Thursday, May 31, 2007

Microsoft Surface: Hands-on First Look


Microsoft Surface Teaser

Surface, Microsoft's first surface computer, provides effortless interaction with digital content through natural hand gestures, touch and physical objects.

[video of Bill Gates showing off his expensive table - via]

Do we really need another big music table? U.S.O. Project gives prize to the more portable Jazz Mutant Lemur. Meanwhile, we dream about a brand new Apple MacBook with multi-touch screen built in: the greatly desired all-in-one musical device, from programming to performance.

[more-diy-music-tables-multitouch-console via CDM]
[Gallery of Gesture User Interface Patent]
[Multi-Touch Interaction Experiments]

Ten Most Powerful Movie Franchises in History

Q: How do you say what is the most powerful movie franchise in history? Is it the one that has grossed the most money at the box office? Is it the franchise with the most longevity? Is it the one with the most marketing prowess or the largest fanbase?


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Utopia: Opening

The pioneering spirit of Edgard Varèse, whose poème électronique will be presented with the film "Virtual Electronic Poem", a project coordinated by Professor Vincenzo Lombardo that reconstructs Poème électronique originally imagined by Le Corbusier inspires Agora and surrounds a young composer's musical creation.

8:30pm / Centre Pompidou (Grande salle) and IRCAM (Espace de projection) | Wednesday, June 6

Monday, May 28, 2007

Video: Xenakis - La legende d'Eer

[read more]
[from EpoLover]

Musical Robots

LEMUR: League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots is a Brooklyn-based group of artists and technologists who create robotic musical instruments. Founded in 2000 by musician and engineer Eric Singer, LEMUR creates exotic, sculptural musical instruments which integrate robotic technology. LEMUR's philosophy is to build robots that are new types of musical instruments, as opposed to animatronic robots that play existing instruments.

[LEMUR website]
[Arts Electric interviews Eric Singer]

U.S.O. @ Giardino Sonoro, Florence

...more photos coming soon...

The 10 Greatest Sounds from Star Wars

[via digitaldave1234]

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sound Modulated Light

A project designed by Edwin Van Der Heide (Netherlands)

Sound Modulated Light #1 is an environment of light and sound wherein sound is not present acoustically, but is radiated by light. Normal lamps connected to the electricity network flicker at an (almost) invisible frequency of 50 Hz. The latter can be seen as a carrier for a (rectified) 50 Hz sound. For the installation this signal is being replaced by different composed signals. Hence the lights function as sound carriers. The space consists of a multiple-light design where every light source has a double role: it is part of the light design and part of the sound design. The sound is modulated on top of the light by means of intensity modulation.

[

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Must See Surprise At

Make sure to check out on Sunday, May 27th at 11:30 am (Pacific) for a "MUST SEE SURPRISE".

[via TheForce.Net]

Ben Burtt on Lightsaber Sound Design

Ben Burtt talks about creating the original sound for the lightsabers in Star Wars.
This is the U.S.O. version for
the 30th anniversary of Star Wars!

About Ben:
[Layers of Sound]
[Skywalker Sound]
[The Wilhelm Scream]
[Star Wars and Sound Design]

U.S.O. Project supports MJFF

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkison's Research

People sometimes veer into their own legacy after being blindsided by fate. Michael J. Fox is one of those people. Diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991 at age 30, he spent the next seven years working as an actor and keeping his condition secret from everyone except those closest to him.
[more via Time 100]

[MJFF Home]
[read an excerpt from Michael J. Fox's memoir, Lucky Man]
[buy Lucky Man @ Amazon]

Monday, May 21, 2007

Theremin Fest

All theremin players and enthusiasts are invited to the Hands Off 2007 UK Theremin Symposium, running from 27th to 30th July 2007. The Purcell School of Music near Watford will be the venue for a series of workshops, demonstrations, masterclasses and concerts performed on this unique electronic instrument by some of the world's greatest thereminists.

[read more @ Sonic State]

Maker Faire 2007: On the Floor

OpenSoundControl wizard Adrian Freed had this roundup of fun interfaces for music and motion plugged into Max/MSP/Jitter. More coverage of alternative controllers for music from Make and elsewhere at Create Digital Music.

