Miselu Kickstarts C.24, A Unique Keyboard for iPad

Miselu, C.24, iPad keyboard

I’ve had my eye on Miselu since their flagship product Neiro, an Android-based, compact keyboard running software from Korg, Retronyms, and Yamaha. While it was certainly interesting, Android devices haven’t really taken off in the music world the same way as their Apple counterparts have. No one can really argue that the iPad rules the mobile music scene. After former Apple hardware designer Jory Bell joined the Miselu team, it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened.

And so it seems Miselu has discontinued Neiro in favor of the C.24 – an iPad keyboard with some unique twists. First of all, it is an iPad case, attaching magnetically to protect your precious screen. When called upon to produce magical musical masterpieces, C.24 folds out elegantly, showing its pearly white and black piano teeth. The iPad then settles comfortably into the seat of its chariot, connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth.

The two octave keyboard uses anti-polarity magnets to give a semi-weighted feel. MIDI and aftertouch information is transmitted using optical key tracking. What makes the C.24 really exciting is the ribbon controller running along the top of the keys, with LEDs for visual feedback. On the left side are eight buttons for quick octave switching (presumably these can be configured for other functions too). On the right is a continuous controller for pitch bend. Above this lies a gaping hole, which will be filled in the future with any number of imaginable modular expansion modules, such as knobs, faders, XY pads, and who knows what else? Fleshy squeeze boxes?

For more details, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/miselu/c24-the-music-keyboard-for-ipad and give them your damn money!

What Do You Think Of Apple’s All New Everything?

iOS 7, iPhone, WWDC, Apple

Apple announced some major product changes at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference keynote yesterday.

iOS 7, coming this fall, has been completely redesigned, with a new typeface, icons, color palette, transparency effect, parallax planes (3D effect), and animations. It looks stunning, gorgeous, incredible – and also a little bit like Google/Windows to my eye… Anyone else think so?

It seems like Apple is trying to expand into enemy territory, incorporating more than just looks from its competitors. New additions to iOS 7 that smack of Android or Windows is a brand new control center, where preferences can be switched on/off, and multitask swiping between open apps. I think these are brilliant functions, and it’s about time Apple added them.

They’ve made the notification center accessible from the lock screen (day-at-a-glance reminds me of Google Now). The camera has new square crop & filters (Instagram-style) and moments (date/time organized photo collections). Airdrop allows file sharing to nearby contacts. Siri can now post tweets, search Wikipedia, and change settings.

The big iOS 7 news for the music world is iTunes Radio, which, like Pandora, has featured stations, user created stations, with the convenient ability to purchase music from the iTunes Store.

And for iOS musicians, the biggest news is built-in Inter-App-Audio. What this means for Audiobus and JACK remains to be seen.

For the old people still using laptops, there are new Macbook Air models, available now, with better battery performance (is it my imagination or is this what they say EVERY time?), and wi-fi that is supposedly 3x faster than before. Also on the horizon is OS X 10.9 Mavericks, named after the famous surfing competition, which features exciting developments like tabs in the Finder and searchable tags for files.

Not to be left behind in the past, the Mac Pro is getting a serious makeover, in which it is transformed into a strange black ashtray-like tube…

Mac Pro, Apple, WWDC, There are still more changes coming that I’m not even going to go into here. iCloud, for instance, will see new advancements that bring it up to date with web apps like Google docs. It’s definitely smart for Apple to absorb features from other successful tech companies, though it does seem like an admission that they are no longer on the cutting edge and are now trying to play catch up. The new Mac Pro could be seen as a continuation of the tradition of unconventional designs, or just a desperate ploy to make the desktop seem new and exciting again, in a world where PC’s are merging laptops with tablets. As an Apple lover, I’m not sure which is true. I try not to let my biases blind me to other possibilities. What do you think?

App Music Seminar In Berlin

App Music, Mobile Music Making, Berlin Summer University of the Arts

Are you perhaps interested in mobile music making, like these cool kids?

The Berlin Summer University of the Arts is hosting an upcoming workshop that will explore ‘app music’ on a variety of mobile devices and platforms. Whether you’re already local or just dying to visit Berlin, this seminar offers a great chance to get tapping with your fellow touchscreen aficionado.

App Music: Mobile Music Making

With Matthias Krebs July 29th – August 2nd, 2013

For quite a while now, making music with apps on smartphones and tablets has been more than simply a novelty. Some excellent music apps offer innovative digital musical instruments to the users. The production of digital music has also started to change: These apps already allow the creation of remarkable musical results, as demonstrated by the first serious album productions (e.g. “The Fall” by Gorillaz) and professional stage performances (e.g. by Jordan Rudess or the DigiEnsemble Berlin).

