The Soul of Czech DIY, at Noise Kitchen Nerdfest and Party

From gear to music, welcome to the capital of DIY. Music technology makers and musicians from the experimental to the party end of the spectrum are gathering soon in central Europe, and they’re worth a listen and look wherever you may be. Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, was already home to some terrific musical experimentation and the mind-tickling inventions of Bastl Instruments. Now, it’s getting its own shop – NOISE.KITCHEN – and a festival to celebrate, called Synth Fest. This is about as unlikely a place as you’d expect to find such things, but the whole …


Teaser: The Joy of Music with Light, From Russia and Beyond

::vtol:: “luminescence” workshop from ::vtol:: on Vimeo. Artists are, in endless cycles, rediscovering techniques that might otherwise have been discarded. And that includes performance concepts in the audiovisual realm. I’m this week in Moscow as a guest of the Polytechnic Museum (specifically their Polytech.Science.Art program. There is, I think, no more historically apt place on Earth to explore the connection between sound and image than the land of Scriabin, Kandinsky, Ballets Russes, and constructivist art, this epicenter of the audiovisual revolution. What you probably don’t know so well is audiovisual experimentation from the later Soviet period, and that was partly …


A Week of Spatial Sound on 4DSOUND at Amsterdam Dance Event; Open Hack Lab Call

As if Amsterdam Dance Event, the electronic music mecca of Europe and the world’s largest festival of its kind, weren’t packed enough already – there’s more. Tucked inside the festival we’ve got five days of programming devoted to spatial audio, on the 4DSOUND system. As part of ADE Sound Academy, itself focusing on threads between technology, practice, and music, the event at Amsterdam’s Companietheater will explore the frontiers of new settings for music and sound. From plumbing the possibilities of the 4DSOUND’s forest of speakers to opening a discussion of immersive sound and music now and in the future, a …


The Bob Ross of the Music Easel: Watch Charles Cohen at the Buchla

Ctm Workshop: Charles Cohen @ Schneidersladen from Andreas Schneider on Vimeo. There’s an easel of sound, and American composer Charles Cohen is its gentle-voiced practitioner. What starts as primitive basic sounds magically becomes sophisticated, expressive, emotionally-charged musical painting. And Charles can show you how. He did just that earlier this year at CTM Festival, at a workshop hosted by Schneidersladen, the storied Berlin synth shop whose fearless captain, Andreas Schneider, was one of the early champions of today’s modular, analog, and boutique maker revivals. He walks through the process, with all the cool methodical pedagogy of Bob Ross himself. “You …


Watch BT Reveal Sound Design Tricks with Free, Geeky CDP – Then Learn it Yourself

From the mysterious underworld of 80s sound software, it’s a library of free sound transformation tools so cool you’ll happily head to the command line to run them – no real-time preview to be found. No, seriously. Even if the fanciest you get is changing a preset in Logic, you want to hear about this. Self-professed addict of sound geekery BT took to a packed room at New York’s Cielo to tell an assembled group of aspiring producers why they should embrace the Terminal. His video is a fantastic introduction to the tool. Dubbed Composers Desktop Project – after the …


Color and Light: Vezer Timeline Software Gets Savvy with Lighting

Who says a projector has to be the output? For decades now, average musicians have easily controlled instruments via MIDI, from drum machines to pianos. Now, software makes it easier than ever for users to do the same with color and lights. The latest entry is the excellent visual timeline app Vezér. As of 1.3, it adds some very powerful new tricks: Control lights over Ethernet. Via Art-Net, you can connect to DMX-compatible lights. What you need to know: that includes robot lamps, moving heads, and LED strips. See below. Light control. To make that support work, Vezér now includes …

Thumb piano + Pd.

Making Music Tools Free in Pd, from Hacking to Playing: Photos and Impressions, Amsterdam Thursday

There is something phenomenal happening in music technology right now. We usually write about the developments in the tools themselves. But if you want to see new things happening, it’s often more about the spread of knowledge around those tools. Watching it evolve is astounding. Focus only on the tools, and the landscape hasn’t changed much in recent years. But look at the people using them, and it’s a different story. More and more diverse audiences of artists are picking up the skills to use these inventions, and they bring a wider range of aesthetics and ideas to how they’re …


Laptop or iPad DJ? What If It Didn’t Matter? New NI Hardware, Mad Zach Demo

That’s one small step for DJ hardware, one giant leap into the post-PC era. Native Instruments today has updated their integrated hardware for Traktor DJs, the 4-channel Traktor Kontrol S4 and 2-channel Traktor Kontrol S2. But while the updates are nice, the biggest transformation is that you can watch a DJ working with these controllers alongside either an iPad or a Mac/PC laptop – and it really doesn’t matter which they’re using. Oh, sure, the laptop is more flexible when it comes to storage, and NI’s iOS software still lags on some of the nice features of the desktop version, …


In Berlin, Mixing Learning with Hacking and Jamming, All With Free DIY Tools

CDM and yours truly team up with Berlin arts collective Mindpirates next week for a learning event we hope will be a little different than most. The idea behind the gathering is to combine learning in some new ways. The evenings begin with more traditional instruction, as I cover, step-by-step, how you’d assemble beat machines, instruments, effects, and video mixers using free software (Pure Data and Processing). But, we’ll go a little further, opening up sessions to hacking and jamming, finally using the event space at Mindpirates to try out ideas on the PA and projectors. By the last night, …


Reflections on Projection Mapping, as Masters and Apprentices Meet

Projection Mapping thoughts. Telenoika Mapping Workshop from Telenoika on Vimeo. The development of perspective illusion in Europe didn’t come from an individual artist. There was no single breakthrough moment. The refinement of the technique was a collective, communal activity, forged in workshops and apprenticeships. So, it’s fitting that the development of projection media around the same notions of perspective would be communal in the same way. Now, we’re back in Europe, but as a single focal point for a movement that’s truly global, now no longer controlled by guilds or the like, but as flat and open as the Internet. …