Red Bull Hackathon Call for Submissions

Interested in engineering or programming? Loved your Analog/Digital Electronics courses? Now’s your chance to turn your ideas into a reality! Red Bull is hosting their second “Hack the Hits” event for all of the experimenters among us. If your submission is accepted, you’ll be flown out to the Techshop warehouse in San Francisco to develop your prototype. With renowned mentors such as Moldover & Ean Golden, you’ll have two days to wow the judges, among them hip-hop innovators The Cool Kids and OWSLA co-owner Blaise James. Open only to students, this is an incredible opportunity for the talented tinkerers in our department! For more information on how to apply, visit the Hack The Hits website.

Student Spotlight: Ben Lidsky

Ben Lidsky

As students get back into the swing of things this semester, we’ve been excited to learn about everything that they’ve been up to this summer! Music Technology Junior Ben Lidsky came back with stories of a mysterious internship that landed him in studio sessions with rappers such as Chief Keef, Fredo Santana, D Double E and more. We sat down with Ben to find out exactly how he ended up working with some of the top artists on Interscope Records.

Max Lord’s Secret Studio

Growing up in Denver, Ben met local dubstep promoter Max Lord, who would later join hip-hop supergroup 808 Mafia with TM88 and Southside. After a few years of sending Lord instrumentals, Lidsky got a late night phone call at the beginning of the summer asking him to come to Los Angeles and work as Lord’s assistant at his secret home studio.

Once Ben arrived, circumstances had changed and Max Lord was travelling to Atlanta to set up a new studio. Ben was told to “hold things down” in LA, and on his first day he had his first of what would lead to many encounters with Chief Keef and Fredo Santana. With nobody else around, he quickly acquainted himself with the boards and recorded “Snatch His Chain,” which is now available on Fredo Santana’s “Fredo Kruger 2” mixtape. Throughout the rest of the summer, Ben recalls “waking up at Max’s house and seeing 2 Rolls Royce roll up,” knowing that another client was looking for a last minute, low-key studio session.

This semester, Ben is studying at NYU Prague and has connected with some members of the Czech rap community. We’re all eager to see what he does next! In the meantime, check out some of his work with Walt Grizzly and B Sneaks below.

Remembering Don Buchla

This time last year, we mourned the loss of iconic music technologist Don Buchla. Today, we remember his legacy, from work with NASA, in audiology, and of course his various synthesizers, championed by legendary composers such as Morton Subotnick as well as modern experimenters like Floating Points.

Described by Suzanne Ciani as a “Renaissance Man,” his vast body of 

work truly captures the ethos of our department, wherein musicians and engineers can learn side by side. Here in New York, we boast a Buchla 200 model in our Studio A synthesizer collection. 

Known for its rich sound and unconventional controls, it’s to this instrument that we owe such albums as Subotnick’s “Silver Apples of the Moon,” and Jonathan Fitoussi & Clemens Hourrièreas’ “Five Steps, ”

not to mention countless student compositions. Students studying in Paris through our partnership with IRCAM, with whom Buchla was a consultant and guest researcher, might get a look at the facility’s Buchla 300 model. Explore the above links for your weekend listening pleasure, and long live Buchla!

 

 

SWiTCH September Meeting

As we enter week 2, SWiTCH (Society of Women in Technology) is hosting their first meeting of the semester! Students are invited to join in Steinhardt’s 6th Floor Conference Room at noon to meet some of the amazing women from inside and outside of our department as they discuss AES presence and upcoming MARL events.

 

Gear Spotlight: LEAP Motion Controller & GECO

LEAP Motion is an American company determined to create a more fluid interaction between users and their computers. Launched in 2012, the company has launched a few iterations of their ultracompact sensors, and we’ve got a few of them here in the Music Tech program!

The LEAP Motion sensor has two cameras and three infrared LEDs packed into its tiny body to track user movement with extreme precision. The signal is sent at roughly 200 frames per second, creating essentially no latency, making it an obvious candidate for music software development. The sensors even respond down to changes of 0.7 millimeters, offering more precision than the standard MIDI controller.

LEAP Motion has been quite open with developers and there’s already a strong selection of software for what’s still a relatively new product. The Airspace app store has these various programs available for purchase, including GECO, a MIDI translator for the LEAP Motion signal. Using the GECO software, users can control up to 40 different parameters in their DAW using both hands, across 16 different midi channels. You might think of this controller as a fully programmable theremin.

