Barbie Video Cam Versus Canon 7D, Toys, and Relativity

Canon 7D vs. Barbie Video Girl from Brandon Bloch on Vimeo. Ah, the eternal debate over what constitutes a “toy.” We’re again seeing it as musicians snap up the cheap, smartly-designed keytar for Rock Band 3. (That should make a nice visual controller, too, though perhaps visuals are really the perfect application for the guitar.) Whether an iPhone is a toy camera could be in doubt, but Barbie leaves nothing to chance. The video above is nothing if not a brilliant parody of the massive relativism of today’s capture devices. It made the rounds when it came out a couple …

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Exclusive Details: How the Rock Band 3 Fender Mustang Works as a MIDI Guitar

A toy controller – in a good way. The Mustang Pro guitar controller for Rock Band 3 is equipped with a full MIDI implementation and standard 5-pin port to connect to synths and computers. Since the very first Guitar Hero game, musicians have found ways of converting game music controllers into genuine music controllers, through various hacks and tricks. But now, no hackery is needed: Rock Band 3’s new “Pro” controllers ship with actual MIDI DIN ports on the back. With the help of Harmonix, we get to look inside how that MIDI implementation works. The Rock Band 3 Fender …

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Free How-to on Circuit-Bending the Saw Vocal Recorder; Handmade Music Austin Sunday

“Your kids will love this Saw figure.” So, too, must have been the calculation of the person who decided to immortalize the film Saw with little toys and figures containing 30 seconds of voice recording, because this toy is now available in quantity for — wait for it — US$2. A $2, 30-second sampler? Now that’s a bend waiting to happen. Circuit bending blog GetLoFi in 2008 posted a detailed set of instructions for bending the SAW III sampler. Download the full PDF, and you can make one yourself, using the $2 part from All Electronics. In the spirit of …

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Wee See: Wonderful Animation from Simple Shapes

wee see – collection one from Rolyn Barthelman on Vimeo. When working with drawing code – or perhaps even computer media in general – starting out with simple shapes can feel oddly uncomfortable. Perhaps as adults, we’re accustomed to dressing up our work and our identities. Using something as basic as a regular triangle can feel naked and dry. As kids, we don’t think this way. We love bright colors and simple shapes, maybe because we’re seeing everything for the first time. And maybe it’s simply that we have more imagination. (How many young kids have you seen in utter …

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An Adorable Singing Note as Musical Instrument: Maywa Denki’s Otamatone

What’s the cutest conceivable musical instrument? It’d be tough to top an anthromorphic musical note, complete with eight-note flag, whose smiling face opens when it “sings.” Boing Boing Gadgets (by way of Tokyo Mango) gets the story on this latest creation of art group Maywa Denki and lead creative instigator Novmichi Tosa. The Otamatone is only barely practical as an instrument; it sports a nasal tone from its simple electronic oscillator and, at the end of the video, demonstrates an entirely new way to render the US National Anthem slightly out of tune. (Apologies to Jimi Hendrix.) But it also …

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Exclusive: Free (Cardstock) Minimoog Model Offer Extended

If you missed getting a free Minimoog model with the purchase of landmark ambient album Gas0095 from label Microscopics and still want it, we’ve got good news for you. Microscopics have extended the offer, exclusively for Create Digital Music readers. Paul writes: "If they enter the code CreateDigitalMusic.com in the ‘Add special instructions for the Merchant‘ field in PayPal, we’ll extend the offer until July 14th. Not getting any promotional fees for pitching this; I’m genuinely excited about my papercraft Moog and the album! (Though I think I may have Microscopics buy me a beer if I see them…) In …

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Microscopics Play with Scale on Gas0095, Give You Tiny Moog Model

Gas0095, the landmark 90s ambient release by Mat Jarvis (Gas / High Skies), is back in a remastered version. If you know the music, you’re probably already thrilled by the return of this epic sonic world; if not, even non-ambient fans are likely to get a kick out of the spacey, synthy goodness. (Best press quote: “the ideal soundtrack to an IMAX film on the history of space travel.” You had me at IMAX.) Paul from Microscopics (the label) writes to tell us they’re sweetening the pot with a 1/8 scale Minimoog freebie for all June preorders. (Nanomoog?) It’s brilliant …

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Circuit-Bent Cellular Automata Video Synth Toy with Patch Bay

You may have seen the Video Critter video synth hardware kit generating visuals using cellular automata algorithms. (Think cell-based models a la the Game of Life.) But you haven’t seen it quite like this. Univac has combined the Critter kit with a VTECH LessonOne educational toy (boring toy, beautiful case), quite a lot of circuit bending, light snakes with optical sensors, a bending patch bay, plus a 7″ LCD screen for viewing it all. Result: self-contained, patchable, performable cellular automata video synth! CellularRecombomat: patch-bay circuit bent cellular automata video synth [Techdweeb.com, Univac’s site] It’s really quite lovely — and another …

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Glam Machine, A Box That Makes Bent Retro Noises, and Other Nervous Squirrel Stuff

One box, many sounds, all toy-like and strange. Such is the vision of the Glam Machine. Norman Fairbanks, the man who brought us the all-Tenori-On album, has been teasing this creation, housed in a lovely wooden box with a giant VU meter on it, for a few days. Now we finally get to find out what it is — and apparently it was all inspired by Norman doing an interview here for CDM. Imagine a semi-modular box with glitchy sampler and the repurposed, Frankenbending sounds of electronic toy guts: The instrument will consists of three main sections: two modified toys …

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Sharper Image Selling Pre-Made Laser Harp, But Why Not Make Your Own?

The Sharper Image, a source of various amusing musical oddities over the years, now has a ready-to-use USB laser harp music controller for PC (Windows XP/Vista), at the price of — wha? US$599? Yes, this is obviously Sharper Image exercising the business and marketing acumen that allowed it to — erm — file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. And, in a move we haven’t seen in years, they spell the name with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s.’ Classy. And they’ve opted for a design that looks like the security fence in Jurassic Park. The beamz Music …

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