HackPrism a MIDI controller inspired by SoundPrims

Art, Music, Synthesizers

Last December I had the opportunity to try for the first time an iPad. (Yes I know, I’m a little bit delayed). It was really amazing the number of music apps available. You can find from apps that fart, to complete DAWs. One of my favorite apps was SoundPrism by Audanica.

Soundprism is a software midi controller that simplifies playing chords. I tried it and in a few minutes I was making nice songs. The best part is that, using the iPad, you have the multitouch screen and it feels really natural playing that thing.

There is even a short film in which the music was completely created using SoundPrism: Julie, Agosto, Setembro.

Sadly I don’t have an iPad, and I don’t have any plants to buy one. But still I wanted to be able to use SoundPrism. That’s why I made my own basic version using Processing.

My version is very basic and does not include any of the nice features available in the Pro version of SoundPrism. This is a screen shot:

If you want to use it, you need 5 things:

  1. Processing
  2. “The Midi Bus”  library
  3. LoopBE1 or any other virtual MIDI cable
  4. A software synthesizer or midi instrument
  5. My source code

If you are new in these things, I will guide you step by step.

Go to http://processing.org/ and download processing. I use the 2.0a4 version. I recommend you to download this version since makes very easy the installation of libraries. This is the direct link.

Once is decompressed in your favorite folder, run processing and go to  Sketch->Import Library-> Add Library. Now select and install “the Midi Bus” library and restart processing.

Now you have to install a virtual Midi cable. Since I’m using Windows 7, I recommend LoopBE1. Download it and install it. If you are a Mac or Linux user, there should be some equivalent software but I can’t help you now.

Now we need something to make noises. If you don’t have any program installed, I recommend you Native Instruments Mikro Prism. That is a free plugin that you can run with the Reaktor Player (also free). Once Reaktor player and Mikro Prism are installed you need to be sure that Reaktor can receive MIDI signals from LoopBE1. Go to File->Audio and MIDI settings, in the MIDI tab check that “LoopBE internal MIDI” is ON.

Now you just need my magic source code. you can get it from my public Dropbox folder HERE.

Now prepare everything. Open Processing, open my code. Run Reaktor Player, load Mikro Prism. Press the play button in Processing and you should see HackPrism. Play some notes with the mouse and enjoy.

If you know a little bit programming, you can modify my code and add different scales to play with. Now it is up to you.

If you like it post a comment, and if you have a iPad I encourage you to get the Pro version of SoundPrism.


No it’s not my birthday

Electronics, Music, Nostalgia

A few days ago me and my flatmate went to throw some trash to the recycling room. I was very happy when I saw that someone left this beauty  in the electronics container.

Even when here it is illegal to take the things from the container, I felt like a “savior” not as a “thieve” when I took this to my house. First I thought to take all the electronics, but it was a very nice surprise that the keyboard works perfectly.

This keyboard is a Casiotone MT-65. It is almost as old as me. The sound is very nice. According to Wikipedia this series of keyboards uses a synthesis method called “Vowel-Consonant synthesis”. The thing that I liked the most is a type of  delayed modulation that sounds like having aftertouch. You press the key, and some milliseconds after it starts to modulate the sound with a tremolo like. Most of the sounds a very interesting.

One cool thing is the rhythm box. It has many rhythms programmed and you can change the tempo with a knob to get cool effects.

This guy made an interesting modification to the keyboard:

Thank you very much to the person that gave me this present.

Mocotron: a Monotron inspired Reaktor instrument

Create, Electronics, Music, Synthesizers

Today I made a small Reaktor instrument based on the Monotron Synth

I really like this small synthesizer because it sounds very natural. I love the analog sound.

This is my version:

You can download it from the Reaktor user library HERE.

This is how the model looks:

I have also uploaded demo sound to Soundcloud, but the MP3 file that I made sounds really crappy.

(Now I know why it is called LAME encoder)

Everything is a Remix Videos

Art, Music, Nostalgia

A few weeks ago I was playing with a step sequencer that I made in Processing. I used a random approach to get something with a good sound… by just tweaking I got a very nice bass line… but then I started to think… maybe that cool bass line wasn’t product of mine…

Luckily I started watching these “shocking” videos that helped me overcome the potential (not-yet-proved) plagiarism of my bass line.

It’s a series of 4 videos, all of them are great.

After watching these videos I think that I going to change my approach of making music… I’m always trying to get the most original sounds, without using samples… maybe that’s the reason I’m not very productive.


Aphex Twin changed my life too


I was watching this video where this guy comments the strong influence that Aphex Twin had in his musical career… and some way I feel the same.

The first time I listened to Aphex Twin was on MTV (when it used to be good). I saw the video “Come to daddy”

That SCREAM !!!!

For the first time I realized that not all electronic music was meant to enjoy only with drugs.

The same way that not all songs that use a guitar fall in one classification, not all the songs that use synthesizers are the same… some music just sucks.


Interview with Skanner creator


One of the things that obsessed me are the synthesizers… and I have been trying for a long time to build my own, but it is freaking expensive. One “cheap” option to get your synthesizer is by using a software version. I have tried:

at the end, I stayed with Reaktor. It may not be the cheapest, but It comes with many many examples, especially if you want to learn.

Recently, the guys from Native Instruments released Skanner, that is a synthesizer that makes really nice sounds… and the best thing it for free 🙂 you can get it HERE

If you want to know more about it, there is this interview with Stephan Schmitt, the creator or Reaktor and Skanner. You can read the interview HERE.


The best dance music artist?

Music, Uncategorized

Questionable or not, we have to believe that the readers of “mixmag” are right.

According to them, the best dance music artist are:

  1. The Prodigy
  2. Daft Punk
  3. The Chemical Brothers
  4. Faithless
  5. Deadmau5
  6. Plastikman
  7. Underworld
  8. Fatboy Slim
  9. Orbital
  10. Moby
  11. Leftfield
  12. Kraftwerk
  13. Pendulum
  14. Depeche Mode
  15. Justice
  16. Basement Jaxx
  17. Groove Armada
  18. The Shamen
  19. Above & Beyond
  20. The KLF

and highlighted you can find the ones that I really like.

My list would be a little bit different since I like a lot Industrial Rock…. so here it goes… my top something list of artist that intensively use  electronics or synthesized sounds:

  1. Nine Inch Nails
  2. KMFDM
  3. Combichrist
  4. Björk
  5. The prodigy
  6. Praga Khan
  7. Rammstein
  8. Nitzer Ebb
  9. Hocico
  10. Terminal Choice

and yes…. you can dance even Rammstein’s songs