GLOBALE, a festival on contemporary musical instruments and interfaces, took place 5–7 February 2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany, hosted by Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM). The festival included five concerts and three sessions of research presentations, whose stated goal was the critical examination of contemporary musical instruments and the reciprocal influence of music and technology. GLOBALE was part of the ongoing Design, Development, and Dissemination of New Musical Instruments (3DMIN) project, a joint research initiative between Technical University of Berlin and Berlin University of the Arts in Germany.
The event’s research symposium covered improvisational strategies appropriate to the digital performer, the use of the human body as a musical instrument, using interference of WiFi signals to detect bodily presence and movement, and other topics. The concert series included a range of works for new instrument designs and practices. Artist and instrument-builder Peter Blasser performed several pieces for a drum machine and an organ, both of his own creation; and Dominik Hildebrand Marques Lopes, Amelie Hinrichsen, and Till Bovermann’s PushPull/WaveSetter was performed using the composers’ unique Push-Pull accordion-like instrument. In Atau Tanaka’s Myogram, four sensors affixed to the composer’s forearms translated muscle and nerve activity into sound in real time. One concert featured live-coding ensemble Benoît and the Mandelbrots, who developed, executed, and evolved the software for their full-length audiovisual performance in real time. GLOBALE’s final concert, organized in conjunction with the 4DSOUND spatial sound group, showcased immersive sonic works for 16 omnidirectional loudspeaker columns, composed by 15 artists throughout the three days of the festival.
The 18th International Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFx) was held 30 November–3 December 2015 in Trondheim, Norway, encompassing four days of research presentations, tutorials, and a concert. DAFx 2015 was co-hosted by the Department of Electronics and Telecommunications and the Department of Music’s Music Technology group at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and included keynote presentations by Marije Baalman, Kurt Werner and Julius Smith, and Franz Zotter. The first day of the conference included tutorials by Peter Svensson on sound field modeling for virtual acoustics, by Øyvind Brandtsegg and Trond Engum on cross-adaptive audio effects and their real-time use for creative purposes, and by Xavier Serra on the Audio Commons Initiative, an effort to promote and facilitate the use of freely distributable audio content in the creative industries.
The conference’s oral presentations were organized by subject matter, including virtual analog synthesis, sound synthesis, audio analysis, physical modeling, spatial audio, audio coding, speech applications, and audio effects. Among the research efforts presented were a new model of nonlinearities in bowed string synthesis, a harmonizer effect using short-time time-reversal, a study of distance perception of multi-channel auralizations in reverberant spaces, and a model for identifying non-linear distortion effects pedals. The conference organizers awarded the best paper prize to Roman Gebhardt, Matthew Davies, and Bernhard Seeber for their paper “Harmonic Mixing Based on Roughness and Pitch Commonality.” The poster sessions included work on estimating the amount of rhythmic swing in a musical recording, a new method for determining the optimal pitch shift for harmonic mixing of two audio recordings, and GPU-based acoustic simulation, among others.
The 22nd annual MusicAcoustica-Beijing electroacoustic music festival was held 26–31 October 2015. Hosted by the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China, the festival consisted of an extensive series of talks related to contemporary and historical electroacoustic music and concerts of both new and historical works. Its theme was “Akousma,” focusing on the history and concepts of acousmatic music and its relationship to electroacoustic and computer music as a whole. One concert focused on recent works by composer Daniel Teruggi; the composer also gave a series of talks on the history of the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA-GRM), on composing for electronics and instruments, and on acousmatic music. Another concert presented works by a variety of composers associated with GRM...