Peter Kirn talks to the people responsible for one of the most exciting things over at the Winter NAMM show, the Tempest drum machine – Roger Linn and Dave Smith.
In songwriting, there was Rodgers and Hart, Gilbert and Sullivan. In music gear design, it’s hard not to assign a similar degree of expectation to the pairing of Dave Smith and Roger Linn.
Between them, these two designers have been a major part of what music technology is today. Dave Smith pioneered MIDI (even giving it its acronym), the first microprocessor-based instrument (the Prophet-5), the first programmable polyphonic synth, and other innovations at Sequential Circuits. Add to that landmarks in physical modeling research (at Yamaha) and the first PC soft synth. Roger Linn built the first programmable sampled-sound drum machine and with the LM-1, LinnDrum, Linn 9000, and his work on the MPC60 and MPC3000, introduced workflows and ideas in drum machines we now take for granted. It’s not easy to overstate the contributions of either designer.
This is Compilation Video V2.2 (updated January 2011) of sound sculptures and installations by Swiss artist Zimoun. I can watch this for hours.
Zimoun's sound sculptures and installations are graceful, mechanized works of playful poetry, their structural simplicity opens like an industrial bloom to reveal a complex and intricate series of relationships, an ongoing interplay between the «artificial» and the «organic».
He is interested in the artistic research of simple and elegant systems to generate and study complex behaviours in sound and motion. He creates sound pieces from basic components, often using multiples of the same prepared mechanical elements to examine the creation and degeneration of patterns.
A closer look at the OP-1 portable synthesizer and controller (no release date yet though).
Last week, Ihavesynth.com got the chance to meet up with Teenage Engineering to get a closer look at the OP-1 synthesizer/sampler/controller/you-name-it. Teenage Engineering revealed their eye-catching OP-1 at Musikmesse in 2009 and the hype around the synthesizer has been massive, even though it is not yet released. We have posted about the OP-1 before and offcourse we are as curious about the OP-1 as the rest of the world seems to be.
Teenage Engineering is a great gang of 7 tech guys in a white painted garage filled with wonderful stuff like computers, synthesizers, all sorts of tech gear, an electronics shop, 3D printers, bikes, mopeds and a little dog which you can hear in the interview. The Teenage Engineering crew has experience from a lot of different areas, like the gaming industry, programming, electronic music – and it all comes together in their cozy garage.My mate Bjorn had a chat with David at Teenage Engineering, check it out in this clip.
One of my favorite hacks at last weekend’s Music Hack Day is Tristan’s Swinger. The Swinger is a bit of python code that takes any song and makes it swing. It does this be taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half. It has quite a magical effect.
This project demonstrates how to use the Xbox Rock Band Stage Kit with Micro framework using GHI's USB Host feature….no Xbox is necessary!
This kit uses USB and it has special requests to set the strobe speed, LEDs and fog. But no worries! This still works with GHI NETMF devices. We use USB host on a low level using USBH Raw Device. This allows us to control the Stage kit as we like! It is actually easy if you know how USB works.
Tom Shear is back with another pack of free samples:
Today's selection is what used to be one of my favorite bass sounds I'd programmed for my old SQ-80 back in the day. It's very digital sounding and can add a nice bite to other bass sounds when layered. (The name of the patch was inspired by the liner notes of a Shriekback album that listed not only the gear used, but the name of the synth patches they used which pleased the hell out of me for some reason…)
The download includes 8 mono 24-bit/44.1k WAV samples of the C and G keys for 4 octaves.
Diego Stocco @ Soundcloud: In the past months I've been working on some new tracks with my Experibass. Since I built it, I discovered many new ways of interacting with it Take a look at this gallery to know more about the Experibass: http://www.behance.net/Gallery/Experibass/312989
David M. just sent us useful information on how to add internal pitch controls for both Kaossilator and the Kaoss Pad, below are his words of wisdom…
After reading about the GetLoFi Tutorial for 1799 oscillator circuit mod on the KORG Mini KP/KO and with a few of the LTC Modules on hand I decided to give it a go on a brand new Kaossilator. The conversion took about 45 minutes to do, but the results just blew me away. A real transformer for this instrument.
