Ah, Mondays. If you’re looking for a way to brighten your work week and you’ve got an iPod touch or iPhone you can drop into your pocket, iOS music and audio developer Pulse Code tells us they’ve made four of its apps free for this week only, through August 8. That includes BtBx [iTunes], a simple and fun drum machine, DB-303, a simulation of the Roland TB-303 bass line synth and a particular favorite of pocket iPhone musicians, as well as a couple of fun toys – a robot tone synth and sound effects maker called Android FX and a text-to-speech “robot comedian.” These will all run on iPad, too, of course, though none has yet been adapted to iPad’s native resolution.
Another great summer weekend is upon us, and that means it's time for another Free Sample Friday. We have another guest entry today sent to us by reader Psychpoppet. (You can check out his stuff here and here…)
These samples are from an Arp Axxe he's restoring, which just so happens to be one of the black and gold models. 8 sounds in all, including raw waveforms as 24-bit/44.1k WAV files.
Enjoy, and if you dig them, be sure to give Psychepoppet a shout out in the comments!
Over the past few years, we have shown everyone a fair number of controllerism tricks and techniques on this site. Through that time, everyone has consistently expressed a desire to see them used in the context of a real dj set. While it’s not realistic to beat juggle for 30 minutes and keep a dance floor rocking it IS realistic to sprinkle the mix with some amazingly fun routines. In the video above I condense a 30 minute set into 10 minutes of quick mixes that use controllerism as a tool for creative transitions.
Read on for the full 20 minute mix, and a contest in which you can win the midi-fighter controllers.
Open hardware means the ability to create exactly what you want. But it doesn’t have to intimidate the newcomer – not so long as you’re up for a project and a little creativity. The monome grid controller, long a sensation with digital musicians, finally sees a major update in its kit version. The “kit” isn’t built from scratch; instead, it includes the major components largely pre-assembled. A US$60 logic board contains the brain and USB port, with all surface-mount soldering done for you. (You don’t even have to upload firmware to make it run). A $40 driver operates the grid. $120 buys you the main guts – just add LEDs yourself (allowing you to pick a color) – and put the grid and pads into a housing.
Pre-orders july 16. shipping late july. More info at monome.org
# Kaossonome, inspired by Korg’s Kaoss Pad and the Monome.
It features Kaoss Pad-like sampling programs and is fully Monome 256 compliant. Additional programs include an algorithmic step sequencer, a beat synced sample chopping performance controller, and many more.
Alexander Randon writes:
The Kaossonome is my first electronic music controller design. It interfaces the musician via a touchscreen, resting on top of a 256 LED matrix, and eight rotary encoders with push‐buttons. Enclosed within an aluminum front panel, a dark wooden frame, and a clear Plexiglas back panel, the controller is protected from external forces and is less than an inch thick. The touchscreen can be controlled with either a finger or a stylus and the knobs turn and toggle with ease. The Kaossonome powers and transmits serial data over USB. The serial data is then intercepted by a modified version of ArduinomeSerial, which transforms the data into MIDI and OSC. The software savvy electronic musician can design intermediate software devices to grab data from the device, route touch-screen presses and rotary encoder changes to musically defined parameters, and then send data back to the device to control the LEDs.
Calvin Cardioid posted some new loops from the Oberheim DX.
One year ago I posted some loops from the Oberheim DX drum machine. Now I present some more. Build something of your own on top or add them to an existing mix. Tempo is clearly labelled in each track name. I really like the 5th one here, I can imagine some happy Ska tune on top.
The Loop Loft is offering some free percussion samples.
We're currently putting the finishing touches on our next major release at The Loop Loft, "World Percussion Loops", and we wanted to give you a sneak peek (or listen) of what we think is one of our greatest packs to date. Loaded full of a wide mix of ethnic percussion, including cajons, udu drums, frame drums and a variety of shakers, this loop pack is a must-have for anyone looking to round out their percussion library with authentic sounds and grooves.
Download available in AIFF, REX2, and Wav formats.
Need 8bit sounds? Tom Shear at Waveformless has a good tip:
In need of some stylish 8-bit chip sounds, but don’t have any of the old classic machines on hand to sample? No problem! zxspectrum.net is an online emulation of the old Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer complete with a huge selection of games to choose from. Load up Audio Hijack or any other program that lets you record a computer’s audio, fire up your browser, and before you know it, you’ll have a whole ton of classic 8-bit sounds ready to be edited into your own custom sample kits.
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?
Faithful to my Eigenharp Pico unboxing video, I also recorded one right after I received my Eigenharp Alpha. I hope you like it!
