Electronic music has always had a funny relationship with musicianship. It isn’t playing a traditional instrument; instead, it lies somewhere between instrumentalism and composition, between playing and conducting. Sometimes, that scale is tipped away from virtuosity of any kind.
But lately, I’ve had an increasing number of conversations with people who make the tools with which we make music about what this all means. I’ll be able to share one of those conversations in a bit, but I’m curious to hear what readers think.
Jeff Mills comes to mind. He doesn’t just DJ with three decks, he also uses a TR-909 in his live sets.
Radium Audio Labs is a blog with some interesting sound design articles on things like frozen contact mics, recording guns, coil pickup and printer recordings, and more.
Explorative adventures in sound – Part of Radium Audio, a leading music and sound design company based in London. We work with agencies, cg & animation houses, digital agencies, game developers, brands and manufacturers.
Beatfly is a small illuminating blimp for entertainment. Its light and movement can be controlled via various interfaces such as MIDI controller, iPhone multi-touch interface, Flash interface on a web site, computer keyboard, mobile phones and voice, and music. It flies, filling the space with colorful light, producing diverse styles of performance in the air.
A limited number of Beatfly DIY kits are available to purchase for $65 USD. The kit includes a soldered circuit board, motors, propellers, structures, screws, and balloon. Size of the inflated balloon is about 110cm * 40cm * 80cm. You need some additional electronic parts (Arduino, XBees, Battery, etc.) and helium gas.
Bedroom Producers lists a number of quality free acoustic drums:
When it comes to working with sampled acoustic drums, the advantages of using dedicated software like EZdrummer, Addictive Drums, or BFD2 are more than obvious. But not everyone can afford these, as they all come with quite a big price tag. Luckily though, there are many free alternatives available online. I selected only the best free sample packs for this list, and choosing only the ones that come with mappings in sfz format (among others, of course). If you don’t own a commercial sampler like Battery or Halion, I recommend using the free Shortcircuit sampler v1.1.2, as it supports the sfz format and also offers multiple outputs.
Excellent article by Peter Kirn of Create Digital Music:
The history of music and the history of music notation are closely intertwined. Now, digital languages for communicating musical ideas between devices, users, and software, and storing and reproducing those ideas, take on the role notation alone once did.
Notation has always been more than just a way of telling musicians what to do. (Any composer will quickly tell you as much.) Notation is a model by which we think about music, one so ingrained that even people who can’t read music are impacted by the way scores shape musical practice.
Tom Shear has some tips on how to create some cool vocal drum samples:
Before hip-hop hit the big time, it was a very underground phenomenon and as a result, most of the artists at the time had to make music as cheaply as possible. Indeed, some bands couldn't even afford a drum machine, so "beatboxing" was born where a performer would imitate the sounds of a drum kit with his mouth to create the beat for the rapper to do his thing over. While it seems kind of hokey now, your own voice is actually still quite a decent source for new drum and percussion sounds. Here are some tips on getting the best results from your vocal drum sample experiments.
Some audio samples from The European Organization for Nuclear Research’s (CERN) Large Hadron Collider and computer room. Here you can listen to the sounds and download mp3 files, numerical files and explanatory notes.
Tom Shear @ Waveformless checks out Ohmicide:Melohman, Ohm Force's distortion effect plug-in.
This is a product that has been out for a while, but when the Ohm Boyz themselves asked if I might like to take a look at it, how could I refuse? If you haven't heard of it by now, Ohmicide:Meloman (I'm going just called it Ohmicide from here on out) is a multi-band distortion effect on steroids. Multi-band distortion allows you to split a single signal into multiple frequency bands allowing you to process and tweak each band completely independently of the others. Let's see how it stacks up.
I don’t use distortion effects a lot myself but when I do it’s usually Ohmicide. Great stuff!
Takashi Kondo of Ogaki, Japan, created this amazing foldable paper piano printed with conductive ink and embedded with an ATmega328. I'd love to see a video of this creation in action, as well as some more details of its creation — like, where is it getting its power?
reactable final Prototype, used with ableton didnt need ir filter or any of that, light does not hinder the pick up of the fiducial by way of blocking out the light with frosted plexi. , made out of cardboard , plexi and christmas lights!
No more secrets: that could well sum up the zeitgeist of music making in 2010. So it is that Trifonic, aka virtuoso beatmeister brothers Brian and Laurence Trifon of San Francisco, share their technique for chopping up and glitching out audio. Their new blog, Next Step Audio, is entirely dedicated to sharing their production techniques: http://nextstepaudio.com/
# Stompolin – Mike Rotondo's Stompolin is a digital instrument created at a Physical Interaction Design workshop at CCRMA.