The ’App Music’ seminar will be a composition and sound workshop in the form of an experimental laboratory; a creative space to explore music and make new discoveries. Participants will investigate perspectives and potential of “app music” through a collective ‘learning by doing’ approach. Enthusiasts, experts and interested parties from all backgrounds are therefore invited to participate in the collaborative investigation of and experimentation with new music, sound and performance. A range of different sounds and musical compositions will be developed in groups and discussed within the context of the workshop. Results of the interactive creative activities will be presented in a public performance at the c-base.

The workshop will begin with an overview of the different music apps, platforms, devices and interfaces. Project groups will organically develop performances, productions and/or composition pieces over the course of the following days. Additionally, a joint rehearsal with the musicians of the DigiEnsemble Berlin is planed. The (partial) results will be presented in the workshop by the end of the last day. The last two days will be used to prepare the final performance.

Possible open questions to be explored in the course of the workshop:

• Which musical forms, fields of application and performing practices can be shaped by music apps?

• What possibilities are offered by mobile sensor controlled devices (such as smartphones and tablets) for music production and for future use as musical instruments?

• Can you express emotion and meaning with mobile music apps?

Participants

The workshop is aimed at enthusiasts, musicians, sound artists and music technologists, but is fundamentally open to all who are attracted by making music with digital sensor controlled devices. This is a workshop for those who are seeking an interactive exchange with others with regard to new musical forms, new technology and innovative expressive methods of sound making, performance and collaboration. Interested parties of all disciplines are encouraged to participate; diverse and varied backgrounds often bring valuable eclectic elements into the collaborative mix.

The workshop is also relevant for composers and creative individuals (for instance from the field of marketing/media production), who are keen on creating film material and background music for media productions.

Participants may certainly play their own devices during the workshop, however a large and varied supply of additional devices, peripheral equipment and amplifiers will also be provided. All participants (veteran app-musicians included!) are encouraged to mix, match, integrate, collaborate and experiment with a multitude of devices during the course. One of the goals of the workshop is to make new discoveries and explore interesting new combinations of devices and apps.

Matthias Krebs is a professional app musician, physicist, opera singer and music educator. For many years now, he has also been active in theater production as a sound artist and composer. He founded the DigiEnsemble Berlin at the Berlin Career College in 2010. Today it is the first professional music ensemble that regularly performs mobile music on physical stages. Krebs also delves into the field of mobile music making in his blog as well as in several music article publications and his current dissertation. Additionally he has recently published a browsable online slideshow on “android as a music creation platform.” (http://de.slideshare.net/MatzeRak/androidmusicmakingapps-2013)

date: July 29th-August 2nd 2013

place: UdK Berlin, Bundesallee 1-12

fee: 400 € (from June 10th 2013: 420 €)

No. of participants: 12 to 15

language: English

application deadline: July 1st 2013

Online registration: www.udk-berlin.de/summer-courses

Website URL: http://www.udk-berlin.de/sites/sommerkurse/content/artistic_courses_2013/music/mobile_music_making/index_eng.html

Mouse On Mars Wretchup, Wretch Dubbed, WOW

Mouse on Mars is on fire with three bits of exciting news.

First of all, congrats to them on achieving the crowd-funding goal on their iPhone app Wretchup. Created in collaboration with createdigitalmusic.com‘s Peter Kirn, Wretchup lets you instantaneously warp live audio input with the flick of your finger. Watch this video to get a better idea of what Wretchup can do:

While MoM has already used this custom app extensively in their work, both in the studio and onstage, Wretchup “relies on a now-defunct player app called RjDj, and lacks some features that make it something anyone can use.” The purpose of the campaign is “to build a standalone app with a richer set of functionality, and make it easy-to-use for novice and advanced users alike.”

In addition, since “Wretchup is built with libpd, a powerful open source library based on Pure Data,” they plan on making the source code available for programmers to learn from and incorporate into their own creations.

Although they’ve reached $5,000, if they manage to double that figure, they have promised to make an Android version as well. There are still 9 days left to support the project at http://www.indiegogo.com/appwow

Second news bite is that if you decide to contribute,  Mouse on Mars has made a special “Wretchup-remixed’ album exclusively for backers called “Wretch Dubbed.” Here is a taste:

Physical handmade copies are already sold out, but downloads are available for $15, which includes the app.

Lastly, Mouse on Mars very recently released a new LP entitled WOW, which has Wretchup all over it. Stream here: