Keith McMillen (right) has been exploring new ideas for electronic music instruments for nearly 35 years, starting in 1979 with his company Zeta Music and more recently with Keith McMillen Instruments. His most recent creations are the QuNeo and QuNexus controllers, both developed using a ‘crowdfunding’ approach.
Synthtopia’s Elisabeth Lewin talked with McMillen about new instrument design, new music and how they intersect.
Synthtopia: Over the last 35 years, you’ve designed new electronic stringed instruments, MIDI mixers, created high-tech violin bows, MIDI foot pedals, a pad controller and now the QuNexus keyboard controller. Why focus on new instruments?
Keith McMillen: Being able to transition from amplified acoustic instruments into a new era of music where the computer is an interactive participant in a performance is significant.
Pretty much everything is organized around the theme of being able to play live computer music in an ensemble. It’s a complicated request that requires many components. And I’ve been chipping away at it for 30+ years. The vision gets clearer as I get closer to the goal.
Synthtopia: It seems, with Moore’s law, that what is possible grows exponentially each passing year. Does your vision of an electronic music ensemble broaden or narrow as the technology gets better? Continue reading →
The New Sound of Music is a vintage BBC documentary (1979) that looks at the development of recorded music, from the first barrel organs, pianolas, the phonograph, the magnetic tape recorder on to the concepts of musique concrete and electronic music.
Expert Sleepers has released version 2.0.0 of Silent Way, its suite of plugins designed to let you use your computer as part of a modular synthesizer system.. The plugins make no sound, but are designed to generate control voltages.
Silent Way v2.0.0 updates include:
5 new plug-ins: Silent Way ES-5 Controller, Silent Way ESX-4CV Combiner, Silent Way Follower, Silent Way Learner and Silent Way Soundplane.
64 bit support (OS X and Windows).
New GUI look.
Added skinning – fully customizable GUIs.
Added MIDI learn for easy remote control from MIDI control surfaces.
Added new OSC control features for trivial setup with popular OSC apps such as TouchOSC.
All plug-ins are now installed in a single bundle (OS X)/dll (Windows).
Rain Computers has released a new version of it?s Event Mini Audio Computer, the Event A2 (A for audio, 2 because it?s the second generation).
This is sort of the Windows parallel to the Mac mini – a $799 computer that packs a lot of power into a compact package.
Here’s what Rain has to say about the Event A2:
Since finding that the musical community was hungry for a low price, entry level system still capable of being the most powerful and stable platform for popular creative software like Pro Tools and Cubase, Rain has been on the hunt for ever increasing levels of power and flexibility while maintaining a budget-friendly price for those who can do without the ultimate in power (and expense).
?There are a lot of us here at Rain, including myself, who come from the songwriting and performance side of the music biz. We don?t need a super-power system to run a big studio; we?re just looking for a solid computer that will get out of the way while we?re doing a quick demo of a new song. That?s the type of artist Event A2 is perfectly designed for.? explained Rain Computers CEO, Kevin Jacoby.
The fourth annual Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS2012) is scheduled for September 13-16 at St Cloud State University School of the Arts in St Cloud, Minnesota. KISS2012 will include over 24 hours of technical sessions presented by Kyma experts, 9 hours of hands-on labs, and evenings filled with live music and live cinema, showcasing some of the most outstanding work created in Kyma this year.
More than 100 sound designers, composers, performers, film makers, game designers, authors, audio engineers, educators, and students are expected to participate in KISS2012.
Among the topics to be addressed are:
Sound design for games, film, advertising, and music;
Live cinema with real time sound tracks;
New approaches to improvisation and interaction;
New musical instruments and new approaches to performance, including continuous touch-sensitive keyboards, musical soccer balls, game controllers, treadmills, tablets, and a direct-brain interface!
Exploring the differences between working in real time vs working in reel time (and the unique benefits of each);
An in-depth look at what’s new in Kyma and a peek at where Kyma is headed in the near future.
Throughout the four-day event, you’ll be able to explore the latest innovations, features, and real-time controllers for the Kyma Sound Design environment and learn how to optimize your work flow to create amazing new sounds for film, games, music and more. Kyma practitioners are invited to bring their own Sounds to the labs where they can work with Kyma developers and fellow Kyma practitioners to enhance their results.
Before 11 August 2012: Full (4 days): $140 Single day : $40 (please specify which date you would like to attend) Student Full (4 days): $80
After 11 August 2012: Full (4 days): $180 Single day : $60 (please specify which date you would like to attend) Student Full (4 days): $100
The deadline for discounted registration is August 10, 2012.