Pixelsynth lets you turn your face into a song

Pixelsynth is a new web app from coder Olivia Jack that allows anyone to compose songs simply by drawing or uploading pictures. It’s available for free over on her Github, and it works by setting music to images in a method similar to a commonly used scientific and musical tool called a spectrogram. Like how sheet music is a language for representing different pitches of notes, spectrograms are visual representations of the spectrum of frequencies that make up a sound. Every song has a spectrogram that can be derived from it, and conversely, any image can be plugged into a spectrogram…


Grimes’ luscious pop music is now an interactive installation

Experimental pop musician Claire “Grimes” Boucher is a one-lady machine. Not only does the pop songstress compose and write all her own music, she also directs her own music videos and has a steady hand in producing. The fully-realized vision of Grimes is wholly Boucher’s own. Grimes is Grimes, because of Grimes. It only makes sense that the next logical step in the world of Grimes is a step beyond the musical sphere—an interactive art installation. Knowing Grimes’ music, it’ll be something wonderfully weird Grimes will be headlining the North Carolina music, art, and technology festival Moogfest, which will be…


Where Did The Fun Street Fighter Music Go?

My anticipation for the recently released Street Fighter V probably came from a different place than most people. I’ve only ever really followed the series as an observer who watches tournament matches, and as a listener of the games’ soundtracks. For me, then, Street Fighter V’s release held two possibilities: new tournament material after eight years of Street Fighter IV (2008) and its iterations, and new music. Whatever you think of the mechanical changes and viability of certain characters, Street Fighter V is sure to offer a lot of the former for passive appreciators like myself. As far as the…


The first eerie footage of Lioness beams in from another dimension

Zak Ayles isn’t budging. Sure, he’s released the first footage of his upcoming game Lioness at last, but it’s warped and degraded to the point that you have to squint your eyes and rewind it a few times to make any sense of it. In fact, it seems as if Ayles has transmitted the footage to a CRT monitor or, if not that, made an effort to replicate the look of one so that it judders, the scanlines tumbling about, the colors probably much more psychedelic than they actually are. As you can see below, the video is titled “retrograde”…


Halo composer is making a “musical prequel” to his next big game

“It needs to be ancient, epic, and mysterious.” These were Marty O’Donnell’s only instructions from Joseph Staten, who’d asked him to write the music that would accompany Halo’s (2001) unveiling at Macworld four days later on July 21, 1999. The melody that resulted from Staten’s minimalist direction, and O’Donnell’s clever use of Gregorian chant, has since become synonymous with the Halo franchise. Rolling Stone named the score for Halo: Combat Evolved the Best Original Soundtrack of 2001. Then, in May 2005, BusinessWeek reported that the first volume of the soundtrack for its sequel, Halo 2 (2004), had sold upwards of 90,000 copies and landed at number 162 on the…


Idolm@ster and the mechanics of depression

I don’t know precisely when it was I realized that I suffered from depression, but it certainly wasn’t from playing a videogame. Maybe it was from watching a red-haired, mecha-piloting girl mentally tear herself apart under the weight of her own expectations, and feeling a similar sense of despair in my own weighty ambitions that I failed. Maybe it was from re-reading the same fantasy novels about a particular boy wizard over and over again, feeling that the only escape I ever had from reality was in those books. Maybe it was from listening to early 2000s emo bands that…

The Life of Pablo

Kanye West is patching his latest album like a videogame

“Ima fix wolves,” tweeted Kanye West some four weeks ago in reference to a track that he was seemingly unsatisfied with from his most recent album, The Life of Pablo. Last week, in the second update Kanye made to The Life of Pablo (streaming exclusively on Tidal), he finally subbed in a new version of “Wolves,” now featuring more pronounced contributions from Sia and Vic Mensa. And this may not be the last update we see for The Life of Pablo either. Kanye has stated that he sees the album as “living breathing changing creative expression #contemporaryart,” implying that it may never technically…

Amnesia Scanner Chingy

New music video looks like a broken videogame

The new music video from Berlin-based duo Amnesia Scanner dropped recently and, boy, does it deliver. For the past few years, Amnesia Scanner has been producing some of the most exquisite sonic ruminations on our descent into digital assimilation. The track in question, “Chingy”, is no different as a digital voice bleeds over trance synths, drowning among the kicks and snare. It’s an abrasive, disorientating, and totally potent attack on our senses. The accompanying video, created by digital artist Sam Rolfes, reinforces and furthers the aesthetic considerations of Amnesia Scanner, pushing it almost to the point of gravitational collapse. Rolfes…

Angel Island

DJ transforms Sonic The Hedgehog sounds into house music

In a new interview with FACT, producer Tony Donson says, “I feel that maybe I’m the only producer within the contemporary music platform that’s using that sound chip.” He’s speaking of the Yamaha YM2612, the chip found in the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive) from back in the early ’90s, and so when it is used, it’s typically to create fan versions of songs with the Genesis sound or to remix classic Sega songs. Donson’s claim is heavily disputed within the larger chiptune community, who point to thousands of other artists making similar use of the chip, many preceding him. For…