Art + Music + Technology


Performing Arts





July 2015
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I have to admit being mesmorized by motion control since I saw some early body-suit performances in London. But thank the gods, the technology has really advanced since those early days. With the advent of the Microsoft Kinect, artistic use of motion control for visuals and sound has blown up, and the Ethno Tekh team has been at the forefront of the work.

Chris Vik took time out of his schedule to chat about motion control, his use of the Kinect and some of his performing experiences - including one of the most harrowing tales I've heard about crap-yourself tech problems. Any time you are taking technology out of its natural home (and let's face it - the Kinect is meant for your living room, not the C-Bit stage...), it can get a little wooly. But Chris and his working partner Brad Hammond take it on, and we get to hear about some of the fallout.

You can check out Chris' work at his site: Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_086_CVik.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:52 PM

I've always been a huge fan of Tiptop Audio's products: from their rock-solid Z3000 oscillator, to the center-of-my-universe Station 252 case, to the simple elegance of the Stackable cables, I've always found their products to be reliable, artful and best-of-class. I've also always wondered about the person behind this stuff, because it was clearly an interesting person.

Wow, what an understatement. Gur Milstein was super enthusiastic about being on the podcast, and we got a chance to run through his history as well as his design process. And, as part of the process, I came to further respect him - and be charmed by his friendliness. This interview is one of my favorites, because I started off not really knowing the person, and ending up developing a friendship with a person I really respect.

If you want to check out Gur's work, please jump over to and check it out!


Direct download: podcast_085_GMilstein.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:30 PM

After an introduction from Matthew Davidson, I needed to do a little research on this week's guest: Jean-Luc Cohen-Sinclair. Jean-Luc goes by several monikers on the web, and each of them seems to have a pretty significant background behind them. But one unifying theme kept coming up - Jean-Luc has some interesting perspectives on sound design for games, and he is also that pefect storm of a programming sound designer. Thus, as a result, he is into the idea of functional sound desigh, which I'll let him cover in the podcast.

Jean-Luc teachs sound design and sound programming topics at Breklee College of Music and NYU, so he definitely has the academic bones. But when you hear his history - and his perspective - on sound design, you'll realize that there is a lot more there than just academics.

If you want a glimps into the future of sound for games, you need to listen to this podcast!


Direct download: podcast_084_JLCohenSinclair.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 6:12 AM

Tim Thompson first came on my radar back in the day - he created a development system called KeyKit which allowed for interesting sequencer creation through focused coding. It was one of the first times I'd experienced a system that was clearly set up for "creative coding", and I was intrigued. In the intervening years, I've continued to run into him at various times, and he always seemed to be showing a new invention.

I ran into him again last year, and got a chance to experience his "Space Palette" - a system that he describes as "mousepads in space". It's an apt description, but doesn't imply the outright fun that it is to play with it - especially when paired with some of Tim's unique sound and video performance tools. Now, as you will hear, Tim is working with Roger Linn on software for the Linnstrument - the result seems equally fun and interesting.

You can check out more of Tim's work at these links:

His website:

His YouTube page: Tim Thompson's YouTube Page

Enjoy the interview, and check out his work!

Direct download: podcast_083_TThompson.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 11:20 AM

Jesse Sola, who goes by the name of Numina, is one of my favorite artists in the 'dark ambient' space. His work speaks to his comfort with electronic music, sound design and ambient structures. He's also an engaging character: he's willing to talk about music-making at the drop of a hat, and open to examining his own work process. And guess who came knocking at his door!

In this chat, we talk about his history with music (his dad's Minimoog!!!), influences (shoe-gazers???), favorite gear and ideas about releases. We also get to shed a little light on his sound design and loop library work as well as his work with different labels. All-in-all, a great insight into the mind of a fabulous musician.

Check him out here:


Direct download: podcast_082_JSola.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 4:19 PM

I recently returned from a Cycling '74 company retreat, and had a chance to spend some time with this week's guest: Rob Ramirez. Rob is an interesting character, fluent in both 3D graphics and conceptual art, and was willing to submit to the podcast. So I took him up on it!

One of the things we talk a lot about is a recent work he was involved in: An Evening With William Shatner Asterisk. You might want to see a bit of it; you can check these out:

The first episode, full experience:

A closeup of the video and captions:

In this discussion, we talk about the technical side of art, but we also talk about the 'soft' side: how the design of a work comes together, what it is like to be showing work in the hothouse of New York, and how attribution happens in a complex work. I think you'll find it quite interesting...


Direct download: podcast_081_RRamirez.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 3:21 PM

This week's chat is very different from most weeks'. In this episode, we talk to Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, a research scientist in the area of material science. Huh? Well, in addition to his role as a scientist, he is also a composer, and he is working on ways to mine the deep databases of science to create interesting compositions - and maybe find new ways of viewing materials as well.

As always, we dive into Marco's background to figure out how someone gets to be both a composer and a scientist. But I also take the time to talk about data-to-music mapping, and how this sort of system can work for both musicians and for non-musical scientists. Very interesting stuff!

Now, after listening to this - or maybe even before - you will want to review his site:

It's full of video, audio and image content that will illuminate the work that he is doing. I hope you enjoy this talk, and that it opens some doors for you in your search for more inspiration!

Direct download: podcast_080_MBNardelli.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 4:18 PM

A few months ago, Paul Rothman from littleBits reached out about a new set of tools they were going to create: a set of audio, MIDI and CV bits that would allow interaction between the littleBits system, a computer and a modular synth. Once I picked my jaw off the ground, I started waving my hands and shouting "Ooh, ooh" to try to work with them. Apparently I made enough of a spectacle of myself; I got an early set of the interface bits and did some video/example work that showed the bits in action.

As part of that project, I got to know a little more about Paul, and was quite intrigued. He let slips some info about a NIME visit, and something about guitar pedals, and something about Max. And in this interview, we find about about his life as a maker, his development of the fridgebuzzz guitar pedals (with the awesomely named Land Of The Rising Fuzz) and more. This was a great dive into the brain of a full-on creator, and I hope you enjoy the conversation.

Sorry for the Skype buzziness, but the content is worth the sound issues. And if you haven't checked out those littleBits, you really owe it to yourself to check out the site, or YouTube videos, or something. They are a blast - but also super useful.


Direct download: podcast_079_PRothman.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 2:36 PM

Jean-Marc Pelletier popped onto my radar some years ago; I was doing my Masters program, and was (of course) paying attention to the work of a lot of people around me. One thing that I noticed was that everyone was using the Kinect hardware, but were also using it in combination with a variety of blob tracking, color tracking and optical flow tools. And doing them in Max...

Digging a little deeper, I found that almost all of these projects were based on a single person's work: the work of Jean-Marc. His library of computer vision objects for Max, called the cv.jit objects, we at the heart of a lot of work. As I started exploring it myself, I found that this library offered an extensive set of functions, but also included help files that were great starting points for my own projects. I was a believer.

Over the years, the cv.jit objects were getting a little creaky - mainly due to changes in the Mac OS and Max itself. Luckily for all, a group of us at Cycling '74 chipped in to rework it into current shape, reformat it for the Max packages system, and generally make it usable in Max 7. The new work, along with some focus on the project that use cv.jit - as well as Jean-Marc himself - can be found on, the site that we've put up to focus on third-party libraries and technologies.

Want to find out more about JMP? You can read his bio, and check out his other work at Enjoy this chat with him, where we explore his obsessions, his interest in both music and visuals, and how he sees the future of mixed media art.

Direct download: podcast_078_MMPelletier.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 1:45 PM

Here, as promised, is part two of the interview with the Vasulkas, where they discuss Buffalo, Santa Fe and the future.


Direct download: podcast_077b_Vasulkas.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 8:19 PM

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