Posts Tagged ‘harmonix’

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Best of 2010: debcha’s tops in [Boston music] tech

December 23, 2010

 

Cross-posted from Boston’s best local music blog, Boston Band Crush.

 

Boston is a music town. And Boston is a tech town. So it’s hardly surprising that Boston and Camberville produce an enormous amount of interesting stuff at the intersection of music and technology. Here are five of my favorite examples from this year:

1. Mashup Breakdown

Benjamin Rahn, of Cambridge, created an addictive site that visualizes the use of samples in songs, and launched it with (of course) Girl Talk’s new album, All Day. As you play tracks from the album, each of the samples used is highlighted and identified. The best part? It’s an ongoing project. So if there’s a song that you’ve always been curious about, go to the site and find out how you can participate.

2. The Swinger

It’s been a great year for Somerville’s The Echo Nest, a music intelligence company. They closed on a major round of funding, and provided the brainpower behind a host of great projects, like MTV’s phenomenal Music Meter site (yes, I know you’re thinking “MTV? Doing something worthwhile with music. Really?” Yes, really. Check it out.) And they had a viral hit on their hands with The Swinger, a bit of computer code that can make any song swing by automagically time-stretching the first half of each beat and shortening the second. Check out some examples here.

3. The Toscanini Gestural Interface

Boston hackers Lindsey Mysse and Robby Grodin showed off the Toscanini Gestural Interface (named after the conductor, not the ice cream) at the most recent Boston Music Hack Day. It’s a watch that turns movement into music (via Max/MSP commands). See it in action in the video here.

4. Dance Central and Rock Band 3

Across from the Middle East, an unremarkable office building houses the giant of music games, Harmonix. While they face an uncertain future, they released not one, but two incredible games this year. You’re probably already spending your evenings rocking out or getting down in your living room.

5. Another Green World (33 1/3 Books)

What possible relationship can a book about a 35-year-old Brian Eno album have with the Boston music/tech scene? Geeta Dayal, a Boston-based arts critic and MIT grad, wrote a short but brilliant book that investigates Eno’s 1975 album, which is deeply rooted in technology and technical concepts, especially in the field of cybernetics (defined and named by MIT professor Norbert Weiner in 1948). Even if you’re not a techie, it’s worth a read for how it illuminates one artist’s creative process.

 

 

Deb Chachra (debcha) writes zed equals zee, a Cambridge-based blog about music and technology, and curates the associated Tumblr. You can catch up with her at shows around the city, or you can just follow her on Twitter.
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LEGO Rock Band!

April 22, 2009

lego-rock-band

LEGO Rock Band! Warner Interactive announced today that they were teaming with LEGO, game developers Harmonix and TT Games, and MTV Games to create a LEGO version of Rock Band. It’s intended to be more younger-kid-friendly than the original, with songs like “Kung Fu Fighting” and Blur’s “Song 2.” And, of course, you also get to customize your minifig avatars, as well as those of your “band and entourage, including roadie, manager, and crew.” (“Mommy, what’s a groupie?”)

The game is scheduled for release in time for the 2009 holidays. You can check out the press release for more info.

MP3: The White Stripes – Fell in Love With a Girl [check out the video]

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Videogames and the music industry

November 18, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can't see it, click here]

Nice guest post in the Freakonomics blog by gaming maestro David Edery about the positive impact of music-based video games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band on the music industry. He does have something of a vested interest, since he works for Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade, but he does provide some compelling bits of data: for example, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith earned the band more money than any of their individual albums. Edery’s posting focuses on major-label artists, but of course, where this really gets interesting is as a path out of obscurity for lesser-known bands (such as Freezepop, as in the video above, and Bang Camaro, both of whom have songs on Rock Band).

Read the full essay: “Can Guitar Hero Help Save the Music Industry?”

MP3: Bang Camaro – Pleasure (Pleasure)

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Restoring the balance

May 30, 2008

So it occurred to me, re-reading the last post, that it was awfully scholarly in tone (my day job is leaking through). To compensate, I present this:

ICHC

OMG kittehs!!!!1!!!1 OMG Guitar Hero!!!!1!!!! [thanks, ICHC!]

We now return you to your regularly scheduled zed equals zee programming.

Previously: Play local: Harmonix

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Play local: Harmonix

January 20, 2008

xkcd.com

An excellent xkcd.com shoutout to Cambridge, MA game developers Harmonix, creators of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Scroll down to the ‘bonus songs’ in Rock Band to see songs by Harmonix employee ‘side projects,’ local bands like Bang Camaro and Freezepop.

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