Wednesday, January 3, 2007, 02:33 AM - Misc MusicThomas Enrique from the University of Lisbon, is presenting his Meta-EWI (enhanced electronic wind instrument) at Dorkbot NYC tonight. As a fan of electronic wind instruments (Yamaha WX-5, and EZ-TP), I couldn't miss that. Electronic Wind Instruments generally have keys, a breath pressure sensor, and a lip pressure sensor. I have always though that more sensors would make the instrument more "personnal". I remember talking about this topic many years ago with David Wessel, director of Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at UC Berkeley. David says that musicians such as John Coltrane and Miles Davis can be recognized after only a few notes because the sound of their instrument is very special. The conformation of the mouth cavity of the player, the rigidity of the lips and other factors, give a personnal "voice" to wind instruments such as saxophones and trumpet. How could we reproduce this with electronic wind instruments?
Tuesday, January 2, 2007, 12:42 PM - Misc MusicI stumbled again on the web site of my old pal Tim Thompson (a.k.a. "tjt"). Tim is a hacker and musician (I seem to run into a lot of those people). We met in the late 80's when we were both at Bell Labs in Holmdel, NJ (Tim did some work on our handwriting recognition systems). In the mid 80's, he founded the notorious Mostly Midi Mailing List, in which (mostly AT&T) geek/musisians would exchange tips and ideas about Midi and electronic music. He wrote the ultra cool KeyKit (formerly Keynote) Midi sequencer and composition software, which had a interpreted language front-end (as well as a GUI), and such things as Markov Model for generating melodies (he is a fan of algorithmic composition). Tim is now in California, and seems to be having fun with unusual Music controllers of his own design, real-time video processing, Burning Man contraptions, and such.
Sunday, November 26, 2006, 09:30 PM - Misc MusicThe band The Musical Box played in New York this week-end. TMB is a Genesis look-alike band. They play Genesis music live, re-enacting the live shows of the 70's, down to the costumes, headgears, mannerism, lighthshows, everything. Amazingly enough, the music is more faithful to the studio recordings than Genesis's own live shows. In fact, the original Genesis musicians seem to say that TMB plays Genesis better than Genesis themselves!
I used to love Genesis in my teens and early 20's, so this was a serious nostalgia trip for me. There were quite a few young people in the audience at the Tribeca Performing Art Center, were TMB re-enacted the 1973 "selling England by the pound" show, but most of the audience was about my age....
Friday, November 24, 2006, 03:02 PM - Misc MusicHammacher-Schlemmer, the way-overpriced-but-occasionally-cool gadget store has the Yamaha EZ-TP digital trumpet for sale at 500 bucks.
You sing into it (and use the keys if you want), and the trumpet turns the pitch of your voice into synthesized sound, or to the corresponding MIDI messages (from which you can control another synth). The trumpet has been available in Japan for a while, but this is the first time it is available in the US.
I'm guessing it will be available from other vendors for a much lower price after the holiday season, but since my WX-5 MIDI Wind Controler is broken, I can't wait.