The Creators Project event series—a roving global celebration—launches this summer on June 26, when The Creators rolls into 80,000-square-feet of display and performance space honeycombed throughout the legendary Milk Studios in New York’s Meatpacking District.
The event is going to be a groundbreaking combination of interactive art and installations, panels, workshops, screenings, and live performances. As much as The Creators Project is a digital archive of our digital world, it is also a testament to the enduring appeal of the Real. Many of the artists within the program explore the way that digitally manipulated images, sounds, and motions converge in real time, in real spaces.
Make’s definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009.
Welcome to definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009. First up – What is open source hardware? These are projects in which the creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and "board" files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric.
Each year we do a guide to all open source hardware and this year there are over 125 unique projects/kits in 19 categories, up from about 60 in 2008, more than doubling the projects out there! – it’s incredible! Many are familiar with Arduino (shipping over 100,000 units, estimated) but there are many other projects just as exciting and filled with amazing communities – we think we’ve captured nearly all of them in this list. Some of these projects and kits are available from MAKE others from the makers themselves or other hardware manufacturers – but since it’s open source hardware you can make any of these yourself, start a business, everything is available, that’s the point.
Flo Kaufmann shows his “satrap activ” portable analog synthesizer made out of a vacuum cleaner.
It contains 2 cmos based VCO’s , a Moog ladder filter, a 555 based ADSR, a cmos based 8 step sequencer, a PIC based vc to midi interface and a PIC based auto trigger unit. There are 4 tunable knobs on top, mostly to play base lines, and 2 conductable wires, which act as voltage dividers to generate variable tones. the wires do not vibrate. so it is not a cord instrument. satrap activ can also control other synthesizers either by midi or cv/gate interface.
For a generation of musicians of nearly every genre, the laptop has become an instrument. It’s easy to take for granted, but the rise of the computer for music has been remarkable. Less than twenty years ago, real-time digital synthesis and audio processing was the domain of expensive, specialized workstations. Now, $700 per seat can buy you a full-blown musical rig, with the computer hardware, gestural input courtesy the Nintendo Wii controller, and even a DIY speaker made from IKEA salad bowls. The next challenge is to make this setup as flexible and reliable as possible. Enter Linux.
Joe Glider of Home Studio Corner has a reivew of the Line 6 JM4 Looper pedal:
I’ve always been absolutely fascinated with looper pedals. Any time an artist uses one in a performance, I’m spellbound. As soon as you introduce a looper pedal into your setup, suddenly all the rules change. You’re no longer a solo performer, you’re an entire ensemble. It’s like you brought a recording studio right on stage with you, and now you’re doing an overdub session for all of us to see. Fascinating.
Needless to say, I’ve wanted a looper pedal for years. Thanks to the good folks at Line 6, now I have one!* What I love about the JM4 is that it’s not JUST a looper. It’s an entire guitar workstation. It has both amp modeling and three different selectable effects.
It has been a while since I made music on the MindStorms bricks. But now I present the longest and most complicated piece of MindStorms music I have ever made. The title of the melody is “the Future Child” and the idea is to make a cheerfull bleepy melody with the NXT’s tones and use the other sounds as effects while an organ and a synthesizer supplies the orchestra. Most of the pictures are robots made by myself. The rest is something I photographed at the First LEGO League competition in Herning back in 2007. The screenshots are from the NXT-G PC programming tools.
AndyGadget @ Instructables created a Micro-organ and drum-kit in a Tic Tac box
This tiny box will give you hours of fun composing your own tunes. You can vary the tune tempo and switch between a pentatonic and blues scale as well as producing a variety of percussion sounds. Load up a different program and it will compose its own percussion rhythms(Tic Tac Beat Box) or play with half a dozen different musical scales (Tic Tac Scales). Another cool feature is no power switch – It will hibernate when it's not being used.
There are great musicians around . . . and then there's me with no musical talent at all, but even I can get some great sounding tunes out of this. Watch the video and have a listen to the MP3 files to get an idea of what this little marvel can do.
