Music and math unite, from Chowning to Rhythmicon

You have to love German. In English, I can string together whole paragraphs that try and fail to capture the potential of electronic sound. In German, we get to call an event Technosphärenklänge – a word whose utterance is a timbral adventure in itself. And in an event with that name promising to be a landmark for the electronic music sphere, CTM Festival is bringing together pioneering machines and pioneering humans. It’s a convergence of the worlds of mathematics and music that has never happened in this combination on one stage before – and we’ll take you there.


Google are giving away experiments to teach music and code

Technology’s record in the last century was often replacing music making with music consumption. But in this century, that might turn around. Google seems to hope so. Today, the company posted a set of free sound toys on its site, all running in your browser. They’re fun diversions for now – but thanks to open code and powerful new browser features, they could become more.

Bob playing theremin '52_1

Watch Bob Moog play and talk about the Theremin

It’s the instrument that was the first real electronic music product. And it’s the reason we even know the name Bob Moog – as it inspired Moog to go into electronics and the sale of electronic musical instruments. So, when the Theremin is the subject of a video by Bob Moog himself, it’s a big deal. You’ll have to settle for early-90s video quality, but you’ll be treated to the dulcet tones of Dr. Moog’s New York baritone narration of Theremin history, followed by an enchanting and pretty-darn-technically-good performance on the Russian electronic invention. Thanks to Chris Stack and experimentalsynth …


Read the article Bob Moog wrote when he met Leon Theremin

It’s hard to imagine what the evolution of the synthesizer would have been without Leon Theremin. For one, it was Theremin’s invention that first captivated Robert Moog. Theremin kits were Dr. Moog’s first product and many would say, his first electronic instrumental love. That impact was significant, too, on a whole generation – actually, even my own father made building a kit Theremin one of his early experiences with electronics. The fall of the Soviet Union still has ripples felt in the electronic music world today. And surely there’s no more poignant moment in the intertwining of post-Cold War history …


Beyond Traditional Instruments, a Status Report from the SoundLab

There’s nothing more personal than creative expression. And so experimenting with how you make music is more than just novelty: it’s a way to understand the fundamentals of how we relate to machines. And thinking outside the normal avenues means the ability to reach new people, as SoundLab is doing with audiences with learning disabilities. Ashley Elsdon joins us to give us the latest of how the project is going. A little while ago, CDM kindly posted a piece on our SoundLab project, which aims to help people with learning disabilities make music and collaborate in music creation. That was …


MusicMakers Hacklab: Next Stop, Tijuana; Attend or Just Listen

From Germany to Mexico – the next location to host a collaborative laboratory of musical invention will be in Tijuana. One of the participants in our MusicMakers Hacklab in Berlin at CTM Festival has decided to take that inspiration with her, and mount her own event in northern Mexico. You can join, too, if you live in Tijuana or can get yourself there. What’s compelling to me is that the mission will blend some of the oldest, most retro tech with new applications and new ideas – see description below. If you can’t get to Mexico, though, we can finish …


Play a Great-Sounding Theremin in Your Web Browser: Distraction of the Day

If you want an explanation for why you’d want to build sophisticated audio into the Web, maybe it’s just because you don’t like fun. Fun is what you get out of this Web Audio Theremin toy, the work of one Luke Phillips of Femur Design. The web audio theremin is a touch friendly & responsive audio synthesizer built in javascript using the Web Audio API with HTML5 canvas. As the user interacts with the screen synthesized sounds are generated in the style of a moog theremin and the canvas displays a visual representation of the audio. “Theremin” is a loose …


Making the Theremin Digital: How the Moog Theremini Works, What MIDI Brings

Let’s get one thing straight: Theremins aren’t digital. (Apologies for the headline for a moment, but stay with us.) Theremins are based on perhaps the most important analog process there is in sound, heterodyning. And Leon Theremin can’t claim credit for this, nor Bob Moog or USA or Russia or Germany – it’s initially Canada, in the form of one Reginald Fessenden. (Go, Canadian engineering! Later on, Edwin Howard Armstrong develops the superheterodyne circuit that most resembles the Theremin, so that’s actually one gold medal each to USA, Russia, Canada.) It’s a fancy word, but the concept is dead-simple: you …


Reconnect with Electronic Music’s Revolutionary Roots, in Stunning Images [Gallery, Videos]

“On a western device, you push a button and get a result. On a Soviet instrument, you push a button and get something.” -Benzo When music was first electrified, it was nothing short of a revolution – literally. And as today’s technologies again attempt to fuse human and machine, there’s no better time to connect with past visions again. “Discontinuity” is the theme of the this year’s CTM Festival in Berlin. But it sets the stage for an unprecedented movement to put today’s machines back in context, across the barriers of time, and – increasingly, in a closer European/west Asian …


See Moog’s Cool New Instruments: the Flying-Saucer-Shaped Theremini, the Packed Sub37 Synth [Details]

In two instruments, we’ve seen the latest future of Moog. One looks like the future, white and flying-saucer-like, a 70s retro-scifi egg/baguette with an equally futuristic sound. The other expands on the latest Moog synthesis ideas to create a vast timbral galaxy that we’ll hear more in the future. Moog’s Theremini gestural instrument and Sub37 synthesizer made their debut, and we’ve talked to engineering to learn what they mean. You might not knowing it looking at one of them, but the latest stuff from Moog charts new sonic territory by building on recent successes. Those first departures for the North …