Mandala Multi-Zone Digital Drum

Hope you’ve been practicing your paradiddles. Synesthesia today unveiled a new digital drum pad called the Mandala. Compromising the drum trigger itself and a “brain” that handles MIDI configuration and produces sound, the Mandala lets you play either internal sound presets or external MIDI devices and soft synths on an 11″ circular playing area. Pick […]

Reason, ReWire are Mac Intel Native; Performance Boosts on Mac and Windows

Propellerhead has just unveiled three updates, Reason 3.05 for Mac, and ReWire 1.7 and an updated REX library for Mac and Windows. The big story is native compatibility of Intel-native Macs for Reason, but that’s not the only story. Just about everyone will benefit from the new versions, on PowerPC and Intel Macs, and Windows […]

Before the Wii: Max Mathews’ Original Wireless Electronic Baton, and More Electronic Baton History

Before Nintendo imagined mass-market gamers waving around a wireless remote to conduct music, digital music pioneer Max Mathews devised the Radio Baton: Radio Baton at the Electronic Music Foundation site Radio Baton image, in a rather cool presentation on alternative controller ideas Max Mathews page at, which contains extensive photos, documentation, and even software […]

Guitar Hero Creator on Gaming + Future of Music, @ Cybersonica

New games like Guitar Hero are bringing music making to the masses, and Josh Randall, Creative Director of Harmonix (and a CDM reader, to boot) thinks the trend is just getting started. Aside from Guitar Hero, Harmonix has given us Frequency, Amplitude, Karaoke Stage, and they’ve got more games in store, including a Guitar Hero […]

Mario and Zelda Composer in Chicago

We’ve sung his praises here before. Now the master of original, iconic 8-bit music (and the less bleepy kind, too) will be live in Chicago. Nintendo has announced that Koji Kondo, the composer of Super Mario Bros. and Zelda and arguably the originator of the Nintendo “sound” that endures today, will be live and in […]

Conducting a Nintendo Wii Orchestra, and Why Wii’s Remote Matters to Interactive Music

When it comes to new musical interfaces, everything has come full circle. Composers and interactive musicians have for years appropriated Nintendo hardware like the wireless PowerGlove. Forward-thinking music designers and music makers have imagined and prototyped hardware that would translate gestures and three-dimensional movement into sound. But there’s never been anything approaching a mass-market device, […]

Scratching Visuals: the VJ Arms Race

I’m currently testing out my new BCD2000 which I picked up as a visuals controller, mostly for the jog wheels. While better controllers such as this or MsPinky makes scratching pre-produced video more intuitive, using scratches to generate visuals makes me much more excited. Enter the hottest new implementation: V-Scratch. VScratch allows a visual transcription […]

13-inch Intel MacBooks Arrive, Starting at $1099; Pluses, Caveats

Apple has come through with Intel-based MacBook laptops (replacing the iBook), and the bottom line is, they’re a terrific bargain. As a portable music machine, unless you prefer bigger screens, it’s hard to go wrong with these computers. The only big downsides: black costs you extra, and like the mini before them, the integrated graphics […]

Cybersonica: Open Source Fijuu Makes Music in 3D, Navigating with a PS2 Controller

The 3D cards that power games are increasingly enabling new interfaces for music, merging the visual and aural realms. One of the most stunning experiments yet is the Fijuu, which just premiered in its second-generation form as a commission for Cybersonica sound art show in London. (Earlier versions have been seen around since 2004.) Fijuu […]

Cybersonica Video: Fabulous Sound Art Lets You “Play” with Music

Cybersonica turns a gallery space into an interactive playground, filled with sound art installations that mine the power of fun in art. Curator Chris O’Shea sends this professionally-produced documentation video from the hip Phonica record store in London: Cybersonica & Encompass Sonic Art Exhibition [YouTube] Among the delights inside: suspended disco satellites controlled by Korg […]