The Water drop sequencer is an interactive sound installation. It creates sound by water drops falling on suspended iron bars with piezo elements attached. The viewer or performer can control which tones will be played by placing water bottles upside down in holes that are centred over the iron bars. It is also possible to control the speed of the dripping.
LiveStep is an extremely rich (as in “dessert”, not “money” – this download is free) step sequencer. With control of up to eight sequences, each sequence can be modified with a huge variety of hands-on control. You can even play synths and drum machines on top of the sequenced insanity, and record loops of improvised melodies to play back.
An interactive generative art visualizer from award winning computer animator and software designer Glenn Marshall.
Explore and interact with an endlessly generating world of organic visuals. - Use drag and pinch to pan, move and rotate through space. - Pause / play, save snaphots to your photo library. - Switch on audio reactive visuals (for devices with mic only). - Comes with 3 unique preset Zio worlds.- Shake to shuffle between presets.
Using the same Zio animation technology, Glenn collaborated with Peter Gabriel to create The Nest That Sailed The Sky music video which won at Prix Ars Electronica 2009, one of the biggest computer arts festivals in the world.
Hello everyone, a student posted in one of my classes asking about this cool warped ambient piano he heard on a recording. It seemed like a cool challenge so I tried to make an instrument that would give a wide variety of spooky warped piano sounds. I created a really cool patch and used some of the more advanced features in Sampler and Instrument racks, so here is the video explaining it all.
There are those who will throw away their old record covers but there are those that will use them to create some mind blowing artistic stuff.
One of them is definitely Christian Marclay, a New York visual artist, DJ and composer who used record covers of Michael Jackson , Doors, Donna Summer, David Bowie and many others for this piece of art. The relationship of sound, vision, music, art and performance is the focus of his work.
It's hard to believe another weekend is upon us, but it is, so here are some more free samples to get your weekend off to a good start. This time, it's a set of 21 24-bit synthetic percussion sounds I made on my Sequential Pro One
Say you’re an up-and-coming crew with a turntable and some mics. You’ve got a gig this Friday at the middle school gym (the janitor has been bribed appropriately) and the boys on the corner have been passing out your flyers to all the lovely ladies. Everything’s set, except you heard that Kool Herc is coming to battle. Herc and his mighty sound system schooled you last go-round, so you know you need something fresh to rock the bodies proper. Your DIY solution? The 55-gallon drum sound system.
The Control Centre has posted a sample pack features 38 piano samples in 44k 16 bit mono format.
This samplepack contains 3 pianos I recorded to tape in 1998. A Baby Grand, a Fender Rhodes and an old upright a friend of mine had in her back kitchen. I recorded the pianos using a Tascam 244 Cassette Portastudio and a Shure SM58 microphone. The Fender Rhodes was recorded to tape directly from it's line output. The recordings were then sampled using a Yamaha A3000 sampler.
I recently exported the samples from the A3000 sampler to my laptop computer via floppy disk, and then imported them into Ableton Live's Sampler. To save each piano into your Live Library, load the project, then save each sampler as a preset inside Sampler's preset browser. Live will copy the samples to your library automatically.
If you don't have Live 8 and Sampler, you can still use the samples to recreate these pianos in your choice of software.
The "Octapult" is a kinetic sculpture designed and built on commission by Bradley N. Litwin of Philadelphia, PA. With 8 synchronized catapults, 160 plastic balls per minute are launched, caught, and recirculated. Made mostly of wood, the work is ~36 inches in diameter. On permanent display in the lobby of Lower Merion Elementary School, Merion Station, PA. Also a performing jazz musician, more of Litwin's work may be seen and heard at www.bradlitwin.com.
XEROWorld is the next phase in the evolution of online arts & entertainment — a totally new and unique web destination that seamlessly integrates social networking, interactive events, magazine style-news, and online malls.
Kyle Evans modified a didgeridoo to experiment in the combination of the organic sound qualities of a didgeridoo with the advanced signal processing capabilities of modern computer programming and sound synthesis. He writes:
This custom built didgeridoo features externally mounted modules that allow the performer to process and manipulate the sound of the instrument in real time. All control data is transmitted wirelessly via blue tooth and is controlling several audio processes created in a custom-built software environment.
