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 »
This post wraps up my overview of my time at Ableton’s 2015 Loop Conference. The first two days were filled with great talks, inspiring workshops, and genre bending music. The last day promised much of the same, but with a bit more focus on Cycling 74’s multimedia programming environment Max 7 (and Max for Live of course). They took over a boat and hosted workshops and discussions all day. When was the last time you were crammed on a boat with 30 other people watching a virtuosic performance with flashlights? Along with all of the excitement during the day we also got to look forward to being the first people to see Ableton officially announce Push 2, Live 9.5 and Link. Read more »
Continuing the round up from Loop 2015 in Berlin, we will discuss a Saturday that was an absolute goldmine of thoughts and philosophies, with topics covering artistry, technology, and the role of code in our musical practices. Read more »
As some of you may know, the weekend of Oct. 30th this year saw the first (maybe annual) Loop conference sponsored by Ableton. It was billed as a ‘Summit for Music Makers’, and throughout the weekend it definitely lived up to that. I was a little concerned that this weekend would be a little too focused on the software and turn into a giant user group. That was definitely not the case. The event was more about connecting like-minded creatives from all corners of music technology. It was philosophically engaging, technically impressive, and creatively inspiring. 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.
In the last article, I discussed the beginnings of granular synthesis, the basic theory, and some of the applications of this synthesis technique. In this post, we will walk through a basic implementation of granular synthesis that focuses on independent pitch shifting and time stretching of an audio file. You won’t need more than a rudimentary knowledge of Max/MSP to follow along, and most of the techniques we will discuss can be easily ported to other computer music platforms. Read more »
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!
In Emmett’s discussions on simple synthesis, he provided you with a lot of great building blocks for exploring analog synthesis. As my expertise lies more in the digital realm, I thought it might be worthwhile to discuss some synthesis techniques that are more traditionally done digitally. One of the more interesting techniques is called Granular Synthesis. There is a lot to be said bout what it is and how you can use it in your music, so for now I will start with an introduction to this technique. Read more »
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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