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Music for Our Future: Free 13-track compilation inspired by SyFy’s Caprica

Music for Our Future

Music for Our Future is a special compilation inspired by the SyFy original series, Caprica.

Peter Kirn writes:

Working with music production today is a bit like science fiction. It’s fitting that visions of technology’s promise, menace, and humanity would inspire electronic music.

Create Digital Music, XLR8R, and Pitchfork got to join together with TV network SyFy to curate a free, 13-track compilation of “Music for Our Future.” Inspired by the world of SyFy’s new TV series Caprica, which is set just before the recently-concluded Battlestar Galactica, this is science fiction as the familiar. It’s the near future, not simply fantasy.

The full compilation is available to download for free, exclusively at:

The compilation includes tracks by Lusine, Willits & Sakamoto, The Field, Richard Devine, and more. Also features some exclusive material by White Rainbows, Nice Nice, and CDM’s Peter Kirn, who also talks to some of the artists to find out what inspired them and which techniques were used for these tracks.

More information: Music for Our Future / Create Digital Music

Short links for December 22nd, 2009

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Make: Online : Open source hardware 2009

Make’s definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009.

Make:Online open source hardware 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.

# fridgebuzzz electronics MK1 MIDI controller

fridgebuzzz MK1

The MK1 prototype is a user programmable midi controller featuring 32 LED pushbutton switches and 6 touch sensitive copper plate switches.

# satrap activ portable analog synthesizer (YouTube)

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.

Mark Mosher's Audio Cubes

# Percussa Audio Cubes: Lights & Tangible Interface with Ableton Live and Alchemy

Mark Mosher writes about his Audio Cubes:

I recently added Percussa AudioCubes to my studio and performance rig.

While I’m planning a longer post offering an overview of how AudioCubes work, this is a quick post to mention two applications of AudioCube technology I’ve been experimenting with.

# Larry Cotton’s MIDI Marimba

Larry Cotton’s 3-octave “player marimba” was featured in MAKE, Volume 4. Larry added two MD24 MIDI Decoders and the marimba can now be controlled by any MIDI sequencer or keyboard.

L2Ork (image by CDM)

# An Orchestra of Linux Laptops, and How to Make Your Own Laptop Instrument

Peter Kirn @ Create Digital Music:

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.


# Marblephone

g000ze @ Let's Make Robots writes:

Inspired by Animusic's bodacious films, I was wondering whether a music robot in a much more simple way would be possible to make. Here is what my little boys and I created.

Still unfinished, but already working. Thank you Animusic for activating my imagination building the music machine that I am calling Marblephone.

# Line 6 JM4 Looper Review (with Video)

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.

PongThatBeat! (Vimeo)

PingPong sequencer made with max/msp and processing.

# Langjokull, Snaefellsjokull, Solheimajokull – Three glacier ice records, played until they melt.

Short links for December 1st, 2009

Lab3 Arduino Sine wave Generator

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Arduino Sine wave Generator using the DDS Method

From Lab3:

Here we describe how to generate sine waves with an Arduino board in a very accurate way . Almost no additional hardware is required. The frequency range reaches form zero to 16 KHz with a resolution of a millionth part of one Hertz ! Distortions can be kept less than one percent on frequencies up to 3 KHz. This technique is not only useful for music and sound generation another range of application is test equipment or measurement instrumentation. Also in telecommunication the DDS Method is useful for instance in frequency of phase modulation (FSK PSK).

# ningear – This eBay seller is listing lots of Nine Inch Nails gear from their last tour. Want a piece of NiN? Get it now on eBay!

# Schipmann Music out of business Via Matrixsynth

Dear customers!

We are finishing our business. These are the very last units of “ebbe und flut” ever!! We are thankful for all our satisfied customers. We will be there for you in support and service in that time after this sale.

