Art + Music + Technology

NOTE: This podcast is the fifth and final interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the interview as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/25/keith-mcmillen-interview-modern-instruments-should-combine-traditional-expressiveness-with-new-power/

Back in podcast episode #54, I talked to Keith McMillen about his background, his experiences in developing new musical tools, and the development of his 'smart fabric' technology that is at the heart of KMI's controllers. This time - and on the success of the Kickstarter funding of the K-Board Pro 4 - we talk with him about his experiences working on expressive controllers, and his long term goal of making every instrument able to interact with the computer.

I like talking to people with large visions, and Keith is right there: he'd like to change the world by making instruments more expressive and responsive, reduce latency to nothing - and also change the way that composers document their work so that it is available across technologies and implementations. These visions are the 'hard work' of what we need to do in electronic music, and Keith is simple not scared off by the difficulty of the task.

I hope you enjoy this discussion - we are pretty wide-ranging in the discussion, but in the end get to see the grand unifying vision of Keith's view of the future, and even what steps he may take to see them through. Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_157_KMcMillen2.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:17pm CST

NOTE: This podcast is the fourth interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/18/jordan-rudess-interview-on-new-instruments-the-future-of-keyboard-performance/

In the music instrument industry, Jordan Rudess is a rock star. He is a tremendous product demonstration guru, and is able to figure out - and shred upon - almost any controller at the drop of a hat. His history with Korg, Kurzweil and others map out the best of keyboards, and he's been a demo machine with all of them.

In the software development business, Jordan Rudess is also a rock star. He's designed some of the most interesting and playable iOS music applications (including MorphWiz, SampleWiz and GeoShred), and is working with others on some upcoming goodies.

And, of course, Jordan is also an actual rock star. As the keyboardist for Dream Theater, a member of the Dixie Dregs and an amazing solo performer and recording artist, Jordan has established himself as a force in rock keyboard circles.

What's cool, though, is that Jordan is a great guy, and is really wired in on every new technology. He's embraced the expressive controller world, including devices like the ROLI Seaboard, and finds these tools to open up a new world for him in both performance and recording. We talk a little about his past, his present and what he sees for the future in this two part (all in one file...) chat.

Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_156_JRudess.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

NOTE: This podcast is the third interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/11/continuum-creator-lippold-haken-on-the-future-of-electronic-instruments/

No matter who you talk to about expressive MIDI controllers, one device keeps coming to the forefront: the Haken Continuum. Developed by our guest, Dr. Lippold Haken, the Continuum defined a new class of instrument that put a sensor-based system at the hands of the player. As part of creating the instrument, Dr. Haken had to invent many supporting technologies, and we see some of that in the emerging MPE specification.

But there is a lot more to Haken's work than a spec: there is also the details that he explored in the development of the Continuum. And they are quite remarkable: crazy (and expensive) sensors, highly sensitive interfaces and even the creation of the unique keyboard-like playing surface - all of this had to be developed from whole cloth.

The fact that Dr. Haken pulled it off is rather amazing, and points to the dedication that he has for his craft. This was a great discussion about the system's development, but also his vision for a specific instrument and his tireless search for the right solutions.

You can find out a lot more about the Haken Continuum at the Haken Audio website, and by checking out players like Jordan Rudess, Rob Schwimmer and others wailing on the device on YouTube. Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_155_LHaken.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

NOTE: This podcast is the second interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/04/geert-bevin-mpe-interview/

Everyone in the MPE/expressive controller game talks about Geert Bevin. He got his bones working on the Eigenlabs Eigenharp, but has been instrumental in helping a number of instruments come onto the market - most recently the Roger Linn Linnstrument.

But Geert is more than just a coder; he's a long time musician, guitar player, songwriter and instrument experimenter. He doesn't just work on the code, he works on the instrument, helping each device to sing its own peculiar song. Talking with him helped me understand the reverence that others had for him, because he sees the holistic nature of instrument development, and is able to think this way about making the instruments into a playable reality.

You can learn more about Geert from a number of sources, but perhaps his most interesting writings can be found on http://expressiveness.org/ where he talks directly about the devices he's built/used, and also provides a view into the things that he finds interesting in that world.

Enjoy!

Direct download: podcast_154_GBevin.mp3
Category:Performing Arts -- posted at: 12:00pm CST

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