Post-Christmas Deals on Apps, Software, More – Even a Game with Procedural Music [Bargain Roundup]

As more sales – particularly software – move online, we’re finding that musicians can save a lot on their tools by waiting on sales. Black Friday / Thanksgiving / Cyber Monday saw steep discounts on some terrific stuff, and now there are loads of sales in the quiet period from Christmas to New Year’s. Half off Lemur (through 19 Jan). One particularly tempting deal – especially if you’ve got a winter project in mind – comes from our friends at Liine. Lemur, my favorite controller app on iOS, is now 50% off. And LiveControl 2 has just added essential support …

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A Free and Open Source Compressor, Built in Pd and Perfect for Mobile

Whether you’re building an experimental effect or performance tool or writing the Next Big Thing in Mobile Apps, you might need some signal compression. Working in Pure Data (Pd), it’s easy to create patches that get unruly, especially once you add live audio input. For mobile developers, things get even worse: you have to make your app work anywhere, with a range of devices, acoustic environments, microphones — the list goes on. The folks at Two Big Ears, who are working on their own rather lovely Android synth, have come to the rescue of Pd hobbyists and mobile developers alike. …

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‘Edge of Nostalgia’ is a Calming Ambient iPhone Album Transformed by Mic

Edge of Nostalgia from Michael McDermott on Vimeo. Ambient, and — actually, literally ambient. Mikronesia’s “Edge of Nostalgia” is a chilled-out 7-track record of gentle grooves and crystalline melodies, delivered as an app. That’s nice enough. But with the aid of your iPhone’s microphone, you and the environment around you become part of the soundscape. Ambient sounds are fed through great washes of reverb and chattering chains of delays. Recently updated for iOS 7, the result is an album that is different each time you listen. As the creator notes, plenty of records include stock sounds of field recordings. Here, …

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Android Gets Patchable Audio Everything: Free Patchfield Architecture [Video, Resources]

Android audio users, developers, patchers, and musicians just got a huge gift. Patchfield is, as the name implies, a space in which you can connect synths, effects, and sound modules in an open, modular environment. It’s a free app you can use on its own, as well as a free architecture developers can use in their apps. For DIYers and developers, it’s already looking like something you’ll want to try right away. (End users may want to wait for now, but the idea remains cool.) Inside an app (as a service), Patchfield provides a set of tools developers can use …

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Roll Your Own Looper, Cheap: Raspberry Pi + Pd + KORG monotron Hands-on

If computers are compact and $25, we’re talking a very different world of music hardware. Armed with the popular Raspberry Pi, Servando Barreiro has made an incredibly-affordable, ultimately-customizable rig with free software and the open source community. Oh, and he’s made the KORG monotron polyphonic – after a fashion. See video at top for some beautiful chords. And that’s just the beginning. We’ll let Servando share how he’s working.

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Arpeggionome for iPhone Makes Amazing Patterns in Arrays of Pulsing Circles [App, Music]

Out today, Arpeggionome is the iPhone follow-up to an iPad grid instrument, making lovely, elegant cascades of notes from a screen full of circles. The work of San Francisco-based electrical engineer Alexander Randon, it’s especially nice to see not just the app itself, but the music the developer makes with his own tool. Watch the video, and you’ll get a feel for how he makes his creation musically expressive. Evidently inspired by both the Tenori-On and the community of monome apps, Arpeggionome has a number of features that set it apart from other tools. It’s tough to find iPhone apps …

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In Berlin, Mixing Learning with Hacking and Jamming, All With Free DIY Tools

CDM and yours truly team up with Berlin arts collective Mindpirates next week for a learning event we hope will be a little different than most. The idea behind the gathering is to combine learning in some new ways. The evenings begin with more traditional instruction, as I cover, step-by-step, how you’d assemble beat machines, instruments, effects, and video mixers using free software (Pure Data and Processing). But, we’ll go a little further, opening up sessions to hacking and jamming, finally using the event space at Mindpirates to try out ideas on the PA and projectors. By the last night, …

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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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Fractals, Bots, Nodes, and Patternists: Onyx Ashanti’s Cyborg Music Meets the Ensemble [Guest Post]

Get ready: from one more-than-human musical cyborg, a robotic horde of beatjazz artists. Onyx Ashanti isn’t satisfied just augmenting his own body and musical expression with 3D-printed, sensor-laden prostheses. He’s extending that solo performance with bots that crawl around and gesture for feedback, then – inspired by the organic beauty of fractal geometry – is binding together performers with his system in a networked system of nodes. Just don’t call it a jam session. Call them patternists. If this sounds crazy, it is: crazy in just the way we like. But amidst this hyper-futuristic vision of performance, Onyx also writes …

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Make a Pd Patch, Run it on Android, iOS, Right Away: Two Free Solutions

Now that tablets and phones have the computational power our main studio machines did just a few short years ago, there’s every reason to look to these gizmos for music. For a person patching in Pure Data (Pd), the free graphical sound environment, it means you can liberate the stuff you’re making from your computer and put it on something portable. If you don’t mind firing up Eclipse or Xcode, you can make your own music apps with libpd, the embeddable version of Pd developed by Peter Brinkmann and others. But, if you don’t want to write a line of …

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