Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Here are some experiments in VR that I made after watching the Doctor Strange movie.

Visuals created using Unity, sounds created using Ableton Live.

Making a VR thing...

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#drstrange #magick #alchemy

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#triangle #square #pentagon #hexagon #octagon #shapes #spells #alchemy

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All together now

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Random spell shape generator

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On Friday the 26th of June 2015, a collaborative VR artwork between Vaughan O’Connor and myself was exhibited at the MCA. The 2 artworks, a holographic print and a Virtual Reality (VR) experience were both based on 3D scans of quartzite rocks from Oberon, NSW.

The artworks were on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) ARTBAR – Futures, curated by Dara Gill. Facebook event link here.

I created the VR component of the artwork based on the scans that Vaughan supplied.

Inspiration

Inspiration came from lyrics to a song by Covenant called Bullet.

“As the water grinds the stone,
we rise and fall.
As our ashes turn to dust,
we shine like stars.”

Idea

The idea behind the artwork is that it is a place outside of time. Here, concepts such as gravity, space and time do not behave as you would expect. Tempus Incognito. The events that occur here, in the event horizon, cannot affect an outside observer. The 4 classical elements, fire, air, water and earth are present in this place, reflecting the essential building blocks for all things. Even though we are outside of time, matter still exists albeit in a rather astonishing manner.

Technology

The Quartzite VR artwork was created using Unity (a game engine) and experienced via the Oculus Rift DK2 (a virtual reality headset). The ambient soundscape was composed in Ableton Live and is binaural.

Photos
MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 01MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 11MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 02MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 03MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 04MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 06MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 05MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 07MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 08MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 09MCA ARTBAR 'Futures' 10

Some photos by @mightandwonder

Diggin this VR installation by @benxtan for #mcaartbar @mca_australia_now #vr #art #oculus

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Observations

A few interesting things that happened on the night:

  • one of the computers decided to misbehave (no audio, no projector)
  • someone decided to walk about 2 metres away from the desk. The Oculus is plugged into a computer!
  • 2 people decided to look under the desk
  • a lot of people stood up to experience the artwork rather than sit down in the seats provided
  • People were amazed at the Oculus Rift
  • People found the experience soothing, calming and meditative.
  • Some people wanted to stay in side the artwork forever!
  • People asked a lot of questions about the technical aspects of the artwork
More

Futures also featured performances, lectures and music by: Vaughan O’Connor & Ben X TanMichaela GleaveJosh Harle, 110%, Mark Brown, Eddie Sharp & Mark Pesce, Andrew Frost, Claire Finneran & Alex Kiers, Kate MacDonald, Sitting & Smiling, Baden Pailthorpe, Hubert Clarke Jr, Polish Club and Ryan Saez.

Heres a game I made for the Oculus Rift with my colleagues at DAN.

http://thehungergame.com.au/

“I believe that there are many ways to be creative within the tools that we use.
Even though the tools are the same, there are still many possible outcomes.
The creativity comes from within.
The individual absorbs and consume the world around them, and their sub conscious processes all this.
The sounds you hear in your head.
The things you see with you eyes.
The emotions you feel with your heart.
All that combined with the technical knowledge of music and how to use your instruments, your software, your hardware etc.
Sometimes you have to detach yourself from the world too. Get away from the mainstream.
Sometimes you get caught in the flow and it grabs you and you can’t get away.
Go for a holiday. Live in another country. Listen to music that is nothing like what you normally listen to.
Same as before. Combine existing elements to make something new.
That is the essence of creativity.”

This is the email as is. Stream of consciousness with no editing.

Here are 2 musical works in progress. One from last week and one from today.

DOWNLOAD: (2012-08Aug-18) Hard Reset

This one has a bit of a new wave and synthpop kinda feel to it. Have some lyrics for it, but will wait until I’ve finished the whole song before sharing that on the Interweb.

DOWNLOAD: (2012-08Aug-26) Soft Reset

This ones some kinda blues/jazzy piece. Was playing an iPhone game made by a friend called Pong Beats (http://www.pongbeats.com/) and remembered how much I love the sound of acoustic piano, so decided to pull put my M-Audio Axiom 25 and connect it to Ableton Live and make some music

Image

I haven’t used it in a long time…and for some reason, the C# and G keys on both octaves don’t work anymore! After doing some googling, sounds like its a common problem. Someone’s solution was to turn it upside down and slap it. I tried it but it didn’t work. Well, I managed to make some music even without those 2 notes (4 keys all up), and I added a task to my TODO list to figure out whats wrong some other day. Hopefully its not a hardware problem!

Instead of making a stop motion video of my giant Lego man (you can see him in the video below) like I was planning to do, I ended up playing with Processing again. Basically I didn’t really have the right space to setup my stop motion, and I really needed to have a green screen to do what I wanted to do. But its all good, no time wasted as I was very productive anyway!

Firstly, heres the video of my creation today:

Now an explanation…

In summary, I am waving my hand around in the air like an idiot and it is controlling the music coming from my computer. The hardware and software components that are at play here are Microsoft Kinect -> Processing -> Ableton Live and Novation Launchpad. I had a chat to my friend DJ Gustavo Bravetti and he had some good tips for me on how to setup Ableton clips to make the transitions smoother and sound more musical. When I have time, I’ll set up a whole song and give a better performance!

A bit more detail…

Basically, the Kinect is sending the location of my hand to Processing which is in turn sending MIDI note on messages to both Ableton Live and the Novation Launchpad. In this version, I have separated the grid into 4 quadrants, each on playing a different MIDI note that is going into 2 channels in live. The first channel has an arpeggiator triggering an Impulse drum kit, and the second channel has an arpeggiated synth. The lights on the Launchpad are also set to light up each of the quadrants as they are triggered.

For those wanting to delve into the code, its not highly commented, but you should be able to get the idea of what I’m doing. Any issues, just leave a message here or send me an email on benxtan [at] gmail [dot] com.

Processing source code and Live set are available here (UPDATED):

http://benxtan.com/kmidic/kmidic_processing_v0.2.zip

http://benxtan.com/kmidic/kmidic_processing_v0.1.zip

You will need to install Processing, and the rwmidi and libfreenect libraries in the libraries folder of your Processing sketches.

Here are some links if you are after more information.

Software Links:
http://www.ableton.com/
http://processing.org/
http://ruinwesen.com/support-files/rwmidi-0.1c.zip
http://ruinwesen.com/support-files/rwmidi/documentation/RWMidi.html
https://github.com/shiffman/libfreenect/tree/master/wrappers/java/processing

Hardware Links:
http://www.xbox.com/kinect
http://www.novationmusic.com/products/midi_controller/launchpad

Once again, if you are a musician or music business in Australia, its free to sign up to http://rockstarhookups.com.au so go do it! I’m giving you free stuff, so help me out here ok? 🙂