Grid Tricks: How Launchpad S Differs, Emulate Push with Launchpad, 11 Launchpad Display, More

Life on the grid gets better and better. Yes, these blinky, lighty arrays of squares do continue to proliferate. But musicians are also hacking away to make them more useful. And they do that with perhaps nothing as much as the Novation Launchpad, a kind of workhorse of the grid world. While one of the simpler grid controllers available, Novation’s hardware is also uniquely affordable – and uniquely rugged, standing up to plenty of abuse. Here, we get to see how the Launchpad S differs from the original, how both Launchpads can emulate Ableton’s flashy-new Push, and what happens when …

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Deconstructed Dance Floor: EVOL’s Strange Experiments with Light, Sound, and Acid

For all the years of “classical” electronic music performance from academia, the experience of entering a club or dance music program can be awfully avant garde and surreal. There’s a barrage of sensory input – flashing lights, strange, repetitive sounds. The Spanish/British duo Roc Jiménez de Cisneros and Stephen Sharp, aka EVOL, have taken that feeling to its extreme. And the results are weird, wonderful fun. (The two play Berlin Thursday night at N.K. on a diverse program including Chris Douglas and Bill Kouligas; N.K. is one of Europe’s most consistent venues for electronic experimentalism, and somehow will keep feeding …

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Bhoreal Makes Grids Color, Open, Controls Robots and Lasers; Final Hours of Funding

BHOREAL gets ready from MID New Media Design on Vimeo. It’s been almost a decade since the monome first began making appearances. Now, grids are everywhere – and that raises the question, where will the next innovation come from? What’s exciting about Bhoreal is that, far from simply cloning the monome, it realizes potential frontiers that the original monome couldn’t. And as Bhoreal reaches the final hours of crowd funding, the last chance to be first in line for the first hardware, it’s performing a lot of tricks to show off. Think lasers and robots. See the video at top …

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MOTU's revamped interface now comes with themes, like this lovely black version. And it runs on Windows, not just Mac. DP8, SONAR X2 each tune these mature DAWs; here's a look at what they have to offer. Image courtesy MOTU.

Two DAWs Ship: SONAR X2, MOTU DP8 – As DP8 Invades Windows, Too

Two DAWs, announced earlier this year, are now shipping this week. One is Cakewalk’s SONAR X2 for Windows, which extends the new user interface overhaul – loved by some, despised by others – unveiled in X1. But PC stalwart Cakewalk has new competition on the Windows platform. MOTU’s DP8, apart from being a fairly significant overhaul for Mac users, also marks the arrival of that DAW on Windows. The timing is interesting, too, as there have been long gaps in the release cycle for two other DAWs – Apple Logic and Ableton Live – that are widely expected to be …

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Mostly Robot, Behind the Scenes: When Electronic Masters Form a Band [Video, Panel Audio]

It began as a way to demonstrate Native Instruments technology. But watch the video above of Mostly Robot, and you’ll see what happens when some well-loved solo electronic stars work to form a band. This isn’t just about some cool toys: it’s about really playing electronics as an instrument. And as the Internet debates what it means to play, they ask a question that could be even more important: what does it mean to play together? Mostly Robot is an “all-star band” made up of some really amazing people. Jamie Lidell is known as the Warp artist who has gone …

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Deadmau5 Performs At The Chelsea At The Cosmopolitan Of Las Vegas

Deadmau5, Honest About His Own Press-Play Sets, Misses Out On “Scene”

Pay no attention to the mouse behind the curtain; just look at all the pretty lights. Seriously, that’s what he’s telling us to do, and on that, more power to him. Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage (CC-BY-ND) The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Deadmau5 might want to take off that mouse head and look around a bit more often. But give the artist some credit: he’s brutally honest about his own music. In a set entitled “we all hit play,” he has this to say about his own performances: “I think given about 1 hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of …

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Archimedes, by Daedelus: Sheer Poetry of Robotic Moving Mirrors

ARCHIMEDES Teaser from Jack Whiteley on Vimeo. You’ve seen live shows with projection, and more projection, and LED walls, and LED walls with projection. “Archimedes” is something different. An array of robotic mirrors, looking for all the world like some attachment for the International Space Station, moves in a choreographed ballet behind the artist. With bright projectors aiming at the mirrors, the result is a brilliantly-shining geometric dance of illumination. The work of Emmanuel Biard and David Leonard in conjunction with Daedelus, the machine itself is almost a performance – and then it comes alive in a blast of light …

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Inside Mostly Robot Superband: Jamie Lidell + Shiftee + Tim Exile + Mr Jimmy + Jeremy Ellis + Pfadfanderei

The cast of characters crazy enough to try this. Image courtesy Native Instruments. In 1985, Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder met onstage in Los Angeles to perform a Synthesizer Medley. (See video, bottom.) Can vocalist/electronic music legend Jamie Lidell (and keyboadist Mr. Jimmy), experimental sound guru and producer Tim Exile, champion turntablist DJ Shiftee, and “finger drummer” virtuoso Jeremy Ellis pull off something that epic, backed by visuals from Berlin’s Pfadfinderei? That’s what music tech vendor Native Instruments is hoping, as it debuts the “superband” Mostly Robot at SÓNAR in Barcelona in June. Now, when you …

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Inbound: Z3TA+ Waveshaping Synth, The Next Generation

Cakewalk’s Z3TA+ has long been a favorite virtual analog / waveshaping soft synth, so much so that it consistently hits top 10 lists of software classics, even as it’s been (in past, at least) a Windows-only offering. Years, later, though, it’s most definitely due for an update. Cakewalk has released a video of what’s in store this week, with a redesigned UI, new effects, deeper editing options (which, incidentally, had been my disappointment with the first generation), and improved sound quality. Highlights: New sound content, many from original Z3TA+ sound designers New waveshaping functionality New filter types (check out the …

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Visual Music: Send Audio, MIDI to Live Visuals with GrandVJ 1.5, VST

On Create Digital Motion today, I write about the 1.5 release of ArKaos GrandVJ, the latest version of the popular Mac and Windows VJ tool. The big innovation: insert a VST plug-in into software like Ableton Live, and you can pipe MIDI and audio to your live visuals for easy synchronization and collaboration. You can even, as the video demonstrates, run an Ethernet cable between two machines. (This works on both Mac and Windows, despite the appearance of only Apple laptops in the video.) GrandVJ is doubly interesting for readers on the music site, as it’s long featured a music-centric …

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