Here are two new ways of combining a synth with Arduino

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten not just one, but two new synthesizers that piggy-back on the Arduino electronics platform. The result, then, is instruments that you can modify via Arduino code. You’ll need an Arduino for each of these to work, so figure on adding some bucks to the purchase price. (I also recommend only using a real Arduino or Genuino; the clones I’ve found are often unreliable, and it’s better to support the developers of the platform.)


Dreamy music videos take you under the sea, light painting in air

Floating Points – Silhouettes (official video) from floating points on Vimeo. Two videos for us today transport us to other imagined worlds. ‘Silhouettes’ from Floating Points is already lush and fantastic, synths crooning atop buttery strings and vocals, cinematic extravagance for a new generation. It’s sexy stuff. And for the video, Barcelona-based experimental filmmakers Pablo Barquín, Junior Martínez, Nathan Grimes, and Anna Diaz Ortuño make some optical fireworks in the form of some seriously sophisticated light painting. At one point in the video the camera pulls back on the rig, and you see that, while the process goes digital, it …


Sync that 303: One little box does MIDI to DIN sync

Put some actual “computer-controlled” in the 303. The folks at British maker Kenton have a way of churning out little boxes that do things people need. MIDI Thru, check. Connecting those USB gizmos that lack MIDI, check. Plugging MIDI to your modular, roger. So, to that, add a single box that translates MIDI to DIN Sync (sync24) – and back again. DIN Sync, as developed by Roland, is suddenly news again because of a rekindled interest in vintage gear. If you want to synchronize a TR-808 or a TB-303, DIN Sync is what you need. The Kenton D-SYNC isn’t the …


Watch a 1986 TV story on house music, plus too many documentaries

In our last episode of “watching things on the Internet instead of doing real work,” we were enjoying a full-length 90s electronic music documentary and a bunch of music videos. Well, here we are at yet another weekend. And hopefully we can give you some video watching pleasure yet again, in those moments when you aren’t, well, hopefully, making music. Leading the pack is a 1986 story from Chicago TV news back when house music was in its early days, as spotted by Dancing Astronauts. And it’s an astounding document, featuring Danny “Sweet-D” Wilson, Farley “Jackmaster” Funk, Steve “Silk” Hurley, …


Novation’s LaunchControl XL now works standalone – hello, modulars, gear

Tired: controllers that need computers to operate. Wired (literally): controllers that work happily standalone. MIDI, CV – all good. I’m still bleary-eyed but happy after a day yesterday of overwhelmingly cool Novation Launchpad Pro hacks, most of them standalone. The idea: hack into the firmware, and make the Launchpad Pro do whatever you want in your rig. Now, today, Novation themselves are out with clever videos showing off the fact that a firmware update has made the Launch Control and Launch Control XL work on their own. (Note the the Launchpad Pro is preferable in that it has onboard MIDI. …

Ninja Jamm Android-07a-Play Matrix mixed clip and drill

Ninja Tune’s remix, creation app on Android after 300k iOS downloads

Before Ableton Live, before VJ apps, the AV act Coldcut were already making their own software for remixed audiovisual performance. Now, with the Ninja Tune label they founded, Matt Black is still championing the notion of performance that goes beyond pressing play. I’ve never seen anyone pick up Ninja Jamm and not immediately fall in love with it. It’s just a tremendous amount of fun working with the built-in effects and quick access to bits and pieces of music. The likes of Amon Tobin, Bonobo, and Roots Manuva are there, with a variety of genres. There’s also Loopmasters sound content, …


Pop, glam, death, and definitely not techno: Pop-Kultur Round-up

The problem with festivals isn’t that we’re lacking for choice. But in the fast food court of summer festivities, the offerings tend to be arrayed in hard-edged silos. Here’s the dance music one, and it’ll be a rave. Here’s the rock one, and it’s just going to be about guitars. Here’s the experimental one, and everything is likely to be a big long drone in some cavernous distorted reverb. This one is only for J.S. Bach. And so on… Pop-Kultur’s name alone implies a different frame around music. It’s experimental, but it’s also pop. It’s death metal, glam rock, pogo. …


Drum machines in your browser, and more places to find Web Audio and MIDI

Open a new tab, and suddenly you have a powerful, sequenced drum synth making grooves. Give it a shot: Or read more. (This latest creation came out in June.) This is either the future of collaborative music making or the Single Greatest Way To Make Music While Pretending To Do Other Work I’ve ever seen. But, as a new effort works on sharing music scores in the browser, it’s worth checking up on the Web Audio API – the stuff that makes interactive sound possible – and connections to hardware via MIDI. And there’s a lot going on, the …


When Milliner, Musician Collaborate, You Get This Crazy Music Hat

It looks like what you’d want to wear if you were invited to a dinner party … with Sun Ra and his Arkestra. It lights up and responds as though you’re about to guest star on a Japanese TV show about a trans-dimensional space princess. But then… it starts making music. And the wild whimsy of the Chromehatic turns into a sultry set piece for a pitch-perfect performance by vocalist FEMME, celebrated London-based performer/producer. As for the headpiece itself, it launches a line entitled SENSEries, pairing milliner/couture designer Jodie Cartman (whose work has shown up on the brow of Morcheeba …


Hack a Grid: Novation Makes Launchpad Pro Firmware Open Source

Novation’s Launchpad Pro has just begun shipping, and it’s lovely, very flexible hardware. You can use it with Ableton Live. You can use it with other software, as a standard MIDI controller. It’s USB class-compliant, so it works with other devices and operating systems, like the iPad and Raspberry Pi. You can change how it works with Max for Live, or any software that supports MIDI. And it works in a variety of standalone modes, so you can use it to play hardware without connecting to a computer. That’s a lot, already. But soon, the Launchpad Pro could do more. …