Synchronization is, by definition, a tough thing to do. But musical engineering is replete with challenges; it’s no longer acceptable to simply say “live with it” and walk away. It seems we need both better shared knowledge about what sync is how to make it work, and better engineering solutions on the software and protocols side to support the way users want to work. And yes, we need a new sync standard that goes beyond what’s presently available in MIDI alone
Tunited is a groundbreaking new independent music website which will assist new and independent artists and labels gain increased exposure, challenging the flagging music business’ growing reluctance to invest in this exciting area.
The top 100 artists will upload their music catalogue onto the website prior to launch; it will then be made available to the press and music industry for showcasing before the site goes live.
To become a profile artist, please click on the button below to enter your details and upload your track before midnight on 11.12.09. Your music will be judged by Tunited's panel of experts including Midge Ure OBE.
Josh made a LED sign which displays voicemails from his Google Voice account.
I made the LED sign following instructions from this tutorial on Nerdkits.com. The hardware is some LED’s, a nerdkit, a piece of cardboard and a bit of wire that I got from some Cat 5 cable laying around. I cut out the cardboard and printed a grid to help me lay out the LED’s. I think mine were 1 cm apart. The soldering took forever and it was the first real time I did any soldering so it looks kinda crappy. Oh well. It works. The sign itself is powered by a 9 volt battery and receives data from my laptop through the serial port via a USB adapter. All that stuff was included in the Nerdkit when I bought it. The microcontroller is running code from the tutorial I mentioned earlier. One of these days I’m going to make an enclosure for this thing.
Johan Larsby made himself a portable sound system so he can do shows wherever he goes.
It should be able to work without being connected to an outlet. It should have lights and it shouldn't be to heavy to move around. Ateast not by a small wagon. And it should be loud. Not Mötorhead loud but loud enough. It should also be cheap enough so that I would not cry if it got trashed or stolen after a few gigs/parties.
I'm one of the lucky few beta testers of the new TipTop Audio Z-DSP eurorack module, and boy is it a lot of fun. The Z-DSP is a lot like the TipTop Audio Z5000, except embiggened. A lot. There are three CV controlled parameters per program. There is a feedback loop that you can tap into on the front panel so you can insert a filter or whatever module you can think of inside a part of the DSP process that is usually closed to tinkering. You can change the personality of the DSP by inserting a different card on the front panel. You can even voltage control the clock. This is serious sound-mangling mayhem.
The short audio files I produced represent only one patch idea using one program on one card on this module. I could spend a great deal of time exploring various options without even changing the DSP program on the Z-DSP. The fact that I could load another program is another whole world of possibilities. If, somehow you got bored of that, you can load a card with a different batch of programs. Egads, this thing is endless.
Video showing how to emulate a scratch-like effect in Ableton Live 8 using the new delay Modes available in the Ping Pong Delay. This is not meant to replace vinyl, nor will it produce a totally authentic sounding scratch sound, but it is a Ableton Live only solution and is a nice add on to your effects arsenal.
Drum machines are cool. Toy drum machines are way cooler though. Is it the cheeziness of the samples or some strange drugs hidden under the pads, i’m not sure, but playing these old Yamaha drums has always been a great pleasure for me.
So in order to share some of the fun, here’s a free samplepack with all of the samples available in the machine, from kicks and snares to lions and scratches. Below is a quick and lame demo i made. Have fun!
the sonic fabric neckties are a limited-edition project made in collaboration with my designer friend julio cesar. sonic fabric is woven from 50% recorded audio cassette tape and 50% colored thread the fabric is actually audible if you run a tape head over it! (if you’d like a demo, please visit my youtube channel at alyceobvious.
the idea behind the tie is that the wearer becomes a beacon for other-dimensional, intangible, subtle forces of good…much in the manner of a superhero. only this part of the superhero garb can be worn on the outside in the most conservative environment without detection! looks equally great with dress shirt or t-shirt. this tie is the thinner version – 2" wide at the widest point. i also make a slightly wider version for more mature audiences.
the sound collages recorded onto the tape for this batch of ties comes from my cd between stations, and is based on looped and layered samples collected on and under the streets of nyc.