Raymond Scott’s Electronium, 50s-vintage Automatic Composing-Performing Machine, Sits Silent

Raymond Scott’s Electronium is one of the great, odd sound inventions of all time. Scott developed the machine as an automatic performance and composing machine, a great, mechanical algorithmic music creation device. For an official source of information, be sure to read up at the Raymond Scott site, which has this fantastic music demo: Electronium Music Sample The idea of the machine, with no keyboard and the ability to “automatically” create music, is still a bit radical today. The sonic results are as whimsical and fresh now as then. But it’s the underlying technology that’s impressive: the device “suggests” musical …

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DIY Commodore 64 Bassline Video Action; C64 Orchestra and Composer Interviews

It’s one thing to talk about the MIDIbox SID, a DIY project that turns the fat warmth of the Commodore 64’s synth chip into a powerful beatbox/bass synth. It’s another thing entirely to see it in action — Roland ain’t got nothin’ on this. Also airing on YouTube: the C64 Orchestra renders classic music from the 1980s in full orchestral form. To be honest, I was hoping “C64 Orchestra” meant a room full of SID synth players, but perhaps that’ll come next. It’s especially worth watching to hear 80s C64 composers Rob Hubbard (Commando, Master of Magic, etc.) and Jereon …

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Beatboxing Parrot on YouTube, Beatboxing Human in Austin

Ah, musical parrots. While I continue to obsess over Hatebeak, the heavy metal parrot, here’s a video that claims to show a beatboxing parrot: At first, I thought this might be faked, but it does appear to be the real thing, and having known a few parrots, these birds will do far stranger things vocally. Via Signal to Noise, via GoogTube. If human beatboxers are more your speed, the supremely talented Kid Beyond will be in Austin, Texas, this time doing a full-on gig rather than the shorter tech demo for Ableton he did at NAMM in January. Beatboxing parrots …

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YMCK: Japanese 8-bit Virtuosos, Music Videos

It would be unfair to mention the free Magical 8-bit Plug-in without acknowledging who created it: the insanely talented Japanese chiptune band, YMCK: YMCK Official Site [English] YMCK Events [Japanese] YMCK @ Myspace And, most importantly: YMCK Music Videos @ YouTube Their style is a unique mash-up of the tightly-quantized, hyperactively cheery iconic Nintendo music with even more densely-packed jazzy harmonies than Mario could muster. It isn’t about gimmick: this sounds like someone who was practicing 8-bit at age four the way some people practice violin. Or, as they put it: While the sound is cheap, the song compositions are …

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YouTube/Gvideo Fun: Learn to Rap, Breakdance, Pick Up Women, with Mr. T, David Hasselhoff

To get your weekend started off right, our friend Chris O’Shea of Pixelsumo fame has been rounding up the best YouTube and Google Video gems from his mates. (Chris isn’t a curator for nothing.) Best of all, Mr. T teaches us how to rap: After the jump, breakdancing with Mr. T, and, believe it or not, a new music video starring David Hasselhoff and Knight Rider.

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Improved Audio Features in Windows Vista, and MS Developer Makes Music on Mac

Curious about what will change for music and audio in Windows Vista? Microsoft’s Channel9 site got up close and personal with Vista’s audio developers in an extensive video, featuring Steve Ball and Larry Osterman: Steve Ball – Learning about Audio in Windows Vista [Channel9] (thanks to our resident Windows watcher, Adrian Anders!) Vista will have a completely rewritten audio stack with lower latency and per-app mixing — so you can mute annoying Flash music in your browser, finally, among other things. That much we knew, but here you get to see the guys who worked on it and watch it …

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Watch Poeme Electronique, Landmark 1958 Animation and Electronic Score

Architecture mixed with electronics mixed with animation — we think nothing of mixing these elements now. In 1958, as Poème Electronique was unleashed on the Brussels World’s Fair, it was still experimental. The animation/installation/composition was the collaborative creation of legendary modernist architect Le Corbusier, his assistant Iannis Xenakis, who would later come to be known as a ground-breaking experimental composer, and composer Edgard Varèse. Varèse is certainly one of us: part of the reason he went into a compositional drought for many years was he was frustrated by the limitations of acoustic sound, and longed for the electronic labs we …

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New Videos, Blog for Toshio Iwai’s Imaginative Musical Creations

Media artist Toshio Iwai continues to develop stunning, fanciful ways of making music. From SONAR, here is Toshio Iwai working live with his Tenori-On music controller, in case you haven’t seen this already: More YouTube goodness after the jump, but let’s skip ahead to the even better news: Toshio Iwai has started a development blog for the Tenori-On. Nat, the graphics designer behind Create Digital Music, has all the details on his blog onetonnemusic. Tenori-On Report by Toshio Iwai and Tenori-On Development Team Aside from keeping tabs on the Tenori-On, you can watch other ideas develop, like a blue-lit sound …

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