When Plants Jam with Synths: Leslie Garcia’s Open Project Lets Plants Talk with Sound

Pulsu(m) Plantae _ project presentation from LessNullVoid on Vimeo. You may have seen a plant used as a musical instrument before, by measuring capacitance across the leafy life form and turning it into a touch sensor. This is something different: it’s letting the plant itself express communication through sound, using biofeedback to turn the living systems on the plant into something audible. It is a synth jam, made by a plant, that tells you something about what the plant is sensing about the world around it. From Tijuana, México, media artist and musician Leslie Garcia shares the latest iteration of …

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Insane, Starship Control Panel Controls Sound Morphing-Synth in 3D: COSMOSƒ

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: manipulating sound presets should be as intuitive and powerful as regulating plasma coolant flow to the antimatter injector on a warp drive nacelle. I mean, knobs? How quaint. COSMOSƒ is a graphical morphing engine for sound, a standalone synthesizer with a wild, sci-fi interface. You can actually set up polar coordinates and navigate sounds through a sphere, in three dimensions. The sound engine is all internal, but looks like a lot of fun. (For more of this sort of thing, see the excellent, free and open source IanniX, which …

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What NI Was Teasing: Monark Minimoog-Modeling Synth, Remade Battery, in New Komplete

Native Instruments has been teasing new instrument software in recent days, and now we get to see what they were previewing: a new virtual-analog monosynth and a remade version of their drum sampler. But, hold on, before everyone yawns and leaves the building – there’s reason to pay attention to this news. First, yes, there is something notably absent in today’s announcement. While NI is making Komplete, their bundle of their extensive stable of software instruments, available for preorder, there’s still no sign of a big upgrade to Reaktor. The fact that the Monark video showed Reaktor patching may have …

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Discovering Analog, Visually: Meet the Oscillator, in Video Synths

Hearing synthesizers is great. But being able to hear and see – that’s another experience. And for all the renewed interest in analog modular synthesis for sound, a small but passionate scene is beginning to rekindle interest in visual analog synthesis. I find it inspiring even in how you might think about generative processes and synthesis in the software domain. And – well, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun to look at and use. In the latest example, we get to tour the basics of synthesis itself through video. If you’re new to this stuff, a promising …

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NI Teases New Synth: Video, SoundCloud Samples

Native Instruments has something new coming, revealed today in a teaser video. And as you’ll see, it’s something new that isn’t a DJ app for iPad. I expect you’ll even see some speculation about it online. I can’t speculate about it, as … I’ve seen it. So you can instead expect full coverage once this becomes public. I did clear with NI the ability to say what it isn’t, just in case this video is unclear. This does not involve hardware. It’s a new software instrument. Beyond that, I’ll leave you to watch the video, which I must say includes …

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Music Videos from NYC's Aurora Halal: Do Video Synths Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dripping with vividly-acidic synthetic analog textures that wash in and out of shot footage, the new music video for Maryland, USA artist Maxmillon Dunbar is a dreamy reverie of light and image. It’s a bath in color, swept up in the warm glow of the single “Loving the Drift.” Brooklyn-based, DC-born artist Aurora Halal is the director. I caught a terrific live set by her earlier this winter as part of her tour with DC’s virtuoso ITAL (see video below), so I can attest that she’s as at home in performance as in the studio. The video here has that …

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Music Videos from NYC’s Aurora Halal: Do Video Synths Dream of Electric Sheep?

Dripping with vividly-acidic synthetic analog textures that wash in and out of shot footage, the new music video for Maryland, USA artist Maxmillon Dunbar is a dreamy reverie of light and image. It’s a bath in color, swept up in the warm glow of the single “Loving the Drift.” Brooklyn-based, DC-born artist Aurora Halal is the director. I caught a terrific live set by her earlier this winter as part of her tour with DC’s virtuoso ITAL (see video below), so I can attest that she’s as at home in performance as in the studio. The video here has that …

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Sweet 12-Pack of Polyphony: Dave Smith Unveils All-New Prophet 12 [Video, Images]

Dave Smith has reason to celebrate this year. He’s been creating synths for 35 years. The MIDI protocol he helped create turned 30. And now, amidst a wave of new analog monosynths, he’s got a monster keyboard with – gasp – polyphony, and lots of it. Dave sent CDM some pics of his baby earlier this week. The Prophet 12 looks like a real titan, with 12-voice polyphony (of course) and what Dave says is an all-new design. That’s the surprise: whereas previous Dave Smith models have tended to build on the voice architecture of previous outings, Dave says that …

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The Monster: DIY Project Looks, And Sounds, Like Alien Spacecraft Control Panel

Leave it to the DIYer. Alex Pleninger’s name isn’t just marketing. This is one monster of a synth creation, looking and sounding like it was ripped, circuits still humming, from a wrecked UFO. Retro trackball, keyboard? Check. In-built computer display? Check. Makes … a mind-boggling array of sounds? Oh, yes. It’s retro-future goodness, powered by the legendary SID, Robert “Bob” Yannes’ synth-on-a-chip that powered the Commodore 64. (In fact, get Bob and Wolfgang together, and you have a fair amount of digital synthesis history – with Ensoniq and PPG represented. See today’s other story.) Thanks to Marc Resibois for the …

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Worth A Thousand Words, Easy: Videos Tour WaveMapper iOS App with Creator

You can see only his fingers and hear his voice, but that’s Wolfgang Palm narrating walk-throughs of his WaveMapper app, seen here last week. And he’s one important guy doing these screencasts. Hamburg-born Wolfgang built synths for Tangerine Dream, and developed ideas in wavetable synthesis and inter-synth communication that would come to impact every digital synth made since. And watching this probably makes more sense than reading my explanation from last week. I know owners of the previous PPG synth on iOS might have liked this in a new version of that app. But here, with the “mapping” matrix applying …

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