It is designed to allow the player to create music by involving their whole body, instead of focusing on the hands as many traditional instruments do. My goal was to accurately capture the emotional content of full-body movements, whether gentle or vigorous, and transmit it as music.
# A Visual History Of Loudness – Christopher Clark graphed the peak levels of and RMS levels of three hit songs a year over the past three decades in "A Visual History Of Loudness."
Stiff @ ProToolerBlog has listed a collection of free RTAS plug-ins:
I have compiled a list of all the free RTAS plug-ins I could think of. The list is nowhere near as long as a free VST list would be but nonetheless there are quite a few handy plug-ins here. Needless to say, while this is an RTAS plug-in list, most of them should be available in VST and AU as well.
Steinberg has announced the Steinberg Museum, a virtual museum featuring the history of Steinberg.
Tour the newly opened Steinberg Museum which allows you to gain a comprehensive insight into the history of Steinberg, with past and present products exhibited on an array of floors. Explore company highlights, then and now, and discover secrets that the museum holds.
In a nutshell, while visiting this virtual museum, you feel like you’ve witnessed first hand the development of technologies such as VST and ASIO and top products the likes of Cubase and Nuendo.
Steinberg also announced the HALion 4 Blog:
Steinberg is pleased to announce that it is working on the fourth incarnation of HALion, its widely acclaimed software sampler, and would like to keep dedicated HALion users posted on important news regarding the development of HALion 4.
For this purpose, Steinberg is adding to its social media tools with the launch of a HALion 4 development blog which will feature insights into the ongoing process, interviews and more.
Arduinos are awesome – with one simple controller, you can make almost anything! What new things can you make with Arduino? We've teamed up with the creative folks at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories and the Arduino Team on an Arduino contest to find out.
The rules are simple: to enter you must make a new Instructable that involves the Arduino IDE. You can use any hardware that you like, or none at all. Be sure to provide the code you used so that others can follow in your footsteps. Make something amazing and win a sweet Meggy Jr RGB from Evil Mad Science or an Arduino Mega from the Arduino Team to power your next project!
So what are you waiting for? Document a project you've been meaning to write up, or make something new! We can't wait to see what it is.
Rockstar Games has launched the Beaterator and MySpace Music Challenge, a contest for the recently released music application Beaterator for PSP system. The aim of the Challenge is to highlight emerging artists using the Beaterator platform as a tool for music production. The Challenge winner will receive a cash prize of $5,000!
Artists that are chosen as semi-finalists will have the opportunity to have two songs featured on the Challenge promotion page, where MySpace Music and Rockstar Games fans will be able to check out the competition and vote on their favorite songs. The first song will be your “featured song” — the one that you feel best represents your sound. The second song will be one that you create using Beaterator, which can be an original track, remix, or other song that showcases your use of the Beaterator software. The winning artist or band will receive $5,000, have their winning track featured on the PlayStation®Network – which is visited by millions of PlayStation owners every day, and they will also have the opportunity to be featured on the MySpace homepage.
Beaterator is a music-making application for PSP system that acts as a portable 8-track music studio. In addition to the 3,000 included loops, it features a drum machine, full keyboard, synthesizer and sequencer; as well as the ability to import any sound via either a Memory Stick Duo™ or the PSP system’s built-in microphone. This is a true portable music studio.
For our sixth instalment, our musical microscope has fallen on drum 'n' bass. This may be a genre that had its big moment in the mainstream more than a decade ago, but it continues to thrive and its influence is felt on the likes of grime, dubstep and ghettotech.
Gijs Gieskes uses the video ram of a Sega as an audio source.
The video ram of the sega gets slowed down by a binary counter, so it can be used as a audio source.
There are 3 oscillators that control a multiplexer, the multiplexer connects 1 out of 8 patch cables to the binary counters input, so there are some nice changing patterns in the sound. Another multiplexer is connected to the same oscillators and makes some extra connections to glitch some more video.
There is a magnetic patch bay for the video ram, and the sega controller on the front can also be connected with magnets or metal wands. The original idea was that the device can be used for drums, buts more a synth.. In another version i will probably build a small sequencer into it..
I will probably mainly use it for exhibitions, it is allot of fun to play with, because you control the sound and the video at the same time.
Orange Tree Samples' official blog will include articles, tutorials, videos, product demonstrations, artist interviews, and much more.
Subjects include everything from tips and tricks for using Orange Tree Samples libraries to instructions on how to create your own sample libraries! "Fresh Squeezed" will also discuss the sample library industry's latest technologies as well as explore sampling in pursuit of greater realism. Hopefully this will prove to be a useful resource for Orange Tree Samples customers as well as sample library users and computer musicians in general.