A History of Early Sounds in the Movies

In the 1920s, Hollywood studios were riding high. There was skepticism when a new technology came along that would let movie audiences hear actors talking. But Warner Brothers took a gamble and wired theaters for sound. Ben Shapiro has this story of the rise, and fall, of the Vitaphone short films.

[Listen via NPR]

Sunday, May 20, 2007

"The Sound of Miracle"


Rob Nokes - Supervising Sound Editor on the 2004 Disney hit "Miracle" explains how sound was recorded in this featurette.

[via sounddogs]

Friday, May 18, 2007

Chadabe Wins 2007 SEAMUS Award

Joel Chadabe was recently honored with the 2007 SEAMUS Award in recognition of his pioneering work in interactive composition and instrument design, his book Electric Sound, his advocacy for electronic music through the Electronic Music Foundation, and his work on raising awareness of environmental issues through sound art. Composer Kurt Stallmann interviewed Chadabe for the April issue of the SEAMUS newsletter where the two of them discuss models for new musical instruments, ranging from simple triggers to complex interactive systems.

[via Kyma 8th Nerve]

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sonic Garden Lab, 2007

Giardino Sonoro presents:
Giardino Sonoro La Limonaia dell'Imperialino, Sonic Garden Lab
set up '07
Opening 24/25/26 may 2007
h. 10:00-19:00

U.S.O. Project (Unidentified Sound Object)
Matteo Milani / Federico Placidi
Research at GSLI:
archetypical abstractions and noise transfiguration

The Giardino Sonoro is the name of the Team of Environmental Designers based in Florence (Tuscany, Italy). They conduct in-house ground tests on new installations and study and develop acoustic-luminous prototypes (EEM – Expressive and Environmental Modules).
Contextually composed and designed acoustic/musical, horticultural and luminous components are the primary instruments applied by the Giardino Sonoro in restructuring and transfiguring architectural and naturalistic spaces.
These elements induce an extension of the ambiance’s capacity to express dynamically both public and individual symbolic contents, thus imparting an altered cognitive perspective on the Habitat.
  • landscape design and horticultural site management by Stefano Passerotti
  • sound design and sound composition by Lorenzo Brusci
  • audio site management: Pietro Fantoni & Andrea Torra
  • sensoristic and interactive audio site management: Giovanni Conti
  • environmental sound modules (EEM) design by Giardino Sonoro, Lorenzo Brusci, Stefano Passerotti in collaboration with Pietro Fantoni & Andrea Torra
Giardino Sonoro La Limonaia dell'Imperialino - 23, viale del Poggio Imperiale 50125 – Firenze (I-EU)

[click here for full list of Giardino Sonoro's partners and collaborators]
[official website]

"Loudness War": Music Over-Compression

[read more on CDM]

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sonic Visualiser

Sonic Visualiser is an application for viewing and analysing the contents of music audio files.
The aim of Sonic Visualiser is to be the first program you reach for when want to study a musical recording rather than simply listen to it.
As well as a number of features designed to make exploring audio data as revealing and fun as possible, Sonic Visualiser also has powerful annotation capabilities to help you to describe what you find, and the ability to run automated annotation and analysis plugins in the Vamp analysis plugin format – as well as applying standard audio effects.

[Sonic Visualiser is free software available for Linux, OS/X, and Windows]
[Techniques for analysing recordings: an introduction]
[Reference manual]

Sunday, May 13, 2007

RAI Studio of Musical Phonology - Pt. 3

Original Luciano Berio's off-camera commentary:

"This is the RAI Studio of Fonologia in Milan, one of the first electronic music studio. There are sound generators, filters, tape recorders, modulators, mixers and also excellent technicians (Marino Zuccheri). Here you can find all you need to produce electronic music in a good mood. It's necessary when you have to go back and forth on the sound equipment, to do a hundred of manual hand-works and to patiently cut the magnetic tape with the scissors".

Festival ''SYNTHESE'' 2007

37th International Festival of Electroacoustic Music of Bourges.

Music by Ludger Brummer, Xiaofu Zhang, Trevor Wishart, Jon Christopher Nelson, Rodrigo Sigal, Manuel Rocha Oturbide, Francis Dhomont, Daniel Teruggi, Pierre Barbaud, Teresa Rampazzi, Gottfried Michael Koenig, Jean-Claude Risset, and many many others.

