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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » 2018 » May » 29

AudioKit Synth One is coming, the largest open source music project in iOS history

Delivered... Ashley Elsdon | Scene | Tue 29 May 2018 7:49 pm

This is going to be a really big deal. AudioKit Synth One is coming soon from the people who brought you FM Player: Classic DX Synths. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, AudioKit Pro, is an open source framework for building iOS synth and audio applications. It’s actually pretty amazing and totally powered by passionate and talented individuals who want to make incredible apps. AudioKit doesn’t just power iOS apps though, it can be used for macOS and watchOS apps too, so it’s a pretty versatile framework.

It’s worth taking a look at the many apps that are powered by AudioKit. You’ll be surprised by the number and range of apps that make use of the framework, and of course they’ve made their own creations too.

Their latest app has been some two years in the making and is the first free and completely open source synth on iOS. That in itself is a very impressive statement. However, when you look at the app and the functionality that’s packed into it, you’re going to be even more impressed.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Hybrid Analog/FM Poly Synthesizer
  • Over 200+ Presets crafted by famous sound designers
  • Audiobus 3 & Inter-app Audio (IAA)
  • Five Oscillators (2 DCO, FM, Sub, Noise)
  • 2 Assignable LFOs with dozens of routing possibilities
  • 100+ Alternative Scales & Tunings
  • Vintage-Style 16-Step Sequencer
  • Classic poly arpeggiator
  • MIDI in (Control with a MIDI Keyboard or DAW)
  • Touchable ADSR Envelopes for Amp & Filter
  • FM Oscillator w/ Mod
  • Dedicated Sine/Square -12/24 Sub Osc
  • 4-Pole Vintage Low-Pass Filter
  • High-Pass/Band Pass Filters
  • Mono portamento & legato
  • Beautiful Sean Costello Reverb
  • Multi-tap (ping-pong) delay
  • TouchPads
  • Preset Import/Export & More…
  • MIDI Learn on all knobs, MIDI Bank/Patch & Sustain Pedal support
  • Full Source code included

It’s an impressive list, and it’s going to be an impressive synth. What’s more even after they’ve delivered version 1 they’ve got a bunch of updates already in the pipeline to make it better still.

Today you can read about AudioKit Synth One here, and sign up at AudioKit. Tomorrow there’ll be more news, and you can expect the app to land at an app store new you in around 2-3 weeks. Personally, I can’t wait. It’s a big step forward for mobile music, for the community, and for AudioKit Pro.

If you really can’t wait that long, you can always grab their current app FM Player to give you a feel for what’s coming, and of course, you can sign up to get email news about the app when it lands. Expect to find it here too when it arrives.

For now, check the video, and enjoy.

The post AudioKit Synth One is coming, the largest open source music project in iOS history appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

FCC Extends Dates by Which TV Broadcasters Must Convert Non-Textual Emergency Information to Audio on SAP Channel

Delivered... David Oxenford | Scene | Tue 29 May 2018 5:09 pm

In an Order released Friday, The FCC gave TV broadcasters five more years to convert non-textual emergency information delivered to audiences outside of news programs into speech that is broadcast on station’s Secondary Audio Programming (“SAP”) channels, usually used for Spanish and other non-English translations of television programs. Broadcasters, as we have written before (see our articles here, here and here) are already required to take textual information (like textual crawls) containing emergency information that is broadcast outside of news programming and to provide those messages in audio on SAP channels so that visually impaired viewers can get the emergency information. The blind and others with visual impairments are notified of the emergency information that is contained in a crawl by the audible tones that stations air when they are providing such information.

While the textual information can be converted to speech to be broadcast on the SAP channels though automated means, the NAB, the American Council of the Blind, and the American Foundation for the Blind submitted a request for a further waiver of the rules that would otherwise require that non-textual information like weather maps be converted into speech, noting that none of these organizations could find any source for an accurate means to make that conversion automatically. See our article here on the waiver request. The costs and potential inaccuracies of station employees trying to provide such descriptions live at a station precluded live description from being a viable solution. Thus, the FCC gave the parties five years to develop an automated system to provide such descriptions.

The NAB will need to report to the FCC on its progress at the midway point of this 5 year waiver period. The FCC also urged stations to do their best to insure that the information shown on maps and other non-textual emergency information be conveyed in textual alerts, so that the public can receive information about emergency situations. In the same order, the FCC granted a permanent waiver of this requirement to analog-only cable systems that lack the equipment to pass through the audio from such alerts.

