The halldorophone is a unique acoustic-electric instrument created by Halldór Úlfarsson from Iceland. One of its leading players is Oscar-winning Hildur Guðnadóttir, who used it extensively on her score for Joker, and was part of its development. We talked to Halldór about the cello-like instrument and how it grew from his original idea to becoming a sought-after sound at the heart of tracks from the likes of experimental metal band Sunn O))) and psychedelic folk rap artists CryptoChrome. If you want to see it in action, Bill Thompson will be playing one at his Cafe Oto show in London, on Tuesday 25th February.
The groundbreaking Nuraphone headphones are tailored to your hearing and give a breathtakingly deep and different listening experience. They’re a more than worthy recipient of a CES award this year, for Best of Innovation in the headphone category, and we’re sure there will be more honours to come.
New festival We Are Robots presents an amazing line-up at the Old Truman Brewery in London from 2-5 November. Focusing on the ‘future and innovation of music’ it features performances, installations, workshops, discussions, technology, and an industry conference, and includes leading names and exciting newcomers, with Daniel Miller DJ-ing at the after party. Tickets to the main exhibition are free, with performance, panels and workshop tickets available separately.
After thrilling people with the MiMU Gloves powered by Glover software, the Imogen Heap-founded music tech company MiMU has just released Glover as a desktop app, making gesture-controlled music infinitely more accessible. We tested it out and were awed by all the possibilities it opens up for making custom sounds, with the Gliss phone app, Leap Motion and more. There’s a free demo too!
Sound Designers ModeAudio have launched a competition with Kitmonsters to win some of their great Sound Packs! They’ve had amazing reviews for creating some of the best samples, loops, patches and presets in the business, praised for their quality and style. They’re designed to integrate with your favourite software and include MIDI data and project files.
The first New Sounds New Styles event, curated by design icon Malcolm Garrett, was a one-day conference and showcase exploring the intersection of music and technology. With a focus on Immersive Audio and VR, it shone a spotlight on current research, authoring, design and performance, and looked at the future environment for creatives.
We’ve a brand new Kitmonsters podcast, bringing you interviews with artists and innovators in music and tech, talking about their creative projects, ethos, tools and practices. And giving their tips!
Roland had some great new gear on show at NAMM - I talked to David Ahlund in depth about the SYSTEM-8 and the DJ-808.
The Augmented Instruments Lab at the Centre for Digital Music (C4DM) at Queen Mary University of London, is a place of wonder. It focuses on developing new instruments and interfaces for creative musical expression, and is led by Dr Andrew McPherson. Hackoustic arranged a Field Trip to meet the team there and explore some of the unique instruments, and unsurprisingly it was quickly fully-booked.
Bishi’s incredible WITCiH Summer Salons are a magnet for talented innovators, and the June edition was a classic, with amazing insights from Imogen Heap, Bishi and Rachel Wingfield from Loop.pH. The next salon is on Wednesday 12th July at The Barge House in London with Rebekah Ubuntu, Jenn Kirby, Bishi and Kat Five.
Attila Haraszti aka Rawfare has hacked SoundCloud by creating an innovative interactive track that’s rave-inspired and changes according to the plays. He’s passionate about creating new ways for artists to get more influence over social platforms and we interviewed him about the SoundCloud ‘Pipo’ track and his other exciting projects.
Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers have just announced the release of Bloom: 10 Worlds – a developed, augmented and expanded new edition of 2008’s game-changing original Bloom app, that’s a firm favourite here at Kitmonsters, and is now on Android for the first time. Peter Chilvers spoke to us about the new Bloom, available on pre-order from today at Generative Music and out on 7th December.
Music Tech Fest is back, bigger and more exciting than ever - taking place in Stockholm in partnership with KTH Royal Institute of Technology. With Creative Labs, Performances, Demos, in Conversations and Family activities, there’s something for everyone at this festival of innovation and experimentation, including Imogen Heap launching her Mycelia World Tour, work from Scanner, Robyn, Lula Mebrahtu and more. Tickets for the public days 7-9 September are available from the Music Tech Fest website.
Music Tech Fest returned in style in Stockholm in partnership with KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and with venues that included the dramatic Reaktorhallen - a decommissioned nuclear reactor chamber deep underground. It was the setting for a week long AI Performance Lab of 90 artists, hackers and scientists, and became a spectacular performance space to showcase their work.
A mystery tour of experimental electronics in Denmark
The Spacehorn sounds amazing, but what actually is it and how do you make it? Zali Krishna created a new breath controlled instrument and sound, using an electronic wind instrument and an Axoloti board, and reveals how he did it.
Music tech startup Vochlea have been creating a big stir with early previews of its Dubler Studio Kit - grime star Novelist is already a fan - and launched a Kickstarter campaign.. Now Vochlea has just won the Web Summit Music Tech Innovation Award for the Dubler, which is available on pre-order.
New features for the groundbreaking Dubler Studio Kit live voice to MIDI controller from Vochlea, as Dubler 1.2 launches.
Can walls make waves? Well the thought-provoking #PlayThisWall has been making friends at festivals and events across Europe, with its great electronic sounds. It has even made an appearance with Music Tech Fest at the #Horizon2020 #H2020Future conference at the EU Commission. It’s a double sided wall musical interface by sound artist Run Dreamer, and we asked him to tell us all about it.
We’ve some special picks from the NAMM Show, by Portrait XO. She’s an Electronic Music Artist, Resident Artist at SAMPLEnHOLD the regular electronic music night in LA, and recent founding member of nonprofit The IASAS (International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists).
Artist, producer and WITCiH founder Bishi put together an amazing live stream performance with the Volta XR team, for Amazon Music on Twitch. It stunned viewers, who were responding on live chat, and was created using cutting edge code and technology. We spoke to Bishi and to Volta XR’s Alex Kane and Yuli Levtov about how the collaboration worked, and asked for their advice for artists wanting to use VR. There’s also info on how you can become a Volta beta tester!