Friday, June 1 - Monday, June 10 - Bourges, France.

[official website]

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Star Trek Night

Music & Cinema
: the most famous soundtracks of the episodes of "Star Trek".

Place: Auditorium of Milan, Thursday - 07 June 2007, 9 p.m.


Alexandre Courage The Menagerie
Ron Jones The next generation Suite
Dennis McCarthy Deep Space Nine Suite (1993)
Jerry Goldsmith TV Theme (1995)
James Horner The Wrath of Kahn, Main Title
Cliff Eidelman VI. The Undiscovered Country Suite (1991)
Jerry Goldsmith The Motion Picture: End Cast (1979)
Jerry Goldsmith VIII: "First" Contact (1996)

[booking and purchase]

John Cage & 'Milano Musica' Festival, 16th Edition

John Cage will be remembered from 28th September 2007 in eleven concerts and four evenings collaterals, realized in collaboration with important organizations (the Teatro alla Scala emerges, that it will accommodate two evenings of the Festival).
All the concerts will be recorded and broadcasted from Radio 3 RAI.

[english-translated version of the original italian page]

Xenakis: Kraanerg

"...the reports of dozens of machine guns and the whistle of bullets add their punctuations to this total disorder. The crowd is then rapidly dispersed, and after sonic and visual hell follows a detonating calm, full of despair, dust, and death. The statistical laws of these events, separated from their political or moral context, are the same as those of the cicadas or the rain. They are the laws of the passage from complete order to total disorder in a continuous or explosive manner. They are stochastic laws."

[via stigmarestroom]

Multiphonies GRM 2007: Akousma

In 1958, Pierre Schaeffer, with Francois Bayle, Luc Ferrari, Iannis Xenakis, and others, organized the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM). In 1966, Bayle was appointed director. In 1974, he created the Acousmonium, a loudspeaker orchestra designed to project sound in space through multiple loudspeakers. It contained eighty speakers of different sizes placed across a stage at varying heights and distances. Their placement was based on their range, their power, their quality, and their directional characteristics. In his words, "It puts you inside the sound. It's like the interior of a sound universe."

During our stay @ CCMIX, thanks to his director
Gérard Pape, Sunday 6th May 2007 we went to Radio France (home of the GRM) for 'Akousma'. We listened to the following artists, where they performed live 'spatialisation' of their tapes:

Jean-Louis Dhermy, Affleurements,
Philippe Jubard, Ecouter, création,
Jacques Stibler, Champs d'ombre, création,
André Dion, Symphonie Indo-européenne : 3e mouvement Cuchulain, création,
Alexandre Yterce, Soleils d'abymes, création.

(These pieces will be available soon on GRM Webradio)

In the photo, François Bayle (seen from behind) seated at the Acousmonium control panel in the Salle Olivier Messiaen, Maison de Radio France, Paris, in 1980.

Maison de Radio France
116 Avenue du Président Kennedy
75220 Paris Cedex 16

[Listen to GRM Webradio]
[Ina-GRM on]
[Pictures of Acousmonium via flickr]

Friday, May 11, 2007

A short-course presented by Curtis Roads

Sorry to all the fellow readers for no-posting in the last seven days. We've been busy this week at CCMIX for a three-day workshop with Mr. Curtis Roads, presenting the techniques and aesthetics of composition with sound particles. Professor Roads wrote The Computer Music Tutorial, widely adopted as a standard classroom text and Microsound, which covers all aspects of composition with sound particles. Moreover, his collection of electronic music compositions 'Point Line Cloud' won the Award of Distinction at the 2002 Ars Electronica in Linz.
Here's the teaching schedule:

Monday 7 May 2007
  • The legend of electronic music
  • The nature of sound
  • Composition in the electronic medium

Tuesday 8 May 2007
  • Theory of granular synthesis
  • Theory of convolution
  • Theory of pulsar synthesis

Wednesday 9 May 2007
  • Theory of composition: multiscale organization

We would like to thank all our new friend composers actually at CCMIX for the Course in Electronic Music. It was amazing to share with you all such a nice experience!

In keeping with Xenakis' belief that interdisciplinary understanding can provide rich, new avenues for musical creativity, this course explores a compositional world where sound itself is the primary material. The nature of sound, how it is perceived, how it may be transformed, and what new forms result are key subjects.

