Monday, June 29, 2009

All Odosynths Now FREE!

Odo from Odosynths is well known on the DIY synth forums especially the SynthEdit forum. A heavy synthedit user he has just released all his softsynths for free. Odo was already very generous giving away a lot of synths, drum machines and processors but he has decided to release all his softsynths for free.

The one pictured above, the Double Six XXL, is an FM synth with 32 possible 6-op or DX7 style algorithms and 16 4-op algorithms. Even a cursory glance at the interface lets you know that this is a well functioned synth. 11 different waveforms for the operators, clipping/distortion/overdrive & and LoPassFilter on each operator, 19 LFO shapes, 8 and 14 stage envelopes, multimode filters, throw in a few sequencers and you get the gist.... FM on steroids.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Theremin controlled Mario

So Mr Greig Stewart has set up a site to cater to 'Theremin controlled gaming projects', yet another service I didn't know I needed, but now can't stay away from! Theremin controlled Mario is just the first in a series...including a neural interface to shoot fireballs (although maybe that's just wishing on my part)!

In his own words:
"The sound from the theremin is split into its frequency and amplitude components in real time, which are then mapped to values in a linear scale representing the X and Y axis. Pitch becomes horizontal control, and Volume becomes vertical control.
The X and Y scales are then cut up into different zones. In this case, Left; Right and dead zones for the horizontal, and a single trigger and dead zone for the vertical.

The trigger zones are then mapped onto a virtual joystick hooked into an emulator."

For more visit

Econo Monome - junkbox controller

Long time electronics tinkerer Mike Cook has built himself a Monome type grid based controller out of 'spare parts' he had lying around. All based on an Arduino and with complete DIY instructions (assuming your bits box is as big as Mikes!).

Via Make

Friday, June 19, 2009

3 Drum Machines, 2 Modulars, 1 Tu-Ki - LIVE.

So we had a sweet day down in Tu-Ki's studio. We brought the modulars down to see if they'd play nice with all other gear. An 808, a 909, an MPC 1000, 2 modulars and Tu-Ki being killer on the decks. We were just messing about really trying to see if we could get it all synced and working. The track above is a live jam... about 11 mins long... starts cooking a few mins in... no edits, no mastering, no mixing, just the machines sounding raw. The 808 is going through the Frostwave Resonator for a bit more bite. It really was a lovely way to spend my B'Day.

If you like it we are going to try and organise something for this year DEAF festival. PushMoveClick and Tu-Ki doing a live thing... hopefully projectors and cameras again. Anyways hope you like the track.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Richard Lainhart Performs Olivier Messiaen's Oraison

Richard Lainhart playing "Orasion" composed by Olivier Messian in 1937. Originally composed for 6 Ondes Martenots you can see it here being played on the Buchla 200e with a Haken Continuum Fingerboard. For me it's a very beautiful piece of music.

"From the time I first touched the Haken Continuum, I'd wanted to use it to play a composition by Olivier Messiaen called "Oraison". I first heard "Oraison" years ago as a student of electronic music, and had fallen in love with its simple, beautiful harmonies and profound sense of mystery.

"Oraison" is not only a lovely piece of music, but has historical interest too - it may be the first piece of purely electronic music written expressly for live performance. Also of note is that Messiaen re-arranged "Oraison" for cello and piano and used it for the fifth movement of "Quartet for the End of Time", which he composed in a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1941; the "Quartet" is one of the great classics of 20th-century music.

"Oraison" ("prayer") is from a suite of pieces for six Ondes Martenot called "Fete des Belles Eaux" ("Celebration of the Beautiful Waters"), composed for the Paris International Exposition in 1937. The Ondes Martenot was among the first electronic instruments, and is still among the most expressive. The Continuum's own expressive qualities seemed at least the equal of the Ondes Martenot's, while allowing for polyphony and the possibility of performance of the work by a single player. I transcribed "Oraison" for my Buchla 200e/Continuum system, programmed the modern system in homage to the sound of the Ondes Martenot, and now offer this performance to you.

