I Dream of Wireless: Two Crowd-funded Accessories Make Music Without Cables

There are still many situations in which cables have some advantages for control, as we saw in this week’s tutorial on iPad connections. But two separate crowd-funded projects are working on high-performance wireless solutions for music controllers. That could open up the chance for performers to move around, take advantage of tilt sensors and other location tools inside controllers, and work with gear in studio situations more flexibly. Keith McMillen already has a track record using crowd funding to support projects – and they’ve been getting better at it. After the “3D” grid-and-ribbon QuNeo suffered production delays, the keyboard-style QuNexus …

READ MORE →

Box: Robotically-Manipulated Rectangles Become Projection-Mapped 3D Illusions

Big robots, subtle effects. That’s the result in “Box,” a mesmerizing set of etudes on three-dimensional projection-mapped illusions. Spun and levitated on two robots – the type you’d normally see in auto manufacturing and the like – rectangular projection surfaces transform into three-dimensional spaces for a wide range of effects. Each basic element of technique here is familiar, but as we reach an apex of neo-baroque digital experimentation, those techniques fuse into magical illusions, each more dazzling than the last. It’s filmmaking, but everything is captured in-camera. (It should still be reasonably impressive in person, though the parallax effects require …

READ MORE →

Laptop or iPad DJ? What If It Didn’t Matter? New NI Hardware, Mad Zach Demo

That’s one small step for DJ hardware, one giant leap into the post-PC era. Native Instruments today has updated their integrated hardware for Traktor DJs, the 4-channel Traktor Kontrol S4 and 2-channel Traktor Kontrol S2. But while the updates are nice, the biggest transformation is that you can watch a DJ working with these controllers alongside either an iPad or a Mac/PC laptop – and it really doesn’t matter which they’re using. Oh, sure, the laptop is more flexible when it comes to storage, and NI’s iOS software still lags on some of the nice features of the desktop version, …

READ MORE →

Turning 24 Touch Displays into a Multi-Player OS: Obscura's Steve Mason [NXNE]

15,360 x 3240 resolution on 24 interconnected touch displays: this is no iPad. Toronto-based freelancer Amanda Connon-Unda headed to Toronto’s hottest interactive conference for CDM to catch Obscura’s Steve Mason, revealing what it’s like to design a massively-multiplayer “spatial” OS. It’s been a long journey as the SF firm went from thinking big with projection mapping to rethinking touch interaction. Here’s what Amanda learned. -PK Steve Mason is brimming with enthusiasm. The VP of innovation at San Francisco’s Obscura Digital is describing the new design of their spatial operating system, before a crowd gathered at the North by Northeast Interactive …

READ MORE →

Turning 24 Touch Displays into a Multi-Player OS: Obscura’s Steve Mason [NXNE]

15,360 x 3240 resolution on 24 interconnected touch displays: this is no iPad. Toronto-based freelancer Amanda Connon-Unda headed to Toronto’s hottest interactive conference for CDM to catch Obscura’s Steve Mason, revealing what it’s like to design a massively-multiplayer “spatial” OS. It’s been a long journey as the SF firm went from thinking big with projection mapping to rethinking touch interaction. Here’s what Amanda learned. -PK Steve Mason is brimming with enthusiasm. The VP of innovation at San Francisco’s Obscura Digital is describing the new design of their spatial operating system, before a crowd gathered at the North by Northeast Interactive …

READ MORE →
If the iPhone unnerves you and you want something a bit more ... nostalgic ... here's the MS-20 mini cozying up to long-time Japanese Korg rival Roland. Ebony and ivor... erm, gray. Photo by Deceptikon.

Deceptikon Pairs MS-20 mini, iPhone Arpeggionome – And Chooses Favorite Remixes

It’s all Deceptikon, in the remix – gear and tracks. First, 1978, meet 2013. The re-released Korg MS-20 mini here teams up with the lovely iPhone sequencer app Arpeggionome, courtesy the wonders of MIDI. (See our recent feature on the app.) As Arpeggionome’s clever developer Alexandernaut describes it: My friend Deceptikon (http://deceptikon.net) tries Arpeggionome for iPhone for the first time, connecting it to his MS-20 mini. Levels, drums, and effects with [M-Audio-made] Evolution U-Control controlling Ableton Live. Yes, Midiman acquired Evolution and continued to make the controller here. Shame the UC-33e hasn’t seen a successor, actually. And the whole rig …

READ MORE →

Bleeding-Edge Musical Innovation, Live from CCRMA; Full Report, Monolake + Tarik Barri Live

Ivory tower, let down your hair. Make no mistake. The slightly-impossible-to-pronounce acronym CCRMA (“karma”), standing for the not-terribly-sexy “Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics,” is one of the world’s hotbeds for innovation in electronic music. From the lowest-level DSP code to the craziest live performances, this northern California research center nesting at Stanford is where a lot is going on. So, when they put on a concert, this isn’t just another dry exposition of “tape” pieces, academics scratching their chins and trying not to nod off. (Trust me: I’ve … on occasion darned nearly rubbed my chin raw …

READ MORE →

Melodies in Triangles: Christopher Willits on Playing Grids of Push [Tutorial Video]

You can think about melodies and harmonies in geometric shapes. In fact, instrumentalists playing piano keys or guitar frets have already been doing that for some time. What’s happening with grid controllers like Push – among other alternatives – is that it’s now easy to rearrange melodic setups to see and play these relationships in new ways. Musician Christopher Willits has started a series of videos called CREATE (hmmm… like that name somehow), through the creative community platform Overlap. Willits tells CDM, “I really love this instrument. I’m excited to work with it more and become really comfortable. Like any …

READ MORE →

Augmented Audiovisual Grid Mayhem, with Launchpad: Daft Punk + Skrillex + Conte + Screen

Squares are gonna fly. That’s what happens when a Novation Launchpad meets a screen meets some mashed-up remixes meets Ableton meets audiovisual triggering. Okay, I have no idea how to describe this, but it does reveal some of the possibilities as conventional AV slice-up technique is applied in a new way, a TV screen merging with the performance interface. And it is very cool. (I was skeptical when I saw Daft Punk and Skrillex in my inbox, but this sober bearded gentleman, looking almost melancholy as he oversees the action, is in some serious business. Quite a lot of his …

READ MORE →
The record lives. Drip.fm co-founders Sam and Miguel merge subscription ease and affordability with high-quality downloads you keep, and even closer connections to artists and labels. Think "fan club," not "utility company." Here, Sam tells CDM how it came about. Photo: Will Calcutt.

Saving Downloads, Fans? Sam Valenti IV Talks Ghostly’s Drip.FM As Label Roster Grows

PK: In the digital age, subscription services or “all-you-can-eat” music gives passionate listeners nothing if not flexibility and a wealth of music. But they can also distance music lovers from labels they care about – and the reliance on streaming threatens to sever the special relationship you have with albums that are really special. Drip.fm is different. Founded by Ghostly International, it has the affordable monthly subscription rate – but with actual high-quality downloads you keep. First launched with some of Ghostly’s boutique-quality electronic music, it has since expanded to some big names. Today could be a watershed moment for …

READ MORE →