The CCMIX, formerly called Les Ateliers UPIC, is a non-profit center for contemporary music founded in 1985 by composer Iannis Xenakis, with the support of the French Ministry of Culture. At first the studio was given the task of promoting the research of the CEMAMu (Centre des Etudes Mathematiques Automatiques Musicales), notably Xenakis's UPIC system. The center has since enlarged its field of activities to include pedagogy and musical composition, more generally.

CCMIX - Centre de Création Musicale Iannis Xenakis
41, rue des Noyers, 93230 Romainville FRANCE

Friday, May 04, 2007

Magnetic Fluid Art

The famous Protrude Flow, permanently exhibited at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, is one of the few spectacular electromagnet sculptures artworks. A black fluid reacts to sounds and voices, and assumes organic, three-dimensional shapes that grow counter to the force of gravity. An interactive installation in which fluid movements of physical materials evoke surreal impressions.

Morpho Towers, Two Standing Spirals is another work of this kind, built by Sachiko Kodama and Yasushi Miyajima, with music provided by Tetsuhide Hidaka. On the usual plate filled with the black fluid, two rotating helical spiral towers are able to spring up trembling magnetic fluid spikes, moving in synch with the music, thanks to finely tuned magnetic fields. The synch with music is accomplished through metadata, so the liquid somehow, embodies the music presence and movement. The same fluid is able to trick gravity, and it represent a liquid materiality triggered by magnetic invisible fields. So the immaterial (digital) communicates with the invisible (magnetic field) generating a temporary material embodiment (the magnetic fluid spikes).

Title link takes you to Wikipedia.

[more on YouTube]

The music of proteins

Scientists have turned proteins into music in a move they say will help vision-impaired researchers and put a bit of fun into genome biology. Title link takes you the article.

[via zdnet]

Miniature Microphones (Jul, 1933)


If you find this interesting, take a listen to Tim's recordings (via Substation).

Thursday, May 03, 2007

10 basic tips for getting live electronic music gigs

Taking steps from the studio to live performance can often be challenging, even for experienced musicians. Playing electronic and computer-based music often doesn’t make it any easier. It can be even harder to find the right venues, figure out how to present your performance persona, and keep the technology working, compared to someone grabbing an acoustic guitar and showing up at singer-songwriter night. But regardless of genre, the toughest part for musicians is often just getting started. With that in mind, CDM contributor Liz McLean Knight, has compiled some of what she’s learned both from booking acts and getting herself booked as a laptop-based musician, working the scene in Chicago, Illinois.

[Read more on CDM]

RAI Studio of Musical Phonology - Pt. 2

Marino Zuccheri was the recording technician at RAI Studio of Fonologia in Milan. Directed by Bruno Maderna and Luciano Berio, the RAI studio was a hugely important landmark in the evolution of electronic music.
[David Toop via]

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Music of "Memoirs of a Geisha"

[by John Williams - via farma2006]

An Interview with Bert Schiettecatte about AudioCubes

Bert Schiettecatte is the founder of Percussa, a music hardware and software company located in Belgium. The company's first product is Audio Cubes, a beautiful and unusual controller system that can be used in powerful ways in conjunction with Max/MSP and other software.

[by David Zicarelli]

Trevor Wishart - Red Bird

Trevor Wishart asked: "Why work with computers?" And answered: "Why, to make sounds that no one has heard before." 'Red Bird' (1980), Wishart's classic electronic work, is all about sound and transformations. Vocal sounds are changed into metallic hammers, a book slammed closed becomes a slammed door ... A vast array of recorded sounds shift and slowly morph into other sounds, and the effect is magical.

[play .ram file - 45 min.]

Interview with Alvin Curran

Alvin Curran's music-making embraces all the contradictions (composed/improvised, tonal/atonal, maximal/minimal...) in a serene dialectical encounter. His more than 150 works feature taped/sampled natural sounds, piano, synthesizers, computers, violin, percussion, shofar, ship horns, accordion and chorus. Whether in the intimate form of his well-known solo performances, or pure chamber music, experimental radio works or large-scale site-specific sound environments and installations, all forge a very personal language from all the languages through dedicated research and recombinant invention.

[download the interview as .m4a or listen to it via]
[another interesting interview with music excerpts via]