Oraison, composed by Olivier Messiaen in 1937 for six Ondes Martenot, transcribed for Buchla 200e synthesizer and Haken Continuum Fingerboard controller and performed by Richard Lainhart in 2009."
- Richard Lainhart - via electro-music forum.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music Box: Mapping & Visualizing Music

Music Box was created by Anita Lillie as part of her Thesis for the MIT HyperInstruments group. Created in Java and Processing, Music Box is a software used to organize large databases into visually meaningful maps. It starts off reasonably and you think it is going to be just another app but it soon becomes clear that this is an extremely useful tool. It can be used with any database but Anita has tailored it to music. You can check out her blog on the MusicBox and download her thesis PDF.

I have been looking around lately for more information on the visual representations of sound. I am starting to play around with the Jitter part of Max. It's slow and tedious and for now I can just about make a crappy music visualizer... a far cry away from interactive projected objects that have their own gravity and physical properties... but a start.

HyperInstrument group that Anita is part of was also home to Tristan Jehan. Tristans thesis was based around teaching computers how to listen in order that they may firstly learn the structure of music and then improvise using that learned structure as a base. Music Box above uses similar tactics to analyse acoustic quality of music. Although the desired outcomes are different the methods used to achieve those outcomes are similar. If you have a little time it is well worth watching Tristan's MIT thesis defense where he describes his work with music analysis and computer created music.

About 30 mins in he starts showing all the ways he used to analyse music. Pitch, beat, chord structure, timbre and many more. Many of the methods he used can be achieved in Max using the Msp external objects he created. I can't seem to get access to his site at the minute but you can download the
external for PC from Paul Hills website. It is interesting in his talk to see the techniques he used to interpret and map the results of analysis. Also his models use musical and psychoacoustic principles to help generate even more meaningful results. For example by analyzing the chord structure and the overall beat he was also able to determine the downbeat as being the beat where a new chord was likely to hit everytime.

To find out where this kind of research is going have a
listen to a talk about Echo Nest a project with Tristan Jehan to create a music recommendation tool based on analysis rather than buyer habits or other forms of personal recommendations. It is an interesting talk and offers a possible solution for those talented musicians labouring away on myspace and soundclick who cannot get people to listen to their music because they just do not have access to the promotion machine. Maybe this will make for a fairer playing field.

ED: Anita responded to a question I asked on her blog."Yes, this is very closely tied to Tristan Jehan’s PhD work. Please see the link for more info on what is being visualized; the data come straight from the Echo Nest Analyze API."

Friday, June 12, 2009

xabec meets curetronic@OSTPOL

xabec meets curetronic@OSTPOL from Mike Erkau on Vimeo.

A rare enough treat to see the Curetronic modular in action. There are another 2 vids of the curetronic on Mike Erkau vimeo account.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ben Burtt Demonstrates how he made Wall-E

Part 1

"Ben Burtt demonstrates how he made Wall-E come to life and answers a ton of questions. This was a presentation I attended at Pixar and it’s seriously amazing to watch Ben as he demos how he made all the Wall-E sounds and what he bought on eBay to get new sounds. If you’re a fan of Wall-E and Star Wars, I really recommend watching some of this."
-Steve Weintraub"

For an interesting read on how Ben Burtt created the Wall-E's vocoded voice have a look at look at THIS article on MoviesOnline.

Part 2

Sunday, June 07, 2009

AudioLemon Doepfer A-149-1 Demo's (again)

This is kind of a test post. I am trying out new flash players for the blog. I used to use Imeem but it has gotten so bad that I have to use something else. Their player used to be simple small, simple and efficient but now it's big, covered with ads and only lets you listen to 30secs after which you have to go to Imeem to hear the rest. I posted these demo's before but the Imeem player cut them off and it was generally a waste of time. If you want a better description of the patches, go to the earlier post.

I tried to figure out XSPF flash player but no matter what way I tried it I could not get it to load my playlist when posted on Blogger. I am hosting my files on google sites so maybe that's the problem.