Inside the livecoding algorave movement, and what it says about music

Delivered... Peter Kirn | Scene | Tue 29 May 2018 2:30 pm

Using code for live music has gone from geeky fringe to underground revolution, offering a fresh approach to music and pattern, even for first-time coders. Alex McLean is one of the people at the center of this medium’s growth.

“Code” in this environment isn’t just about software language. The free, open source tool Alex McLean created, TidalCycles, found its original inspiration in research into analyzing Indian tabla rhythms. These environments are very much about getting closer to the essence of what makes music tick – the underlying technology of musical culture.

https://tidalcycles.org/ (powered by SuperCollider)

With Alex set to play and teach this weekend in Berlin, it seemed the perfect time to get his personal and musical story, and to have him take us on a tour of live coding’s latest frontiers. Alex is a laptop musician and developer, as well as a social organizer for a movement that’s spreading these tools worldwide. Johnny Appleseed style, Alex and others are planting seeds and building up a network of people who share knowledge and support one another. From my vantage point, the live coding scene represents a kind of free, open, collective model for supporting musical practice and culture, in contrast to the generally competitive dominant paradigm.

And oh yeah – that does include the “algorave,” a format Alex has promoted. Step into these marathon live code jams, and you may be surprised – this is danceable stuff, often with shoe-smoldering high tempos.

But if you only saw the novelty of people typing code on laptops to produce sound, you might miss the musical explorations it’s enabling. Perhaps because TidalCycles’ syntax lets you directly express loops and rhythmic ideas from a blank slate, without wrestling with all the chrome and complexity of typical musical software, it’s empowering some very creative work. For instance, I’ve had the fortune to get to know Miri Kat, a London-based artist using TidalCycles in her music (as well as making live algorave visuals). Late last year, through the CDM music label side project Establishment Records, we released her first EP (with generative visuals provided by Max/MSP/Jitter). I’m biased, of course, but to me, Miri’s work has sophistication in texture and pattern. So you don’t really need to know that live coding was used in its production – but then once you do know, it’s worth finding out how the tool represents musical ideas, and how the person who designed the tool thinks about those topics.

If you’re in Berlin, Alex joins a diverse live lineup Saturday at an event we’re organizing with Modular+ Space:

Encoded LIVE

And Alex will offer a workshop in TidalCycles and musical pattern Saturday afternoon. There are still some (limited) spots available if you act quickly.

Learn music patterning in TidalCycles, a free livecoding tool

Register for the workshop [30EUR incl. VAT]

We’re walking here at the edge between music theory and interface design, code and musical material, artist and organizer, musician and developer. So I was eager to ask Alex about how those pieces interlock – and how he manages his various roles and time.

Live coding really does involve dark rooms and screens full of code, like hacker representations in scifi and TV. Alex McLean, live; photo: Vitalija Glovackyte.

First, before we get into algorithmic music or livecoding, what was your entry into music, as far as training? What was your earliest musical experience?

I don’t have any formal musical training. I tried to play the guitar when I was young, but got nowhere. I just got ‘stuck’ playing the same things over and over (mainly “Wild Thing” by the Troggs). I’m a 70s child, so grew up during the home computer revolution in the 80s, but couldn’t buy a decent [computer] myself. But for some unknown reason, one day, our provincial state school received some great synths, including a Yamaha DX7, drum machine, and four-track recorder. Our music teacher let us play on them during lunchtimes, and so instead of going outside, we more or less recreated “Blue Monday” ever day.

You’ve done just a massive amount of event organization – that 100+ event count in your bio is real, yes? How do you keep all of that together in your head, in terms of organizing and logistics? How do you have any time for music making on top of everything else you do?

Yep – it’s an addiction, really. As well as dozens of algoraves, I’ve organized around 100 Dorkbot electronic art events, loads of ‘placard’ headphone parties, started two international conferences (ICLC on live coding and ICLI on live interfaces) and am now planning the third edition of the Festival of Algorithmic and Mechanical Movement in Sheffield. I do it mainly by collaborating with great people, and also by sending and receiving a lot of emails. It’s a great thing, imagining a weird event, talking to some people, and then a few months down the line, it’s happening. Usually, at that point, I’ve decided never to do another event ever again — but a few weeks later, a new idea pops up.

Really, though, it’s out of necessity. Interesting things happen in the gaps between communities, and the best way of making that happen is by making an event and forming a new community around it. It’s also really part of my music-making. You can’t really separate music from community.

