Notes Visualized as Beams of Color: New Work, Toshio Iwai

Clavilux 2000 – Interactive instrument for generative music visualization from Jonas Heuer on Vimeo. Think of playing musical notes for a moment, or close your eyes while fingering a piano keyboard. Odds are, some visual – however abstract – pops into your mind. Visualizing musical notes is second nature in the digital realm, once a note and an image can each be represented with numbers. Clavilux 2000 by Jonas Friedemann Heuer is one of the latest works to run with the idea. As you play notes, beams of color drift up from the keyboard. In 3D mode, those beams take …

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Exquisite Music Video Paints Sound, Rhodes, Moog in Light Paint

In the Pocket (Rhodes and Moog Light Paint) from Ethan Goldhammer on Vimeo. Fantastic, hip, soulful keys couple with brilliant stop-motion editing, as a Moog and Rhodes keyboard are splashed with light painting, in this new music video from Ethan Goldhammer. (See his blog for more.) It’s the perfect example of how a much-seen technique can retain its novelty when used creatively, especially as the sound itself seems to dance in light-up oscilloscope patterns. Background: Original music by Ethan Goldhammer and S. Burke. Time Lapse footage shot in August 2008 on Block Island, RI. Stop motion and light paint September …

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Gaming for Visualists: Jeff Minter Gridrunner Revolution, Trippy Sheep

Introducing Sheepintology from Jeff Minter on Vimeo. You know the type – the VJs who have eighteen layers of videos, particle effects exploding everywhere. Jeff Minter’s Llamasoft is to game design as those people are to projectors. The thing is, he does it perfectly. Llamasoft’s creations can make you laugh at a particle effect. And that’s a thing of beauty. Best of all, Llamasoft is the only game development house I know of who dream of “light synthesizers” – just the sort of thing we live, breathe, and eat around here. As he puts it, Minter dreams of: “something which …

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Elegant Design, and Giving Music Geometry: Adam Guzman + Julia Tsao

Nosaj Thing Visual Show Compilation Test Shoot from Adam Guzman on Vimeo. Designing visualist work is often a baroque process of iterating through more and more layers, ornaments, and complexity. But it’s stunning, sometimes, how people respond to simple, elegant ideas. Adam Guzman‘s collaboration with Taiwanese-born, LA-based designer Julia Tsao yields this beautiful sequence of geometric motion, choreographed perfectly to music. (My favorite comment? “killing us softly, with graceful simplicity.”) Now, I’ve found myself getting more interesting in doing this kind of work with generative software, so it’s possible to have complete control over the animation, but this piece proves …

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Brainpipe Interview: Creators of Trippy Indie Game Talk Interactive Sound

Funny, I’m usually able to “acheive” that most days. Ummm… art imitates life? Brainpipe is a psychedellic journey down the neural pathways, a long, strange trip into the minds of an unusual band of independent game designers. And while some games demand muscular graphics cards or brilliant flat panels, this is one that requires playing with headphones. The immersive sense of the descent down this brain’s pathway is entirely dependent on its sound. While even big development houses often license sound engines, the band of hard-core designers at Digital Eel also rolled their own interactive audio code to make the …

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Thursday Night in Brooklyn: What if Live Visualists Came First?

Morgan Packard (music) and Joshue Ott (visuals) at Mutek in 2008. I’m really excited to play with these guys, as I think they have a lot of great ideas about the collaboration between music and visuals. Photo: mutek2007. VJs and visualists are often asked to just make something nice happen behind musicians. What if that relationship were more intense? And what if, instead of accompanying the music, the musicians accompanied the visualists (perhaps closer to a live cinema structure)? That’s the question Daniel Hai and Joshue Ott ask in their series Soundtrack. It doesn’t mean the music is secondary – …

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Data Moshing the Online Videos: My God, It's Full of Glitch

Compression Reel from David OReilly on Vimeo. 8-bit chip music went mainstream in the last few years. Well, now it’s video compression’s turn. What, you thought crunchy blippy glitch sounds were cool, but that video could only look crap when over-compressed digitally? Too late: even Kanye West is doing it now. First up: the best of this genre seems to come from director David O’Reilly, pictured above. The man has his own compression-themed t-shirts. The music video getting the most blogosphere airplay comes from Chairlift. Chairlift’s “Evident Utensil” is a music video made of datamosh errors – a twisted visual …

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Data Moshing the Online Videos: My God, It’s Full of Glitch

Compression Reel from David OReilly on Vimeo. 8-bit chip music went mainstream in the last few years. Well, now it’s video compression’s turn. What, you thought crunchy blippy glitch sounds were cool, but that video could only look crap when over-compressed digitally? Too late: even Kanye West is doing it now. First up: the best of this genre seems to come from director David O’Reilly, pictured above. The man has his own compression-themed t-shirts. The music video getting the most blogosphere airplay comes from Chairlift. Chairlift’s “Evident Utensil” is a music video made of datamosh errors – a twisted visual …

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Inspiration: A Musical, Visual Sketchbook

moiré (piano and organ) from defetto on Vimeo. I expect I’m not alone in this: I use to spend time as a kid listening to long records of Beethoven and other stuff I loved, doodling endlessly in a sketchbook. I immediately found stimulation in the challenges of synesthesia: did that squiggle that was so much fun to draw while listening to a phrase really mean anything? Did the art look like chaos, or could I lose myself in the tunes the right way so that somehow I recorded what I was hearing? Later, composing scores and experimenting with graphical notation …

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Auditorium: Free Flash Music Game Creates Music with Streams of Particles

Auditorium is a fascinating free Flash game that turns interactive music arrangement into a series of puzzles. The center of the game is what the creators call “flow” – a visual stream of particles that can be directed to audio “containers” to create sound. The user places circles with icons signifying direction in the stream to redirect the particles where desired. As the stream hits the containers, it produces musical patterns. The results aren’t entirely open-ended – that is, there is a fairly fun puzzle game here, in that you can only “clear” a level by directing the flow of …

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