Awesome music tools and toys: the best of Sónar+D 2013
Barcelona, mid June.
Besides all the massive parties going on around, there is something here in particular that attracts the attention of literally thousands of individuals interested in new media art and electronic music. This year, over 40 thousand people attended Sónar+D with 13 conferences and workshops, 216 meetings between experts, a 24-hour hacking marathon, countless presentations, installations and demonstrations of any sorts of imaginable music related technology, truly a heaven for the controllerism minded.
I will mention a few of my personal favorite projects below, but you can find the complete list of activities here.
The biggest thing undoubtedly was the Music Hack Day, where 100 hackers worked for 24 hours on the most insane projects, from brainwave controlled drum set triggered by servo motors to suggested tacks engine based on emotional content of the song. The above video is from last year, but gives a basic idea of what’s going on.
Another spectacular performance by beatbox mastermind Beardyman and his Beardytron_5000 mkII Sci-Fi performance setup, packed with controllers, tablets and effects that let him improvise songs for his sets. Also worth mentioning is Chris Carlson’s performance on his granular synthesis app Borderlands.
From a more hands-on perspective, some new projects were also presented. One of them was MID‘s open source RGB grid controller Bhoreal (mentioned in a previous article). Conductr is a new modular Ableton Live iPad controller with features like intelligent motion capture and automated mapping. Also interesting was the Polymetros project, a collaborative music system based on several modified Launchpads that enables a group of people to play, improvise and compose music together on the fly. A video finger drumming app Cam Box. And last but not least, Elektrons latest powerful instruments, Octatrack eight-track sampler and the Analog Four synthesizer.
These are just a mere fraction of the projects and installations that were present but they can hopefully give a good overview.