On that note, actually, do you find you have to set aside some time that’s just for being a musician again?

Not generally, because I rarely record anything or make ‘tracks’ — just mainly play improvised, broken techno, live. So I just wait until someone invites me to play somewhere and I go and do it. That said, I do have a crowdfunded album project that is now about two years overdue. I keep setting time aside for that, but then find a new idea to explore for it. I’ve also formed a new duo (Class Compliant Audio Interfaces) with my friend Damu, and we are practicing regularly; that’s going well.

Tell us a little bit about TidalCycles. There was a connection to Indian classical rhythm in the way you conceived this software, right? How did you get from there to building a live coding environment?

Yes, that’s right. My first live coding environment was written in Perl, but it was frustratingly slow to work with. Then I came across BP2 – the second version of Bernard Bel’s “Bol Processor”, originally made for transcribing Indian tabla rhythms. I transferred the syntax into Haskell for a project I was doing for my Masters degree at Goldsmiths, around generating rhythmic continuations. A lot of Bernard’s ideas, and the reading I did around musical time in Indian classical music, still form the basis of the mini-language inside Tidal for describing polyrhythmic sequences, as well as Tidal’s conception of cyclic time.

Bol Processor 2 (BP2) at SourceForge

It strikes me that the essence of this is about pattern and rhythm. Did you try to think consciously in those musical terms when designing the tool?

Yes that was my motivation – to make a language for musical pattern. A lot already existed that I learned from, e.g. in SuperCollider, HMSL, Common Music, and in the writings of Laurie Spiegel. But although I put the code online for the first few years, I don’t think anyone else tried to use it. It was just for me, to make my own music as part of our band Slub.

Now, having edited the Oxford Guide, where would you position TidalCycles relative to other livecoding tools? What other tools should people be aware of – realizing there are a lot of these – on desktop or on browser?

Oh.. There’s absolutely loads of great stuff! There’s a lot to discover, and it’s almost all free/open source. Here’s the exhaustive list:


I’m particularly excited by FoxDot and Gibber taking things to the next level. Of course you can also livecode visuals, and Hydra [by Olivia Jack] is the new + exciting thing on the scene there. Both Gibber and Hydra run in the browser, and Foxdot is a fairly easy cross-platform download..

Is there anything to be said about the relationship between live textual coding and live visual/dataflow environments? (I was going to say Pure Data as an example.)

I don’t see any difference, really; a Pd patch has plenty of text in it, it’s just that the syntax comes from connecting the words together instead of arranging them next to each other. In fact, on one level, TidalCycles is a kind of pure, functional approach to dataflow. You can see this in the experimental visual frontend I made for it:


We’ll give you a fresh group of people Saturday in Berlin to teach the software. Where do you start in a workshop, in terms of how to present it – once installation and such is done, that is?

I like to get people to think about what a pattern really is. In computer music, we too often think of patterns in terms of straight sequences or piano rolls. But patterns are a lot more than that — it’s a way of making, really. So I get people to think about patterns in terms of repetitions, symmetries, and reflections on multiple levels, and (I think) most importantly interference patterns which often create fascinating complexities from simple ingredients. Then of course there’s deviation from a pattern, the random numbers which are an important (if perhaps massively overblown) aspect of algorithmic composition.

This stuff it seems is really taking off. What can you say about the > state of the larger livecoding or live laptop scene? Is there something giving it some new velocity?

I think it’s been a slow burner, but has grown into a global network of local communities. A vibrant scene grew in Mexico City and is spreading around South America. There’s an increasingly active scene in Tokyo, too. It really comes down to local organizers deciding to dedicate their spare time to running workshops and putting on shows.

It’s sort of funny to me in a way that there’s a renewed interest in laptop performance just as many people are very vocally abandoning laptops for, say, Eurorack modular. Are these opposed forces? Or are we just getting to the point where people are getting more interested in live performance and improvisation? Is it about trying all sorts of interfaces to connect their thoughts to what they’re playing?

Yes, I think it’s all connected — people wanting to open up boxes and work with what’s inside, work with systems as material. I see the same motivation behind wiring and re-wiring a modular synthesizer and modifying live code while it runs.

Plus, of course, some people do both. There are people connecting Tidal and other live coding systems to modular synths.

Alex live, as Yaxu.

