New Instrument Uses Tattoos As A Score

tattoo-instrument

Reader Dmitry Morozov – a Moscow-based media-artist, musician and ‘engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms’ – has created a new instrument that uses a tattoo for a score.

Morozov creates experimental electronic music and advocates for circuit bending and DIY electronics in Russia, under the moniker ::vtol::.

Here’s what Morozov has to say about his instrument, ‘Reading My Body’:

this is a special instrument that combines human body and robotic system into a single entity, that is designed to automate creative process in an attempt to represent the artist and his instrument as a creative hybrid.

The device consists of a railing with comfortable hand holders and two parallel, but offset from each other black lines’ sensors that move along the arm using a stepper motor. It is equipped with a 3-dimensional Wii remote controller that uses the OSC protocol in order to give a possibility of additional expression achieved by moving hand in space.

Morozov use of tattoos is part of a trend that we anticipated in our 10 Predictions For Electronic Music Making In The Next Decade in 2010 – musical body modifications.  Continue reading

Music of the Forest (Literally): Wooden Tree-Ring LPs

In case you missed it: Live Science recently had a story about artist Bartholomäus Traubeck, who has created a “record player” of sorts that plays slices of tree trunks. That’s right: tree ring LPs.

Instead of a phonograph needle reading grooves on an album, Traubeck’s artpice “Years” is an audio recording of tree rings being read by a computer, using a PlayStation Eye Camera, and turned into music via Ableton Live. Each track is named for, and created from, wood from a different type of Austrian tree (spruce, ash, oak, alder, etc).

Traubeck describes his work: Continue reading

Way-back Wednesday: Shoreditch Experimental Music School, 1969

Worth watching: This vintage (1969) BBC program looks at “experimental music education,” of the time. We’re not sure if it’s the most awesome thing ever – or the most disturbing. Either way, it’s a fascinating look at how some of the avant garde musical approaches of the day – including electronics and system music -  were brought into the classroom. Continue reading

Keith McMillen Instruments Announces StrongArm Six-String Sustainer

KMI_strongarm_bridgeAt the 2014 NAMM Show: Keith McMillen Instruments is introducing their latest invention: the StrongArm Six-string Sustainer.  

The StrongArm Sustainer picks up and drives all six strings by systems embedded within the actual saddle piece. The sensor saddle of the StrongArm pickup sees minute changes in position of the strings’ termination at the bridge. The result is a pickup that is full and even sounding with a broad range of response. A simple blend control adjusts the mix from your regular magnetic pickups with the StrongArm Sustainer sound.

Here’s McMillen’s intro video for the StrongArm: Continue reading

Kitchen Items + Robotics + Arduino Control = The Percussion Kitchen

the-percussion-kitchen

Reader Devin Curry teamed up with Ben Gullard to create the Percussion Kitchen, an electronic rhythm instrument based on kitchen items – along with robotics and Arduino control.

The duo set out to create something whimsical and fun to play.

They started with a variety of kitchen items, ranging from a cheese grater to tupperware. The created a cutting board controller, using Sanwa arcade buttons. An Arduino Uno is used as the ‘brain’ to control solenoids that ‘play’ the kitchen items.

Here’s a demo video of the Percussion Kitchen in action: Continue reading

DrumPants Puts Industrial-Strength MIDI Control In Your Pants

dumpants-illustrationDeveloper Tyler Freeman has introduced DrumPants – an inexpensive wearable MIDI controller that you can put in your pants.

We featured a lot of creative MIDI controllers on Synthtopia recently, but DrumPants spank the competition in the ‘wear it in your pants’ department.

DrumPants have the advantage of being both inexpensive (pricing starts at $89) and being wearable (in your pants). DrumPants comes with 100+ built-in sounds, including drums, percussion, synthesizers, guitars and pianos. And it can also be used to send MIDI or OSC, turning your body into a mobile MIDI controller.

drumpants

While DrumPants were designed to be an ‘industrial quality wearable musical instrument’, fun is also a top priority.

“It’s a wearable music kit, so you can make sounds – in your pants!” notes Freeman.

And, if you’re worried about unsightly MIDI bulge, DrumPants don’t even have to be worn in your pants. They’re flexible and can can attach to your body or clothes in a variety of ways:

drumpants-attachment

DrumPants are being developed as a Kickstarter project. Here’s the official intro video: Continue reading