I am going to use this for a while.. it's crazy easy and seems to work. If anybody has any problems with hearing the audio I'd appreciate if you'd let me know in the comments.

EDIT: This is driving me crazy!!! This player only seems to work in Firefox. IE and Chrome don't seem to work. I've also tried SoundCloud but it only lets you upload 5 tracks per month and if your doing demo's that's not a lot.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Augmenting Sound

Augmenting sound. Space 1 Bath. Video 3 from berio on Vimeo.

"Augmented Sound is a project that expands sound objects. The basic idea is adding one more layer to the sound reality of an object.

Actually, this project is the result of my thesis for the Computer Graphic Design Master at RIT, which had the following definition: A portable computer vision system based on video projection, which allows interaction between the projection itself, the physical space where it is projected and the user.

The aplication was build using Openframeworks and Supercollider. It can be adapted to any space or object. " - thanks to berio

I love the way he can use physical space like that. It looks like a lot of fun. You can see a video of him setting up the area's HERE. I hadn't heard of Openframeworks before. It's a C++ library purposely designed for all kinds of creative coding. Here's a demo from their website. Looks great...

made with openFrameworks from openFrameworks on Vimeo.

Friday, June 05, 2009

AudioMulch 2.0 Released

AudioMulch 2.0 has been released today. Pretty good looking. For the price of a single analogue filter you get a whole lot of software. AudioMulch is, as you can see in the vid above, a graphic modular sound environment similar to Max/Msp or Synthedit or Synth Maker. There are two aspects of AudioMulch that set it apart from the rest. Firstly you can insert modules (contraptions) into a signal path without breaking the connection. This means no stops and starts as you're building your sound. Secondly it has a fairly decent timeline for automating module parameters something surely missing in Max/Msp. These two functions make it quite appealing in a live or studio set up.

You can download it and use it without restriction for 6 months and it is save disabled for a further 3 months but after that you have to pony up buy a license. The license is €189 which may seem a bit steep considering SynthEdit is free and MAX/MSP is only €250 for students. It does have a very easy workflow and is very straightforward and easy to use. Not as complex or detailed as Max/Msp or Synth Maker, it would have more in common with SynthEdit in that you are given fairly large (function rich) modules and you can connect them yourself in anyway you want.

For a list of the modules go to AudioMulch and while your there download it and see if it fits your needs.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Microsoft Unveils Motion Camera (Seriously Jaw Dropping)

Microsoft sure are trying to put a lot of tech underneath your TV. It is tentatively called Project Natal a controller free gamer environment. This thing is jaw droppingly impressive. Full body 3D motion recognition, facial recognition, voice recognition, the ability to scan in objects and all it's connected to the net. Wow!

Of interest to controller nerds like my good self is that Johhny Chung Lee of Wii Project fame has been working on the project. "The 3D sensor itself is a pretty incredible piece of equipment providing detailed 3D information about the environment similar to very expensive laser range finding systems but at a tiny fraction of the cost. Depth cameras provide you with a point cloud of the surface of objects that is fairly insensitive to various lighting conditions allowing you to do things that are simply impossible with a normal camera....The human tracking algorithms that the teams have developed are well ahead of the state of the art in computer vision in this domain. The sophistication and performance of the algorithms rival or exceed anything that I've seen in academic research, never mind a consumer product." - Johnny Chung Lee

Sony playstation recently put a patent on a video camera and ultrasonic ranging combination based controller for their PS3. In comparsion to the Project Natal controller it already seems outdated.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Digitize Me

Digitize Me from Tom D. on Vimeo

A short documentary on music production and vinyl records. In a world where everything is going digital, DJ's are keeping vinyl alive. Vinyl has outlasted CD's, the pressing plants are busy and nearly every CD released in Japan comes out on vinyl... (really??).

It's a nice edit having DJ Ali-G, a slammin' club DJ, who is ushering in the digital revolution with Pro-Tools and iTunes and laptop DJing and all that ill shit, saying that vinyl DJ's will always have the edge.