You’re going to play as a solo artist (Yaxu) – what’s that music about for you? There are some musical ideas that are separate from the tool, or would you say the tool is part of how you express that musical vision?

Well, I often degenerate into making deconstructed gabber whatever I do. But I guess when I perform solo, I try to make it about learning something new with Tidal – work it into new territory, perhaps by using a new function I’ve added or trying out a new combination of functions. That’s what makes it exciting for me and, hopefully, the audience. I don’t like the idea of musical vision, though, because I think live coding (and indeed music in general) isn’t at all about expressing fully conceived musical ideas in an efficient manner, but starting with something and seeing where it takes you. Working with pattern is great for this, because it’s so full of surprises.

Is there ever tension between working on building tools and communities, and working on your own music, or how did you harmonize them?

Making languages for music leads to making music, as does making parties, so it all fits together nicely. If I’m honest, it’s a bit concerning when other people make fantastic music with Tidal, but that just encourages me to push my own music forward. The idea of an individual voice in music is probably a fairly recent thing. I like the folk music model where people borrow tunes from each other all the time. Free/open source music fits into that nicely.

Yeah, I think in Western music history we can look to the Middle Ages for that individualist model – though then, too, that era was definitely into open source. Cantus firmus on GitHub, anyone?

So, looking beyond you — all these people who have picked up TidalCycles and gone and made their own expression, in their own art and teaching. Who are some of the people you’d point to who represent the range of what’s happened in the livecoding scene?

Oh gosh! In terms of Tidal people in particular:

I love Scotts-Berliner Calum Gunn’s stuff, both with and without Tidal:


The same with Lucy Cheesman aka Heavy Lifting in Sheffield, she does top-notch Tidal stuff. We had a really fun collaboration recently, but she also performs with [live coding tool] Foxdot:


Kindohm over in Minnesota makes totally amazing music too, and has been integral to the community from the start:


Alexandra Cardenas, I guess a Columbian-Mexican-Berliner, is another huge force for good in the community, currently spreading Tidal on tour across South America, and with every performance different and inspiring.


I’ve really enjoyed following the development of audiovisual live coding in Japan e.g. Atsushi Tadokoro — looking forward to hosting an exchange with him + others soon!

Malitzin Cortes (CNDSD)’s Tidal experiments are also pushing Tidal into new ground, and her collaborations with visual artist Ivan Abreu
are something else:


Rodrigo Velasco aka Yecto from Mexico City, just love his inspired a/v work + experimental events:

Oh, this is so hard, to leave people out, but I guess I’d pick those out as being particularly active in growing the community in their different ways, as well as developing their own strong sound and approach. I’ll probably kick myself for forgetting someone.

Music from Yaxu (Alex)

Yaxu (audio) + Miri Kat (video) live at algorave sheffield 01/09/17

Algorave generation – we love repetition. 😉

Collaborating with Damu, as CCAI:

This recent stream to Algorave Moscow gives you a sense of how Alex builds up his tracks:

And Alex has put out an EP, on Computer Club:

And yes, there is still that massively overdue crowdfund project to do a full-length. Now you can see why the guy is busy, though, for sure.

Come join us in Berlin if you can:



The post Inside the livecoding algorave movement, and what it says about music appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

Copy and Past(e)

Delivered... norient | Scene | Tue 29 May 2018 6:00 am

Recycling footage has long been a common practice in music videos. Due to the mass availability of footage online, it has become even more popular. By freeing existing images from their original temporality and intended purpose and setting them to music, artists transform their meaning and generate an emotional experience of the past. From the Norient book Seismographic Sounds (see and order here)

Publicity Still from East of Borneo (Still © by Warner Brothers, 1931).

In 1936, American artist Joseph Cornell took select images from a discarded print of the Universal film East of Borneo (1931), removed the original dialogue and music, and played records alongside the images. The exact soundtrack Cornell chose in 1936 is unknown. However, for the 1963 screening, the soundtrack for the film, which he called Rose Hobart after East of Borneo’s starring actress, consisted of two songs from Nestor Amaral’s 1957 album Holiday in Brazil. This album has become the film’s de facto soundtrack. Amaral’s music emphasizes the dreamlike qualities of East of Borneo already foregrounded by Cornell’s reediting of the images. Indeed, as Rose Hobart may have first revealed, placing a beat or melody behind found imagery often allows something latent in those images to emerge, shifting our attention so that we remark upon details we might have otherwise missed.