Until now I haven’t been able to find an unboxing video that showed what I personally always wanted to see about the Alpha and its accessories. I hope this video satisfies the drool-lust of people like me now ;-)
What if you could have any musical technology you wanted – if you had only to imagine something, and it appeared? That was the somewhat insane notion behind the Dreams Competition CDM organized with Rui Penha of Casa Da Musica’s Digitópia research and education program in Porto, Portugal. Earlier this week, Rui and I sat down on the banks of Porto’s famed Douro River with Paulo Maria Rodrigues to pour through stacks of imaginary instruments. Some proposals read like wish lists composed to Santa Claus. Others included exquisite renderings, mock-ups, and even video that made them into serious, near-finished product designs. In the end, we attempted to choose the ideas that seemed the most surprising and original, including a winner that – with some limitation of its scope – would be feasible to actually build.
Far from just being idle fantasy, the winner will be realized by a team of developers as an open-source, free project. And I suspect some of the other entries may yield real tools, too. The line-up offers plenty of indications of what matters to people, and what’s possible. Here are some of our favorite entries out of an impressively high-quality bunch, plus, of course, our winners and the grand-prize selection that will inspire a real project.
As you can see, it's based on Boss's perennially popular DS-1 distortion pedal, with the 'Tone' and 'Dist' knobs operating as the left and right mouse buttons. There's also a scroll wheel on the side and the 'check' L.E.D. lights up when it's plugged in!
Unfortunately it doesn't work as an actual distortion pedal, but that's probably a good thing, because it's made out of plastic and it would be crumpled by our huge ROCK feet.
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.
Just uploaded a video preview of Discord3's highlights. I think I touched on all the major features; I'll do a full tutorial series once I have a 100% working OS X VST. The quality of Snaggit's video capture is fairly lacking; nothing to compare with Screenflow. But this should give you a good idea of what's going on with the three engines.
If you're interested in the early history of ROLAND, the Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments and the TB-303 Bassline, you'll enjoy this 20-minute video. The TB-303 and its design are described in depth, and many examples of popular music made with the machine are presented.
Tom Shear at Waveformless shares some tips on how to create the illusion of distance:
Even when one is talking about mixing to stereo (as opposed to 5.1), a song's mix can be very three dimensional. Perhaps not literally, but in the same sense that a painter can simulate the way an image diffuses the further it is away from the viewer, it is not terribly difficult to simulate the characteristics of a sound that is far from the listener. This can be brilliant at setting a mood and creating a real sense of depth. Here's two easy steps that when used together can really give them a sense of three dimensional space.
Every once in a while something quite special comes along in the crazy sonic world of the Dirty Electronics Ensemble.
In the past our leader John Richards has arranged for us to collaborate with some great names in the world of experimental music, including Pauline Oliveros, noise legend Merzbow and Nic Bullen amongst others. Our recent performance with Chris Carter (Throbbing Gristle, Carter Tutti) at Phoenix Square, Leicester was no exception.
The core of the performance revolved around the Dirty Carter E.S.G.I. a postcard sized instrument designed by John and Chris and built by the members of the ensemble in an earlier workshop. Six pieces we’re performed in total by various members of the ensemble.
The Musical Table is a toy table that allows kids to play musical phrases by moving toys around the surface.Each of seven switches can play different musical phrases in four bases, making 27 different musical phrases in total. Some of the phrases are musically related and some of them are not. This toy table can help kids to develop musicality by playing phrases in logical order. The table also allows you to play two phrases at the same time. Depending on which phrases are played together, the sounds can be melodic or chaotic.
I’ve been experimenting lately with programming Ableton Analog from “init”. I have a rich set of VSTs so I’ve not given Analog much attention but after spending some time with it recently, I’m finding when you rack it up and add some effects and assign params to Macros you can achieve some pretty interesting sounds.
These days, everyone loves hip-hop. But how much does the average fan really know about the building blocks that formed the foundation of the genre's entire sound? That's right, before it was all-808-everything, hip-hop used a secret (and sometimes not-so-secret) selection of classic soul, funk rock, and jazz records from the ’60s and ’70s to create their sound. From tiny, obscure snippets to instantly-recognizable loops, the sample-based producers of the late ’80s and early ’90s uncovered some truly classic musical gems that are still sought after and used today.
Thank god we’ve got folks like Kon + Amir to keep us digging deeper. The veteran record collectors, DJs, and producers (yeah, they basically they do it all) recently released their latest compilation of slept-on vinyl rarities called Off Track Vol. 3, so we decided to call them up and get them to select their all-time favorite samples. Check out their countdown, complete with audio examples and commentary from the guys themselves…