STEIM Cracklebox Synth Jam

Sunday Synth Jam: This video captures a synth jam by reader Rene Splinter that features the relatively rare STEIM Kraakdoos (or Cracklebox) with more traditional synthesizers.

The video begins with a demo of the Kraakdoos by Splinter. His track, Modern Ruins, starts at about 3:34.  Continue reading

Breadboard Based Modular Synthesizer System


Pete Edwards and Phillip Stearns are developing a new breadboard-based modular synthesizer.

The new system is designed for maximal scalability of size, quality and hardware format. This will allow experimenters to quickly and cheaply connect circuit boards with simple jumper wires, but also allow for adapting the circuits to be housed in rugged systems for live performance.

Here’s what they have to say about the new breadboard modular synthesizer design: Continue reading

STEIM’s junXion Lets Mac Users Turn Anything Into A Musical Instrument

Dutch music center STEIM (the studio for electro-instrumental music) has released a series of video tuturials for junXion

junXion is a Mac OSX application that can translate signals from joysticks, mice, touchscreens, MIDI, OSC, Audio, Arduino and Video devices – using conditional processing and remapping – into MIDI or OSC events. The resulting MIDI or OSC data is then available to any audio or music software that runs on that Mac or can be sent to external MIDI/OSC devices.

junXion Features:

  • recognition and usage of 8 types of Input Sensors
    • Human Interface Events, such as joystick X-axis, mouse scroll wheel, touch screen Y-axis
    • MIDI Events, such as MIDI note events from Port 1, Mod. Wheel events from Port 2
    • Timer Events, internal data generating processes, up to 100 Timers can be used
    • OSC (Open Sound Control) Events via network
    • WiiRemote Events, the popular Wii controllers support (on bluetooth machines)
    • Audio Events, as level and pitch tracking sensors
    • Arduino Inputs, simply reading the sensors connected to an Arduino board and using junXion to process these
    • Video Inputs, use live video image to extract a ‘Video Object’ out of movement, color recognition, etc.
  • being resolution independent, junXion v5 can handle any input data up to 16-bit resolution
  • one Input Sensor such as ‘joystick X-axis’ can be connected to multiple Actions, thus generating multiple MIDI/OSC events
  • multiple Input Sensors can be connected to one Action, so for example several switches of your joystick can trigger the same Action
  • (auto) scaling of the incoming data
  • straight mapping from the incoming data into one of the available MIDI/OSC events
  • remapping of the computer keyboard and mouse to MIDI/OSC events
  • creation of analog style sequencers using junXion’s Timers
  • MIDI output port or OSC network port selectable per Action
  • the possibility to simultaneously connect up to 15 USB input devices and route them to separate or common MIDI channels/ports (for example: you can for instance ‘play’ Ableton Live with two joysticks and the computer keyboard)
  • external MIDI input data can be merged with junXion’s MIDI data or reprocessed and even turned into OSC messages
  • save/recall user defined configurations
  • editable table based response curves for the translation of gestures into MIDI controller data
  • an extended set of data conditioners and conditional data routing (for example: passing a threshold by moving a joystick will first trigger a note and than send its further movement data as MIDI controller data)
  • ‘Timers’ for timed data streams triggered and ‘steered’ by external input devices (for example: use for simple sequencing)
  • ‘Audio Events’ as sensors, for each audio input junXion can extract the Level and Pitch to be used as input data.
  • ‘Video Events’ as sensors, for each in junXion’s video object editor definable Object you get six different input sensors, such as x and y position.

junXion is available to download; licenses are €75.

Continue reading

Lara’s Theme May Never Be The Same

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In this video, violinist Jon Rose controls ring modulation with the K-Bow, a Bluetooth enabled sensor bow for string instruments, turning Maurice Jarre’s Lara’s Theme, from Dr. Zhivago, into atonal sheets of sound. Continue reading

The Steim Cracklebox

Saturday Synth Porn: This is a great shot of the Kraakdoos, or Crackle Box, designed by Michel Waisvisz of STEIM in the seventies.

The main concept of the Crackle Box is that the human body becomes a vital part of the electronics (or the other way around) while playing it. It is a touch and pressure sensitive device that squeeks and makes a lot of noise when played with.

If you’ve used the Crackle Box, leave a comment with your thoughts!

Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts 2009

For one week each year, the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts gathers creators and performers of new media arts from around the world to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul (USA) to showcase their work to the public.

February 17 – 22, 2009
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN.

If you’re a Twitter user, you can follow the events on Twitter.

Details below. Continue reading