Art + Music + Technology

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: 11:19am CDT

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: 10:21am CDT

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: 11:18am CDT

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: 9:36am CDT

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: 8:45am CDT