astrocantus

Music of the Spheres, Player Roll Style: Astro Cantus iPhone App Plays the Universe

In the latest take on sonifying data in musical form, iPhone app Astro Cantus plots star data from the universe as musical notes. It turns the the sphere of heavens above the Earth into a massive piano roll. Co-founding developer Rocky Alvey, according to the creators, dismantled a music box as a kid, and that music box notion (yet again) is a big part of the concept here. What’s notable is that the app’s sonification does indeed represent not only the stars themselves but some of the data – spectra of the stars are translated into pitch. And there are …

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Meditative Short Films with Hypnotic Music, Made in the Realm of the Micro

Visualist Charlie Visnic is making beautiful, compact short films, mixing meticulously-constructed, delicate music with stunning imagery. The visual side always ventures into ephemeral realms, unseen worlds and micro-photography. For instance, behold Jared Smyth’s series Morning Music + Coffee Consumption, shot here by Charlie. That’s not just advice to the viewer: the series is shot in the mornings. (You have to have good friends – or at least good coffee – to get them going in the AM.) In the top film, the musical personnel: Jeff Numainville – Microkorg Michael Goggin – Guitar Charlie Visnic – Bass, Modular Synth Dantes Rosete …

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armhammer

Kitchen Contact Mic Chemistry: Make a Mic from Baking Soda, Cream of Tartar

Now, aside from making fake volcano simulations, you can actually get some recording done with this stuff. Science! Photo (CC-BY-ND) Rodrigo Huerta. Need a new mic to play with? Maybe you should raid your kitchen pantry. London-based musician Leafcutter John writes us to share a detailed tutorial on cooking up new mics from common household ingredients: Real Sound Cookery – Make a contact mic with baking soda and cream of tartar. [leafcutterjohn.com] That in turn is inspired by a terrific, detailed video by our friend Collin Cunningham for MAKE:Magazine (Collin’s also been a regular at our Handmade Music series in …

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Fun with Waves, As Videos Reveal Guitar String Movement – and iPhone Shutters

At bottom, a strobe and high-speed camera accurately represent the way in which a string is moving. At top, a video taken with an iPhone camera distorts your sense of how the string is moving by capturing instead images of standing waves, caused by the rolling shutter on the device. The video isn’t wrong – it’s just showing you beautiful visualizations of standing waves that make visible how the shutter works on the camera more than they do how the guitar works. Full disclosure: I love waves. Analog, digital, acoustic, we’re talking vibrations in sound (and other substances, as well …

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mooglab

MoogLab to Teach Science through Electronic Music, But Your Votes Needed

Want to see hundreds of pieces of music kit from keyboards to oscilloscopes, plus some 1500 mini-Theremin toys for students, coupled with US-wide education to help introduce young people to science? That’s the idea behind a grant proposal by the Moog Foundation. The Foundation’s MoogLab teaches science through sound – a worthy cause. Not only was Bob Moog’s life in electronic music ignited by discovering the Theremin, but many of today’s generation of scientists and thinkers were raised on electronic sound kits a few short decades ago. Without the same exposure to science and sound, young boys and girls may …

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Sol Installation Probes Solar Energy, Uses Rapid Processing Prototyping

Sol, an interactive “spatial” installation, examines the roots of solar energy. (Your sun: the greatest nuclear fusion power source within light years.) Visitors to the installation get to participate in “staging” the whole cycle, playing with particles that simulate nuclear fusion, then watching the response of DMX-controlled LED and fluorescent lighting, all set to an ambient soundscape. The project is the work of small design shop TheProduct*, commissioned by Humboldt University Berlin. We saw TheProduct*’s terrific musical multi-touch table way back in 2007 on Create Digital Music. The show was curated by Neues Universum e.V, partering with neo.studio neumann schneider …

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Notes and Neurons: Bobby McFerrin Shows Everybody Gets Pentatonic

World Science Festival 2009: Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale from World Science Festival on Vimeo. At the World Science Festival in June here in New York, specialists – including musical specialist Bobby McFerrin – gathered to ask what in music we humans hear universally, versus what is culturally specific. Is our response to music hard-wired or culturally determined? Is the reaction to rhythm and melody universal or influenced by environment? Join host John Schaefer, Jamshed Barucha, scientist Daniel Levitin, Professor Lawrence Parsons and musical artist Bobby McFerrin for live performances and cross cultural demonstrations to illustrate …

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Playing Bananas, Potted Plants, and a Workshop on Microorganism-made Music

NK Berlin is a planetary hub for wild experiments made with music, technology, and electronics. When you can’t be in Berlin soaking it up in person, you can explore the oddities assembled on their MySpace page. A recent workshop by Andrey Smirnov and Guy Van Belle on Theremins led to these unusual videos, playing a potted plant: …and a bunch of bananas (footage from the Theremin Center, Moscow). Via the Pd list, though, it seems that the next NK workshop will go somewhere else altogether: music with microorganisms. Really – you’ll need a USB microscope. It’s electronic music in a …

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Free Music Mixes from Amon Tobin, Deru in Celebration of Space

We had a blast (ahem) Saturday night at the Yuri’s Night party at NASA Ames Research Center; stay tuned for video and more, including the results of the Futuristic Musical Design Challenge. But that’s no reason the party has to end. If you’ve listened through all 55 songs on the 45 Tribute and want still more music, Amon Tobin and Deru have kindly donated music mixes for the yuricdm.com minisite. It’s good listening to pick up your week: Exclusive Free Mix: Amon Tobin, Back from Space Exclusive Free Mix: Deru And here are the direct links to listen / download: …

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Ground Control Broadcasting Now: Space-tacular Music + Motion on yuricdm.com

I’ll be live from the hangar, working to connect you virtually from around the globe. Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. Hello from Ground Control: this week, I’ll be coming to you live from CDM’s micro-blog for Yuri’s Night Bay Area, ground zero for the global space rave celebrating human exploration of the cosmos. CDM’s challenge: to bring all the goodness up close and personal to you, from California to wherever you are on Planet Earth. Watch the minisite now, during the event, and in the couple of weeks following at: http://yuricdm.com or subscribe to the yuricdm.com RSS feed. Yuri’s …

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