At some point in your life of a computer musician, you’ll be tempted to experiment with making your own tools. Whether that means using MIDI mapping to create a performance template or coding a plugin in C, the options for getting into tool making are quite expansive. For me, this meant repurposing controllers with Max 4 Live to make them do interesting things and help me perform music. Eventually I became interested in trying self made audio processing directly to hardware like the Push, or the SoftStep. While developing the audio portion of these M4L patches, I was confronted with a few problems that weren’t easily solved, nor cleanly developed, using standard Max objects. I eventually started to take the dive into the gen~ environment, which is a visual (and text based) low-level DSP environment. In this article (and others in this series), we’ll take a look at the gen~ environment and the genexpr language thats included in recent versions of Cycling 74’s Max. We’ll create an audio effect, then tie that to a piece of hardware and implement some LED feedback to create a tightly integrated way to interact with our sound. Read more »
Working in technical support for KMI, I am often confronted with requests for functionality from some of our devices that we didn’t include for one reason or another. There’s a variety of tools that you can use for this task, such as Max, Bome’s MIDI translator or Pure Data. All of these software environments can do wonderful creative things with MIDI information, but one of them has a defining characteristic; Pure Data is free, open-source, cross platform software. This means that you can make a solution by yourself, today, for free, that can run on Mac, Windows, Linux and even on a Raspberry Pi. In this article (and maybe more) we’ll look at the basics of manipulating MIDI in Pure Data to give the SoftStep2 four triggers on each pad. Read more »
So we’re back from NAMM 2016 and wanted to give everybody a quick recap of the event. We met with many enthusiastic and inquisitive customers, buyers, artists and media, and shared in all of the great ideas flying around the convention center for those four crazy days. Read more »
Amplitude Modulation is a simple concept that can yield harmonically rich and bizarre timbres not easily achieved via other methods. In this article we’ll expand on the topics introduced in Simple Synthesis – Amplitude Modulation and play around with the concepts behind AM Synthesis. Modulation sources do not need to be low-frequency oscillators or envelope generators.
Blackbyrd McKnight is a celebrated funk jazz guitarist who has played with everyone from The Headhunters to Red Hot Chili Peppers to George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. We caught up with Blackbyrd for a list of 10 albums that really blew his mind, and he hit us back with even more! Check out his picks below!
Matthew Dear: “When tasked to list their 10 favorite albums one asks themselves, ‘Where do I even begin?’ These are the albums I find myself returning to most. Whether I’m at home, on a plane, in a hotel room late at night, or sharing some music with a friend, these are the ones that have rounded out my life in so many ways. As I change, these albums change with me, taking on new shapes and forms in the storybook that is my life.”
In this installment of Simple Synthesis we’ll be looking at a technique that can achieve a wide variety of sonic results, while also having less computational overhead than a lot of more traditional synthesis approaches. Say hello to Wavetable Synthesis! Read more »
Got a Girl is the musical duo of singer (and actress) Mary Elizabeth Winstead and super producer Dan the Automator. Their debut studio album, I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now, was released last year. The album draws heavily from 60s French pop and marries it deftly with Dan’s signature Handsome Boy Modeling School style downtempo beats. The show at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco was a fun and amazingly detailed event and an impressive showing for the band’s second-ever live performance. Read more »
We caught up with synth shop owner Jason Sole to talk about his work with analog synthesizers, the resurgence of their popularity, and the appeal of opening up a physical brick-and-mortar location. Read more »
George Mattson is a pioneer of synthesizer design, the inventor of the Syntar (the first ‘keytar’) and the guy behind Mattson Modular Systems. We caught up with George to talk about his views on the history of synthesis from analog to digital and back, the invention of the Syntar, and the process and inspiration of building custom modular rigs.
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Daniel Mintseris, the keyboardist and programmer who plays in St. Vincent, picks 10 albums that have influenced him as an artist.
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In the previous two articles, we approached looping in Live in two different ways. Both have their advantages, and each offers a distinct workflow. One thing they both lack, however, is some sort of LED feedback so that we can tell what’s going on in Live by looking at our SoftStep. In this article we will look at using the Live API via Max 4 Live to set up LED feedback. Read more »
Juan Alderete de la Peña is a highly in-demand bass player who has lent his talents to everyone from Racer X to Mars Volta and continues to actively explores the highest sonic realms of bass playing. His website pedalsandeffects.com is an amazing resource for effects reviews and pedalboards, and he’s an all-around great guy. We caught up with Juan fresh off the road from 2 years of steady touring with Deltron 3030 to ask him for a list of 10 albums he finds to be particularly important.
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Michael Travis plays keyboards, bass and guitar in the improvised live-looping electronic group EOTO and the drummer of the jam band String Cheese Incident. He caught up with Michael to talk about music, paragliding and the evolving coalescence of the jam and electronic festival scenes. Read more »
In the last article we created a very simple, bare-bones looping setup in Live using Session Mode, Audio Clips, and the SoftStep. In this article we will explore the other built in solution to looping in Live by exploring how to setup a looping template using the Looper device. Read more »