In his foundational 1993 book on the topic of found footage, Recycled Images: The Art and Politics of Found Footage Films, film scholar William C. Wees criticized the use of found footage in Michael Jackson’s music video «The Man in the Mirror» (1987) for producing superficial, postmodern effects. He writes, «The shot of a nuclear explosion in Michael Jackson’s music video is simply one image in a stream of recycled images presented with little, if any, concern for their historical specificity—let alone logical or even chronological connection […]. The object or event in history has been superseded by […] simulacra, by representations of other representations produced and preserved by the mass media.»

While Wees makes a valid critique, I would argue that not all music videos that incorporate found footage function this way. Indeed, music videos may produce a variety of provocative instances of what I call the archive effect. The archive effect is derived from the viewer’s recognition that certain footage within a film or video derives from both another time and another intention. We perceive a temporal disparity between different pieces of footage within the film: a sense of a now of the contemporary footage, sound, and/or editing and a then of the appropriated footage. At the same time, we also experience an intentional disparity, a perception that certain footage originally served one purpose but is now being reused for a new and different purpose.

The Affective Experience of History

In Norient’s book and exhibition Seismographic Sounds — Visions of a New World, several artists combine their music (and sometimes original footage) with found materials to striking results. Indeed, beyond the archive effect, which derives simply from our recognition of found images as such, these videos may also engender in the viewer a powerful instance of what I refer to as the archive affect. In other words, the combination of found images with music tends to elevate and foreground the emotional content of such images. The archive affect may take the form of nostalgia based on our experience of temporal disparity because it emphasizes the pastness of certain images and/or sounds and evokes their lost historical contexts. Meanwhile, our experience of intentional disparity may generate humor or discomfort, among other sensations.

In the video for Gato Diablo’s «Nunca Tendremos Mar», for instance, when clips from old Bolivian films including Ukamau (1966) and The Blood of the Condor (1969) are cut together with similarly dated monster footage from the Hollywood B-movie Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), we may first experience nostalgia for these traces of the cinematic past, scratched and degraded by age and format. As we recognize the false continuity established by the editing, we may be amused by the clever way in which the scaly monster is made to look—almost but not quite—like it is attacking a young girl. Finally, we may also experience disquiet as the geopolitical implications of a Hollywood monster murdering a Bolivian girl become apparent. Gato Diablo’s music underscores each of these affective engagements while allowing the disparate sources to coalesce into a newly invented narrative.

A New Meaning for Old Sources

In Soap & Skin’s «Sugarbread» video, a slew of upsetting and unnerving images, unmoored from any narrative context, attack us at a visceral level. Documentary images of an eyeball being extracted from a human face, several kneeling men being shot in the head, crash test dummies burning, and a bridge exploding combine with oneiric images from fiction films such as Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922), Metropolis (1927), and Simon of the Desert (1965), among others. Although the images derive from incredibly varied sources, themes of bodily distortion and violent action are unified and intensified by the brooding and sometimes cacophonous music and the repeated lyric, «Try to break one’s heart in perpetuity.» Meanwhile, Silvana Imam’s «I.M.A.M (jj Remix)», images from recent political events, accompanied by Imam’s political lyrics, transform protest footage from simple documentation of an event to an uplifting celebration. Indeed, such news footage, which may be viewed as banal within the context of a conventional news broadcast is reinvigorated as it is accompanied by Silvana Imam’s anthem to diversity and freedom.

William C. Wees may be correct in suggesting that, by eliminating contextual sounds from found images, music may serve to elide differences between sources and establish a false equivalence between them, obscuring the specificities of history. However, what is gained is a range of affective engagements with found images, an embodied response generated by the music that accompanies them. In the videos of Gato Diablo, Soap&Skin, Silvana Imam, and other artists included in Seismographic Sounds—Visions of a New World, found footage may be partially stripped of its original meanings, but it also accrues new and compelling resonances. Moreover, as attested to by online comment threads in which viewers collectively attempt to identify each image, the presence of found images in music videos often sparks the desire to know more about these images, which might otherwise have been forgotten or ignored. In short, such videos encourage us not precisely to know but rather to feel the presence of history.

The text was published first in the second Norient book Seismographic Sounds. Click on the image to know more.

Read More on Norient

> Heinrich Deisl: «Sugarbread and Whip»
> Eduardo Navas: «Regenerative Culture (Pt. 1/5)»
> Thomas Burkhalter: «Playing with the Dustbin of History»

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