The software allows you to customize the range of the MIDI signal. For instance, you might not want the software to start responding until your hand is a foot above the sensor, and you may want it to stop responding after two feet. All of this is possible to specify within GECO, which will even recognize a closed hand versus an open one, and various other positions. The only qualm one might take with this flexibility is the same as we’ve mentioned on this blog in the past—so many options can become daunting for setup. However, once you’ve got all of your gestures assigned, the possibilities for expression and showmanship using the LEAP Motion controller are really exciting. Check out some videos of the controller with Ableton below!

Useful Links:

LEAP Motion Max For Live

GECO Review

Point Blank GECO/Ableton Demo

Theremin Style Woodwind Performance

Steinhardt in College Magazine’s Top 10 Schools for Music Technology

After winding down another semester and a great year in the program, we’re elated to have been included in College Magazine’s top 10 schools for music technology! It’s great to see the incredible internship work of our currents students and the accolades of our alumni being recognized in the top five schools on this list. However, it’s not going to our heads, and 2017 promises to be another exciting year in our program!

Thesis Presentations Continued

The senior thesis presentations continue today, going live at 1’oclock! Once again the stream will be accessible from our Youtube page. The afternoon is filled with fascinating topics on how we interact with audio, and you can get more details on each specific presentation on the presentation schedule here.

Thesis Presentations & Defenses Live Stream

As we head into the last week of finals, the Music Tech thesis candidates are preparing for their presentations next week. We’ll be streaming the defenses  in full 360 video! You can also watch via VR devices. The presentations will be taking place on Monday and Wednesday, covering a variety of topics from film audio, phonograph recordings, and binaural space. (Hint: keep your headphones handy for binaural audio presentations!) Plan your viewing with the full schedule here.

The stream will be active from our YouTube site during the scheduled presentation times.

MARL Talk: Jacoti Lola: A low-latency Wi-Fi-based Audio System

Tomorrow, 12/15, composer & producer Richard Einhorn will be joining MARL to talk about Jacoti Lola, a low-latency Wi-Fi-based Audio System. The lecture will take place at 1 PM in Steinhardt’s 6th floor conference room (609).

Jacoti Lola is an assistive listening solution for classrooms, meeting rooms, and lecture halls that provides low-latency multi-peer audio streaming over consumer-grade Wi-Fi. Because audio problems like echo, reverb, and noise are very common in classrooms, meeting rooms, and big conference rooms, even people with no hearing loss can have considerable difficulty understanding speech. Jacoti Lola Classroom wirelessly transmits high-quality audio from speaker to listener which can help all listeners hear better.

Richard Einhorn is a composer, music producer, and hearing loss advocate. A summa cum laude graduate of Columbia University in music, Richard’s oratorio with silent film, Voices of Light, has been called a “great masterpiece of modern music” and been performed by the National Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, and at such venues as the BAM Next Wave Festival, Disney Hall, David Geffen Hall, the National Cathedral of Washington, and the Sydney Opera House. Active as a record producer, Richard produced the Grammy-winning Bach Suites with Yo-Yo Ma and many other recordings by well-known artists. After losing much of his hearing overnight to a virus in 2010, Richard has continued to compose but has also become well-known internationally as a passionate advocate for better hearing technology. He has spoken to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the National Academy of Sciences, and is on the Board of Trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America.

 

Mirrors of Time, Moments in Time

Last weekend, Music Tech professor Tom Beyer worked with students to create a long distance collaboration. Students performed at Steinhardt’s Loewe theater as students at Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina streamed a concurrent performance via webcam. These performances have been pushing life performance and streaming technology since the mid-nineties. In the early years, rather than a simultaneous performance, Steinhardt would fax notes back and forth between collaborating schools. Today, the performances use several HD camera and 8 channels of streaming audio, to preserve the independence of each signal.. Performers learn to compensate with the latency of the signal to create an entirely live, cross-continental performance. It’s worth mentioning that these themes of latency and audio streaming will be discussed in Richard Einhorn’s MARL talk this Thursday, 12/15.

Due to the nature of the performance, sending audio from once place to another, and then back to the source, feedback is a major concern. The video and audio for last Sunday’s performance required a full day of setup, where the crew had to get particularly creative with the microphone placement to ensure that no unpleasant feedback occurred. Despite the complexities of the signal path, all of the performances of the afternoon sounded great. Check out the photos!