Returning the festival to a place for the specific and the new, at Atonal

Electronic music, even at its most adventurous, has a bit of a chicken and egg problem at the moment. Festivals feed off of other festivals. Projects are made to be as portable as possible, touring from one place to another. Venues, crowds, and even the festival programs themselves are made to be as interchangeable as possible. None of these things on its own is a bad thing; music touring as an institution has likely been around as long as musicians have owned shoes. But at some point, you need something new to happen. You need someone to do something specific …


Outside dance music, systems of contemplation with Inner8, sYn

Daniele Antezza and Federico Nitti are seated in a patch of grass in the park, lost in reflection like giddy monks. The conversation turns to archaic geometries from lost civilizations, then to how to let loose unstable configurations of sound, then how to sweep away a party crowd in the whole experience. But, perhaps true to his Mediterranean roots, Daniele’s favorite English word for describing the elements of his work is “taste.” Inner8 is the project for people whose flavor palette turns to the experimental. Daniele is known to techno fans for his collaboration Dadub with Giovanni Conti. That act …


Envelop Wants to Make an Ambisonic 3D Venue and Tools

3D, spatialized sound is some part of the future of listening – both privately and in public performances. But the question is, how? Right now, there are various competing formats, most of them proprietary in some way. There are cinema formats (hello, Dolby), meant mainly for theaters. There are research installations, such as those in Germany (TU Berlin, Frauenhofer) and Switzerland (ZHDK), to name a few. And then there are specific environments like the 4DSOUND installation I performed on and on which CDM hosted an intensive weekend hacklab – beautiful, but only in one place in the world, and served …

The impressive, futuristic physical form of the 4DSOUND system. Photo: George Schroll.

Spatial Sound, in Play: Watch What Hackers Did in One Weekend with 4DSOUND

You can’t really hear the results of the Spatial Audio Hacklab sitting at your computer – by definition, you had to be there to take in the experience of sounds projected in space. But you’ll probably feel the enthusiasm and imagination of its participants. And that’s why it’s a pleasure to share the video documentation, produced for 4DSOUND by a team from FIBER – the Dutch audiovisual events and art platform – at Amsterdam Dance Event last month. In unleashing a diverse group of artist-experimenters on 4DSOUND’s unique speaker installation, we got a chance to create a sonic playground, a …


Spatial Audio, Explained: How the 4DSOUND System Could Change How You Hear [Videos]

It was inspired by Nikolas Tesla’s radical ideas about energy in air – and site-specific opera. It breaks every notion you have of how to mix, how to set volume, and what “panning” or “stereo” means. It’s, specifically, the forest of metal columns filled with omni-directional speakers we’ve come to know as 4DSOUND. And it’s all coming to Amsterdam Dance Event in October in a big way. But what’s most important about 4DSOUND isn’t just this particular, not-inexpensive and specific installation. It’s the fact that once you start imagining sound as virtually projected into three-dimensional space, you probably won’t really …

Displacing sound is one of the illusions that figures into their work. Here, a field recording from another environment will later find its way into the Kraftwerk interior.

Exploring Sound in the Vertical, as Three Brothers Make New Sonic Architectures

Korinsky – Atelier für vertikale Flächen /// documentary from Korinsky on Vimeo. We imagine we see where we are. We even describe our eyes as being open as awareness. But perhaps that’s because we are so deeply connected to sound as to take that connection for granted. Perceptive research has revealed in profound relief that we hear where we are, too. And artists are beginning to take that knowledge and fuse it with art making. To quote The Outer Limits, “We will control the vertical. We can roll the image, make it flutter. We can change the focus to a …


Full Immersion in Audio, as Artists Explore 4DSOUND in a Spatial Grid [Ableton, Max, Lemur]

New sound experiences demand not only new content, but new terrain – architectural audio, spaces that can take on new meanings. And that’s why 4DSOUND in Amsterdam is such a compelling canvas. 4DSOUND is a unique installation, 256 square meters (2700+ square feet) of floor, divided into an equal grid. On that grid, columns house 48 omnidirectional speakers, as nine sub-speakers rumble beneath the floor. The result is a sonic bath, a three-dimensional audio environment. Ableton Live (with Max for Live) and Liine’s Lemur iPad app work with that system to finely position sound in the new space that’s created. …


From Gestures to MIDI: Geco Promises Music Applications for Leap Motion

Here we go again. Touchless hand gestures have been part of electronic musical performance ever since the Theremin first hummed to life almost 100 years ago. And those gestures embody the same challenges and promise. We have the ability as humans to think spatially, in three dimensions, and to have a tight sense of control via our muscles of gestures in space. We use gestures to communicate and to manipulate our world. Those same expectations can be disappointed in electronic systems, however, as they lack tangible physical feedback and may misinterpret our intentions. It’s easier to play with these ideas …


Music and Architecture: Corpus Sets Spaces into Resonance, in an Eerie Hum

Imagine an architectural music in which the surfaces, materials, and forms of a space speak directly. In Corpus, resonant frequencies make that happen. The architecture sings. French duo Art of Failure, Nicolas Maigret & Nicolas Montgermont, regularly explore media at the point of failure in their audiovisual work. They use the metaphor of glass, visible only as it accumulates flaws (dust and scratches). For Corpus, they make architectural spaces sonic by finding resonant frequencies. The results are eerie, as forms emit long, plaintive drones. They’ve also done a beautiful job of documenting the results, with videos that are essays on …

AudioGL presents a new vision of visual music creation, extended into space. Images courtesy the developer.

AudioGL Beta Arrives, Complete With Futuristic 3D Musical Creation Flythroughs

Here in flatland, ideas for musical interfaces may have become largely well-trodden. Not so in the third dimension. And so, one of the most unusual audiovisual interfaces has now hit beta, ready for you to explore. And that does mean “explore”: think navigation through spinning, animated galaxies of musical objects in this spatial modular sound environment. With the beta available, you can determine whether that´s a bold, new final frontier, or just the wheel, reinvented. The work of Toronto-based artist and engineer Jonathan Heppner, AudioGL is a stunning vision of music creation in 3D space, with modular synths, advanced user-editable …