtesy the artist.

Hypnotic LEGO Automata: Technic Machines Make Music

Play House from Alex Allmont on Vimeo. “Play House” — get it? Playing with LEGOs seems to have an ongoing intuitive connection to musicians, to composition and musical play. So, of course, after we commented on the LEGO Maschine controller hack at MIDI Hack at Stockholm last weekend, several of you reminded us of this recent piece by Alex Allmont. (Now, in fairness, the Maschine hack was put together in well under 24 hours – sometimes work takes time. But I find it nice to see them together.) What’s especially beautiful about Play House is that musical mechanisms and robotic …

READ MORE →
necktie

MIDI-Controlled Necktie Lights Up As You Play, with Internet-Enabled LEDs

As the consumer electronics industry struggles to work out what people want in wearable technology, the people are speaking. We want – no, need – neckwear that lights up in sync to music as we play. Clearly. Well, anyway, that’s what Hector Urtubia – aka Mr Book – is doing in his latest hack. It’s a proof of concept, but it’s good, nerdy fun. And it uses mesh networking and conductive thread. The ingredients: Pinoccio (yes, spelled without the ‘h’), an Internet-connected, compact, Arduino-compatible board. You can even access this board over the Web, so think Internet of Things here. …

READ MORE →

Coding the Club: How the Sensory Experience of Electronic Music Could Expand [Video]

Coded Matter(s) #5: Coding the Club from FIBER on Vimeo. For so much of the world, the club experience is nothing if not predictable. The sound, the aesthetic, the entire evening fit to a predictable mold. But drawing upon decades of work in experimental audiovisual performance, a new generation of sound and light artists are applying today’s tools to build live creations that can transcend all of that, that appeal directly to the senses and transform the architecture of the musical environment. One highlight for me this year was the chance to moderate an installment in March of Fiber Festival’s …

READ MORE →