Nagual Dance Uses Kinect To Translate Movement Into Music

Berlin-based Nagual Sounds has developed a new gestural musical instrument, Nagual Dance, based on the Microsoft Kinect.

The system is based on two main components:

  • Control data – from sensors, cameras, files and all kinds of sources – is used to turn gestures and movement into sounds; and
  • The Soundscape -an interactive piece of music that doesn’t consist of pre-recorded musical sequences, but of musical possibilities. The music decides the behavior of the used data source.

In the example above, a Kinect camera is used by Nagual Dance to control the Soundscape ‘Firedance’.

Here’s how it works: Continue reading

Can The New 12″ Microsoft Surface 3 Replace Both Your Tablet And Your Laptop?

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Microsoft today introduced the Surface Pro 3 — a lightweight tablet that they want to replace both your tablet and your laptop.

With the Surface Pro line, Microsoft has been trying to convince buyers that its ‘best of both worlds’ approach to hybrid tablets makes more sense than the Apple’s approach, creating best-in-class, dedicated tablet and laptop devices. Microsoft positions the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet + laptop that’s more powerful than an iPad and lighter than an MacBook Air:

Multiple processor, RAM and storage options intersect with a sleek design that, with a simple snap or click, transform the device from a perfectly balanced tablet to a full-functioning laptop and back again – all in a beautiful package that is 30 percent thinner than an 11-inch MacBook Air.

Its stunning 12-inch display and new, continuous kickstand provide the screen real estate and multiple viewing angles people need for work and play. And the new Surface Pen – completely redesigned with form and function in mind – delivers a precise, luxurious drawing and note-taking experience with a single click of the pen.

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Will Windows 8.1 Make You Reconsider Microsoft’s OS Disaster?

Microsoft Surface tabletWhen Microsoft released Windows 8 and its line of Surface tablets, we reported that Surface RT tablets are DOA, but that Windows 8 beats Windows 7 for audio and  that Windows 8 music apps could be huge.

Yeah – those last two predictions didn’t work out so well for us. Windows 8 has been panned by users and blamed for causing the “most precipitous PC decline in history.”

Now Microsoft has released Windows 8.1 – an update that adds some new features, but more importantly, fixes some of the things people hated about Win 8. Is it enough to make you reconsider the OS? Check out the details and let us know what you think! Continue reading

Microsoft Intros Surface 2, Surface Music Kit – Are They Enough For You To Consider A Windows Tablet?

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Microsoft today announced that the second generation of its Microsoft Surface family of tablets. It also announced new accessories for the Surface tablet computers, including a pressure-sensitive DJ controller.

Two new Surface models, Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, will be available at Microsoft retail stores and retailers in 22 initial markets. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 benefit from improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution and to the Kickstand.

The first generation of Microsoft Surface devices failed to make a dent in the popularity of iPad and Android tablets. Will Microsoft have more success this time around? Check out the details and let us know what you think!

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Z Vector + Microsoft Kinect Lets You ‘Sample Reality’ In 3D HD

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Z Vector is a new visualization tool that lets you use depth sensors, like the Microsoft Kinect and PrimeSense Carmine, “to sample reality in real-time, visualize it the way you like and explore it in 3D with Full HD resolution.”

Designed to be a live performance tool, rather than a programming environment, Z Vector can animate nearly every variable within the software, using integrated sound analysis algorithms, synthetic rhythms or via externally triggered MIDI/OSC signals.  Continue reading

Using Reaktor On A Windows Surface Tablet

Reader Josh Morky – a Mac user for 10 years and also an iPad music app fan – was intrigued by the new Windows 8 Surface tablets. So he tried one and with apps like Native Instruments Reaktor, made a video demo and shared it with us.

“It’s pretty obvious from the thousands of apps that have popped up on the iPad in recent years that performing electronic music on a touch screen is fun, expressive, and kind of what we’ve all been waiting for. It just makes sense,” notes Morky. “I’ve used an iPad for playing music – which I love – but can’t help but feel that Apple is purposefully limiting its potential. File management is a nightmare, and multitasking just doesn’t work.”

So Morky decided to get a Surface tablet. Check out the video demo above to see how Surface works with Reaktor.

And see Morky’s comments below on why he ultimately returned his Surface, even though he like it……

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Is Windows 8 The New Vista?

windows-8-surface-proWe tend to be early adopters at Synthtopia, so we followed the beta of Microsoft Windows 8 and upgraded one of our PCs as soon as the new OS was available. Overall, we’ve been impressed by its speed improvements, lack of cruft and the new options offered by its implementation of multitouch.

Musicians have been slow to warm to the new OS, though. And now a series of executives are blaming Windows 8 for declining PC sales, calling it the ‘new Vista’.

“The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8,” says Samsung’s Jun Dong-soo. “The Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform.” He joins leaders from Asus, Acer and Fujitsu in blaming Windows 8 for sluggish sales.

What do you think – is Windows 8, despite its performance improvements, an upgrade that musicians can skip?