We Want to Know How You Read; Days Left Until Google Reader Shutdown

Reading matters for musicians. It’s a source of essential information about tools and artists, inspiration and knowledge. It’s how a lot of us find music and the ways we make music. Your feedback in eight and a half years of CDM has told us that. So, with Google Reader shutting down, maybe it’s a good time to reflect on how you read. Google Reader shuts down forever on the first of July. If you read CDM (and other sites) through Google Reader, or any application that relies on syncing with its feeds, you need to find a new way of …

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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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Data Visualization, in Chinese; Where in the World is Your Knowledge?

It’s extraordinary to watch the flow of information and knowledge worldwide. You could trace the evolution of media arts over the past years as not so much the introduction of entirely new ideas as the maturation of the field, as those ideas become vastly more accessible and localized. Since knowledge has to be applied, that’s potentially more powerful than “innovation” in the sense of novelty alone. Instead of relying of a handful of people to come up with all of the work, it means we could see surprising new thinking as the basic building blocks and tools of what we …

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synapsemag

I Love the 70s: Complete Issues of Synapse Mag, A Look at Electronic Music’s Past

“Everything old is new again” certainly could be no more true than in electronic music, in which futuristic possibility is constantly expanded by our history, a tradition in finding alien, new sounds. So it’s a great pleasure to go back and read articles from electronic music’s past. They just might open a window to its future. They certainly seem oddly more relevant as they age, in many cases. Keyboard (then Contemporary Keyboard) and Electronic Musician seem lacking in good archives, but at least you can explore the wonderful Synapse Magazine in its entirety, courtesy another synth legend – Cynthia at …

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iphones

How to Make a Music App for iOS, Free, with libpd: Exclusive Book Excerpt

What will you do with this blank slate? Photo (CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano. Apple yesterday described their iPad as “this magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” So – how about making mobile devices into what you want it to be? With the help of author Peter Brinkmann and publisher O’Reilly, we’d like to give you a taste of Peter’s new book, Making Musical Apps: Real-time audio synthesis on Android and iOS. Imagining that a lot of you are especially curious about iOS, we’ll include the chapter on how to get started with development. It …

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libpd_site

Pd, Everywhere: Free libpd Gets a New Site, New Book on Making Mobile Music Apps

Pure Data (Pd) is already a free, convenient tool for making synths, effects, and sequencers and other musical generators. But imagine stripping away all the things that tie it to a platform – UI, specific hardware support – so it will run just about anywhere, on anything, in any context. That’s what libpd, a free, embeddable, open source (BSD) tool for making interactive music, does. Coders can take their favorite language and their favorite platform, and just plug in the power of Pd. They don’t even have to know almost anything about Pd – they can let an intrepid Pd …

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Make it Tangible: Create Physical-to-Visual Interfaces with vvvv; Book Soon

The explosion of physical interfaces for computers continues. But it’s not so much the novelty of the idea as its evolution toward really being able to express ideas physically. Connecting visual expression to hands-on control, the creators of a new book entitled Prototyping Interfaces “sketch” in both the physical/electronic and digital/on-screen realms simultaneously. Color from an object can impact color onscreen, or a wooden knob can give a parameter physical form. Several things are significant about their effort versus the many other similar projects. First, they have beautiful documentation. (Yes, folks, if you’re scratching your heads wondering why you’re not …

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Tom's FM radio-sequencing module project, in all its glory.

Music Thing: A Radio Sequencer, How to Get Into DIY Synth Modules, How to Have Fun

Lured by the siren song of modular synthesis and DIY electronics, but not sure how to navigate the piles of requisite knowledge – or uncertain what the trip down this rabbit hole might have in store? For years, Tom Whitwell’s Music Thing was a beloved daily read, as that site and this one were among the early blog-format destinations for music tech. Tom moved on – something about a major day-gig at a paper called The Times, perhaps named after the font? – but that makes us all the more delighted to get a dispatch from him. In this guest …

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mannheimsteamrollercover

It’s Good to Be Mannheim Steamroller: Egyptian Artefacts, Wolves, and a Cape to Wear in the Studio – WSJ

Image: Jason Hickey. As Christmas revelers head out for last-minute shopping in the last surge of pre-holiday capitalism, they might catch over piped music the ouvre of one Mannheim Steamroller. For all the electronic artists we might imagine as representing the genre, this guy has sold one heck of a lot of Christmas records, in a strange brew of hyper-active electrified timbres and New Age. How many records? Well, enough that he is able to, from his Omaha home, raise wolves. Not yet fully grown, they require a full-time trainer (they now respond to commands in German), walks up to …

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