Peter Jackson bought a LB-BGJ, a cabinet which contains a full drum kit, a piano, and accordian, 24 organ pipes, a guitar, a bango and an electric bass. All connected to MIDI, controlled through a touch-screen interface on the front. He bought it ‘as a Christmas present for his wife’. It costs him $99,975.
At its simplest form SonicWireSculptor is a novel 3D drawing tool and a unique musical instrument, but perhaps most important – its just fun to play with. The project started out as a personal instrument for Pitaru to perform on. During concerts, audience members often inquired whether they could experience the tool first hand. This encouraged Pitaru to transform the software into an immersive public installation. The installation included enhancements to the original work, allowing a wider range of users to intuitively interact with the environment. Gallery visitors would enter a dark room with a surround-sound system, a projection and a unique drawing station. Opening nights for these exhibits would often double as performance and workshop events where the audience and Pitaru explore the tool together. Participants would be encouraged to add their work to a steadily growing collection of beautiful and surprising sonic-sculptures. Today, this collection includes work from professional illustrators, poets, 9 year-olds and their parents, musicians of various genres, as well as Pitaru’s own personal compositions (which he considers to be the least interesting in the collection).
The software was designed and optimized to work at 120fps (or better) on a regular household dell and a home-theater 7.1 surround system. It was important to have the system deployable as small koisks as well as fully immersive surround-sound environments. To do so, the software was written in C++, using OpenGL for nVidia/ATI optimization and the FMOD sound library with optimization for the Audigy sound cards. A Pressure/Tilt sensitive Wacom Cintiq driver was written as a preferred input device, although a regular mouse can be used as well. A RF telecommunication API was written for enabling gallery attendant to save audience work with a touch of a button via remote-control. All code was then ported to Mac OSX for flexible deployment.
3D matrix math was written at a low-level to allow the novel interactive experience of the tool. This interaction method has proven efficient in several other applications, including medical imaging and commercial 3D modeling tools.
This is a big step in on-line music sales, one that is much larger than it may seem at first. While before you got the music and nothing but the music, now you get the info as well. The lack of such information has prevented many music fans from downloading jazz and classical music, and others have been disappointed to not be able to find the lyrics for the music they’ve purchased.
MAKE: Blog: Nintendo controllers as musical instruments: “Jeff Hoefs is doing some really amazing hacks and mods with Nintendo controllers. He’s made PowerPad midi keyboards, PowerGlove music controllers and Nintendo Uforce controllers to create music. All at once too! He sent this overview in of what’s what he’s up to, along with some great photos of the mods in action!”
SXSW did something truly groundbreaking for their 2005 conference, when picked on song from each of the hundreds of bands performing at the festival online, and distributed it them with BitTorrent. If you have ever, like me, worked with clearing content from bands for online publishing, you can appreciate the amount of work this must taken!
And what a perfect music feast it is! Hundreds of songs, free and clear as mp3s. Great for us, and great for the bands I’m sure.