Yours sincerely,
Carsten Schippmann (CEO)

Schipmann ebbe und flut MKII
Last ebbe und flut MKII units going for 999 EUR (normal price: 1498,21 EUR per unit) Tempting…

# Gruss Loops – Volume VII is here!

Ryan writes:

I’m happy to announce that the wait is finally over. Gruss Loops Volume VII is now available! With some major studio upgrades at Gruss Headquarters over the past month, I think you’ll be able to hear the enriched sonic textures that only a few thousand dollars made out to Steve Jobs can bring. If you put your mouth against the speakers, you might even be able to taste it.

# 5 Years of CDM NYC Party: Beats + Baile + Open Bar + Laptops + Twitter Twister

CDM love by onetonnemusic

Time flies when you’re having fun. Congratulations to Peter Kirn and CDM.

Pete writes:

Link love, chip love, software love, music love – Create Digital Music is celebrating five years, and it’s time to spread some of the love back to you here in New York City.

Wednesday night, we’ll be celebrating five years made possible by our incredible readers with a big party at Love Nightclub in Manhattan.

# Waveformless: Free Sample Friday: Vocoded Drums

Tom writes:

Most of my American readers probably have today off, but regardless, the weekend is almost here! So here's a small set of 16 drum sounds sent through a vocoder for your downloading enjoyment… All samples are 24-bit/44.1k.

little-scale Novation Laundpad

# little-scale Novation Launchpad – Sebastian uses Max/MSP to create a linear sequencer, ripple sequencer and waveform editor for the Novation Launchpad.

Today I made a simple ripple-based sequencer for the Novation Launchpad. The idea is simple. By pressing a grid button, a yellow, square ripple is created that emanates from the point that was touched. By holding down a modifier button and pressing a grid button, static, red points are created. Each red point represents a musical note. Whenever a given yellow ripple intersects (touches) a red point, the sequencer plays a note.

# Endless loop: A brief history of chiptunes

By Kevin Driscoll, Joshua Diaz. The abstract:

Chiptune refers to a collection of related music production and performance practices sharing a history with video game soundtracks. The evolution of early chiptune music tells an alternate narrative about the hardware, software, and social practices of personal computing in the 1980s and 1990s. By digging into the interviews, text files, and dispersed ephemera that have made their way to the Web, we identify some of the common folk-historical threads among the commercial, noncommercial, and ambiguously commercial producers of chiptunes with an eye toward the present-day confusion surrounding the term chiptune. Using the language of affordances and constraints, we hope to avoid a technocratic view of the inventive and creative but nevertheless highly technical process of creating music on computer game hardware.

Short links for October 23rd, 2009

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Awesome collection of DIY video-glitch hardware

From Make: Online:

The "tools" section of media artist Karl Klomp's website documents an impressive amount of bent, hacked and homebrew hardware for video manipulation. Devices such as the Failter (seen above) series go through a number of incarnations while Karl experiments with different hardware and uncovers its glitch-ability. The retro-simple feel of the enclosures give give it all a nicely 'scientific' almost medical feel.

# Waveformless: Free Sample Friday: SH-101 Percussion

Tom Shear shares another batch of lovely samples.

It's the weekend! Woohoo! Here to start your weekend off right are 20 synth percussion sounds from my Novamodded Roland SH-101 as 24-bit/44.1k WAV files. Enjoy!

# MPC2500 Gutted & Deconstructed (Vimeo) via Crate Kings

Hopefully most Akai owners will never have to witness their beloved music machine being gutted like this MPC2500 was. It’s not exactly pretty sight, but fascinating stuff for those that have been curious about the innards of a sampler/sequencer/drum machine.

# Avid Announces Third Quarter 2009 Results

Some interesting numbers from Avid’s financial department:

Avid® (NASDAQ: AVID) today reported revenues of $153.7 million for the three-month period ended September 30, 2009, compared to $217.1 million for the same period in 2008. The GAAP net loss for the quarter was $16.2 million, or $.43 per share, compared to a GAAP net loss of $66.4 million, or $1.80 per share, in the third quarter of 2008. The third quarter 2008 results included a non-cash impairment charge of $51.3 million or $1.39 per share.

