tubes

Bach Played on Tubes Will Remind You That Acoustic is Fun

I must admit to knowing neither the term tubes musicaux, nor “boomwhackers.” We’re on the eve of the Musikmesse trade show, which for music technology sites means time spent largely in Hall 5.1 – the bit dedicated to electronic stuff and “DJs.” But that’s no reason to ignore the possibilities afforded by acoustic sound. So long as people are being inventive with materials, that end of the spectrum (so to speak) will remain compelling. And the “Boomwhacker” is a great example. As Wikipedia kindly fills me in, “Boomwhackers Tuned Percussion Tubes are lightweight, hollow, color-coded, plastic tubes, tuned to musical …

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Watch 16 Rubik’s Cubes Turn Into a Visual Music Sequencer

The future happens gradually — and then by the time you’re sequencing a Web browser using Rubik’s Cubes, you might barely notice. But Sweden’s most inventive producer is back yet again with his latest novelty, this time turning one of the world’s best-selling toys (hundreds of millions of units) into a usable sequencer. HÃ¥kan Lidbo (concept and sound design) teams up with Per-Olov Jernberg (programming & visual design) and Romeo Brahasteanu (game board). The clever conceit here is to swap black for one of the colors, thus creating a foreground and background. Make a 4×4 grid of these cubes of …

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rubberduckie

Watch A Candy and Rubber Duck Synth and Animation Visualize Music

Sometimes, the best ideas come from raw imagination. The Knuckle Visualizer is the work of a Korean animation house. It doesn’t actually produce sound. The only functioning part of the hardware you see here is a USB cable that powers an LED lamp. But there are fascinating ideas here. And, actually, you could build this. We can often get stuck in our repetitive music world and forget what’s possible. So let’s watch the animators run wild with our sounds. Rubber ducks and toy nesting dolls and and jelly beans make up the controls. Buchla-styled colored patch cords are actually organized …

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pocketoperator

How TE’s $59 Drum Machine Sounds – And How The Pocket Operators Work

Teenage Engineering have also shared with us their video tutorials on the PO (Pocket Operator) line. The basic stuff to know (having been playing around with today rather than doing NAMM work): This being Nintendo-inspired, yes, there’s a metronome and alarm clock function. Select one of sixteen patterns, and one of sixteen sounds, with the respective buttons. Toggle between playing notes with the buttons, or inputing them with the step sequencer, using the “write” button. Hold “write,” and you can write parameters over top of playing sequences (effects work this way, too). That means you can automate patterns, etc. “bpm” …

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Lo-Fi SES Looks Like a Game Controller, Plays Like a Chip Instrument

What if there were a hacky, hackable handheld game platform – just for making noises? That’s what the Arduino-powered, Lo-Fi SES is all about. It’s basically a little 8-bit music toy, with a control layout borrowed from Nintendo of the past, but expandable, hackable, and open. The sound is very grungy and digital, but it all appears easy to play. The cutest touch: you expand the board with “cartridges,” add-ons that connect to the top to add functionality. “One”Final Sound Adventure” adds more sounds. “USB: A Link to the Hack” lets you program the board from your computer, using Arduino …

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Groovy, Moody Songs, Flea Market Sound Design Finds: Meet Sofia Kourtesis

Half Greek, half Peruvian, born in Lima but raised between Germany and New York, Sofia Kourtesis is a fresh, emerging voice. Her music interweaves shadows and introspection with smart grooves – seductive melancholy. Her mixes, too, cross similar territory, aided by her broad knowledge of music as a globe-trotting DJ and booker. So, it’s a perfect start to our week this week, with some listening and a peek inside a studio. This is what’s so exciting about being in music now: we get to hear those new artists find original paths. Apart from being a sci-fi movie addict and teenage …

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LegoTechno: Sliding Lego Blocks Make Music with littleBits, Maschine, Arduino

Keep watching: this LEGO sequencer, playing a littleBits synth kit, does something amazing. Sliding tiles around actually changes the sequence, all reading the blocks, in a terrific real-world, physical user interface. (Well, it certainly pleased the crowds at the Music Hack Day at SONAR in Barcelona.) And yes, this means the team we saw earlier keeps working on this. Intrepid hackers can use the just-barely-hidden Lua back-end of Maschine to do their own custom scripting. More on that soon. In the meantime, let’s check out the details:

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Serious play. Photo courtesy the artist.

Hypnotic LEGO Automata: Technic Machines Make Music

Play House from Alex Allmont on Vimeo. “Play House” — get it? Playing with LEGOs seems to have an ongoing intuitive connection to musicians, to composition and musical play. So, of course, after we commented on the LEGO Maschine controller hack at MIDI Hack at Stockholm last weekend, several of you reminded us of this recent piece by Alex Allmont. (Now, in fairness, the Maschine hack was put together in well under 24 hours – sometimes work takes time. But I find it nice to see them together.) What’s especially beautiful about Play House is that musical mechanisms and robotic …

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A Giant LEGO Construction Makes Music with Maschine, Made by NI’s Devs

LEGOs and rapid, hacked construction have led to the development of hardware sold to musicians; Push and Maschine each saw hacked-together versions as prototypes before the more-polished versions we see today. So, why not use some of those toys and hacks to make something you can actually use, right now? Apparently what happens when you let the Native Instruments development team free to play for a weekend, that’s exactly what happens. LEGO Techno uses computer vision to allow the musician to make sequences with LEGO blocks. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this very idea – seems musicians gazing …

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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 …

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