Hidden Gems, Sweet Beats

by Michael Mullaney on July 8, 2009

Whether it’s having an inside scoop on where to find the best falafel in town, or seeing a movie on opening night, or being privy to tomorrow’s headlines before they hit the street, everyone appreciates that elated feeling of being in the know.

That’s exactly how I felt after stumbling upon and clicking around the website of Kyle McDonald, a graduate student working towards his M.F.A. in electronic arts. The site is a treasure trove of videos detailing his innovative and imaginative approach toward electronic music, digital art, and the progressive convergence of science, technology, and art.

The site certainly helped me better understand and appreciate the awesome work Kyle and his classmates are doing. Of course I had previously heard chatter about the electronic arts program, but as with any type of art, getting the secondhand story is a far cry from experiencing it yourself and hearing about it straight from the artist. Clicking around Kyle’s site evokes the feeling of being on the front lines of the emerging medium and field of electronic arts – of being in the know.

Kyle has posted dozens of videos, pictures, and explainers about his work, homebrewed gadgets, and tinkering. Here are three videos that stood out to me.

First, making music with Skittles. Notice that the display automatically recognizes the color of the placed candy:

[vimeo clip_id=”3273927″ width=”400″ height=”300″]


Next, making a theremin from a cup of tea and some old headphones:

[vimeo clip_id=”432353″ width=”400″ height=”300″]


Finally, an electronic, telematic (can be played from afar) drum machine that uses real instruments in place of digital, synthetic sounds:

[vimeo clip_id=”2510253″ width=”400″ height=”300″]


For more check out Kyle’s RPI page and the many videoas at his Vimeo page.

{ 1 comment }

Kyle McDonald 07.08.09 at 11:23 am

That drum circle was filmed in the DCC black box, which is at the opposite end of the WRPI (down the hallway).

Also, “Beirut” on River Street has pretty great falafel 🙂

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