The GAAP net loss for the third quarter of 2009 included amortization of intangibles, stock-based compensation, restructuring charges, loss on asset sales and related tax adjustments, collectively totaling $17.0 million. Excluding these items, the non-GAAP net income was $787 thousand for the third quarter, or $.02 per share.

# 279 / nanopedal via CDM

Marcus Fischer of dust breeding turned a Korg nanoKEY into a foot controller.

Marcus Fisher nanopedal

Marcus writes:

i’ve been wanting a compact usb midi foot pedal for a long time. i built one out of a usb number pad last year but it was less than ideal. tonight i popped all of the keys but five off of my korg nanokey in order to see how it would work as a pedal. it turned out that it worked really well. i cut some small pieces of plywood out to raise the key height and some scrap plexiglass to cover up the missing keys. a little spray paint and double stick tape and it was all finished.

i think it turned out pretty well. not bad for a cheap keyboard and scrap materials.

# The Stretta Procedure: Lego Foosball

Matthew Davidson made a Lego Fußball table for his son.

My son is really attracted to foosball tables, and, if I'm honest, I'd have to say I am too. I considered the idea of buying a small, tabletop unit, but I was unsure how much use it'd see. I was afraid it might become one of those things you play with for a bit, then collect dust. Once again, I see a solution in the form of Lego.

Korg DS-10 by sushipop @ Flickr

# Going Mobile: Nintendo DS-10 Comes to North America

Peter Kirn @ CDM writes:

Fans of the Nintendo DS in North America, the Korg DS-10 Plus synthesizer for Big N’s game system is now coming to your side of the Pacific Ocean. (That also bodes well, I think, for other parts of the world.) The DS-10 I think really deserves some credit for making a straight-up music title a hit on gaming platforms, and its success certainly surpassed my own expectations. It’s not a game, it’s not an interactive experience, it’s not a music game – it’s actually a synth and music workstation that happens to run on a game platform. The DS-10 Plus beefs up the original’s features, though it now has a commercially-available rival in the form of Rockstar’s Beaterator for PSP.

CDM Free Exclusive Ableton Operator Download: “Less Cowbell” 808 Sounds

Ableton Operator (Create Digital Music)

Create Digital Music has released Less Cowbell, a free patch for Ableton Operator by Francis Preve.

Peter Kirn writes:

The simple interface of Ableton’s Operator belies some truly lovely soundmaking capabilities. Our friend Francis Preve, a principle Ableton sound designer who has contributed hundreds of presets since 2004, has a new single out that makes use of some of those sonic possibilities, combining Operator with juicy spectral and granular effects in Live 7. As a gift to Ableton users on CDM, he’s giving us both the rack he used and some tips on squeezing noise out of the Ableton instrument.

You will need a copy of Operator (or demo version) to use this patch.

Visit Create Digital Music for more on Francis Preve and his Hasown / Less Cowbell EP.

Short links for January 7th, 2009

Some interesting things I found recently:

# Call for Works, Mark Your Calendar: Handmade Music, 1/15 in Brooklyn, Beyond – The regular series of DIY music tech parties continues in 2009.

Handmade Music 12/08

Peter Kirn writes:

Handmade Music is now a monthly affair at the wonderful 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, and increasingly, I want to work on adding an online, virtual component for the rest of the world to share. That means we’ll be looking for new works to share. The setup is this: for people in-person, we’re looking for installations, short performances, or projects you’d like to show off informally, science fair-style. Projects don’t have to be completed finished – in fact, this is a great way to get feedback on something you’re working on (and we certainly welcome repeat presentations as you make more progress, especially now that we’re monthly). We also welcome visual and audiovisual projects; we’ll have a projector onsite. (You’ll need to share if you can’t bring your own projector, but we can give you at least a few minutes of projection time.)

# DIYtar

Johan Larsby writes:

Which is the worlds sexiest and awesomest instrument? yes, the keytar. But what if you want special features on it and are to cheap to buy one of ebay?
That is what I am. Cheap and special, that is why I made my own.

# MIDImplant – MIDImplant is the smallest MIDI to Control Voltage (MIDI2CV) converter ever made, and it's dual channel…

# Making Simple PVC Flutes

PVC flutes by Jnkyrdguy

Instructables user Jnkyrdguy shows you how to make your own PCV flutes.

This flute design is a common one on the net, and for good reason. Not only is it simple to build, it's also relatively simple to learn and rewarding to play. It only took a month of on and of playing to be relatively proficient (meaning I could get a clean sound from the first two octaves without difficulty.) The flutes are keyed instruments and only play in one scale (without more complex fingerings) which is actually a plus when just noodling around since you can't easily hit a note outside of the major scale of that flutes key.

Create Digital Music Winter 2008 guide

CDM Winter 2008

Last month Create Digital Music asked its readers to share what they would want to receive, give to newcomers, and what they would want to read.

Yesterday CDM presented the Winter 2008 guide, a wonderful publication (print edition + pdf download) including a Holiday Guide, Circuit bending 101, Dan McPharlin’s cardboard miniature synths, Ableton Live slicing tutorial (including freebie) and much more.

For digital musicians and lovers of sound, Create Digital Music Winter 2008 extends the popular website with a handbook of the best in products, how-to’s, and features.

In this issue, we explore the best products and gifts for beginners and advanced users, from synths to strange music controllers to software to books and listening. We learn how to slice up audio into powerful software drum machines in Ableton Live, with a free companion download at Dan McPharlin shows us his intricate, imaginary synth designs, constructed by hand in cardboard. Sound artist Mike Una introduces circuit bending, which gives you the power to turn cheap toys into strange sonic wonders. Technologists reflect on the best in design, the potential of open source, and how to use music to survive Berlin’s drab, wet, and cold winters.

Unlike traditional editorial-only content, the CDM Winter guide is full of ideas and images from the createdigitalmusic community.

The CDM Winter 2008 guide is released under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. You can download the pdf version from, free of charge — this publication is a true gift in itself!

Short links for December 4th, 2008

Some interesting things I found recently:

Open Reel Ensemble

# Califaudio: Open Reel Ensemble – Califaudio posts about the Open Reel Ensemble: scratching 4 reel-to-reel analog tape recorders to make some really cool music.

They hook up a keyboard, microphones, computers loaded with Max/MSP, USB interfaces, lights and solenoids to old-school reel-to-reel decks and mic the strange sounds of their voices, singing bowls and tabla.

# NYC: Handmade Music Now Monthly – 12/11 Event, Call for Works, Beep-It Workshop – Peter @ CDM reports that Handmade Music, the regular series of DIY music tech parties CDM hosts with and Make Magazine in New York, is back.

# Partners In Rhyme – Free Drum Loops – A nice collection of free 16bit/44kHz .wav drum loops from Partners In Rhyme (hip hop, rock, techno, drum n bass and jungle drum loops)

Wii Drum High

# Wii Drum High

HE Zhao's open source Wii peripheral drum-kit project:

With Nintendo Wii remote, Nunchuk and Wii Balance Board, it is easy to produce drum kit sounds from programming of their acceleration, joystick and weight data. These data can be transmitted from Wii controllers via Bluetooth to PC or Mac without Wii consoles. Wii Drum High integrates all three kinds of Wii controllers to stimulate a complete drum set of Hi-hat, Snare, Base drum, Crash cymbal, Ride cymbal, Mid tom and Low tom. Up to 4 sets of Wii remote and nunchuk can be used at the same time. (one of my colleague succeeded in connecting 5 wiimotes to a PC, but I've never tried)

# SevenUpLive for the Monome 40h and 64 – a Java application that combines 8 different monome applications into one interface. With it, your monome communicates with Ableton Live 7 via MIDI and allows MLR-like functionality along with other goodies like sliders, sequencing melodies, creating patterns of beats, saving/loading/queueing your songs, and more.