Percussa micro super signal processor

Photo: Jordan Harris. Used on CDM by permission.

Yes, for the record, that is a young woman screaming to the sounds of AudioMulch. Believe.

Jordan Harris was able to snag some screenshots of Girl Talk’s rig. There’s not much to tell: a laptop, a mouse, and in a sign of the growing stature of Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis), some very practical plastic wrap to protect the machine. What’s unique about Gregg’s work is that this computer doesn’t clear out the room: it attracts screaming throngs of fans. Especially lady fans, proof that this does not have to be a sport for boys. (As it happens, I find they also like watching American NFL football. Poor girls; everyone is convinced they know what they want but don’t ask.)

Every music tool is supposed to have celebrity users, right? Well, AudioMulch definitely can claim Girl Talk. This $89, currently Windows-only tool (yes, Vista-compatible) has long had an underground following. It’s a real-time modular synthesis, composition, and performance tool, which you might suppose would put it in the same category as the likes of Reaktor and Max/MSP. Unlike those tools, though, its modules are laser-focused on certain sonic capabilities. There are ready-made objects for live performance control, and unique, handy tools for setting up envelopes and sequences. It’s got fantastic pre-built effects like a delay line granulator and live looper. And because AudioMulch is also a VST host, it could be your one and only environment.

AudioMulch is the software equivalent of that deceptively cute little rally car that blows more impressive-looking cars off the road.

Version 2.0 is due early next year with new features and Mac compatibility.

GearWire did a fantastic video tutorial series on AudioMulch last year.

PCs are computers that look ugly and don’t have slick ads with popular songs playing in the background. People believe they’re not used for music, but they are, often by musicians who actually play stuff life (yes, even with a mouse as a controller) rather than playing backing tracks from inside space-alien props.

Plastic wrap, according to Wikipedia,“is a thin plastic film typically used for sealing food items in containers to keep them fresh.” Going by the popular brand name Saran, the 1953 invention was not originally designed to protect computers from beer. But if you play music that people like to dance to and you typically see beer bottles around (note the unprotected shot below), it may be an important music technology accessory. Update: According to an interview, the Saran Wrap is there to protect Gregg’s laptop from .. Gregg? So, either he’s lying about the sweaty hands to sound extra awesome, or he really does have some sweat issues. I can’t say I’ve ever worried about my hands the way I’ve worried about beer. (And I tend not to have those screaming, drunken fans, even.) Hot venues? Hot laptop, powered up to full crunching audio signal? Gregg, if you’re out there, inquiring minds…

Two more photos of AudioMulch after the jump…

People who are not, as we are, fans of computer music might wonder why this chap in the tie has picked this particular spot to look for wi-fi access. Photo (CC) Tom Purves [website].

Photo: Jordan Harris. Used on CDM by permission.

Updated: more details from Jordan:

He did have one more spare latop on the table next to him, although it stayed closed the entire show.  No idea if it was the Toshiba in the other pics.  Also, the laptop in pics is a toughbook I believe.  The show was at the abercrombie holiday party at the lifestyles community pavilion here in columbus.  This is a pretty large venue with an indoor capacity of 2200.  The guy tore the place up with just a laptop and sheer force of character.  I believe there are a few videos and some pictures posted here: http://thegrip.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/girl-talk-abercrombie-fitch-2008-holiday-party-at-promowest-pavilion-in-columbus-ohio/#more-3776

There are some good shots there showing just the size of the crowd who came out to see this guy use his laptop on a cheap folding plastic table.  This was a private invite only party, but his show at the Newport Music Hall in January is already sold out. 

Live in San Francisco. Photo (CC) Matthew Hickey. Now, did this Toshiba laptop (as opposed to what I think is a Dell in the shots above) die an untimely, beer-induced death, prompting the adoption of Saran Wrap technology? Something to consider. Update: Apparently, sweaty hands were the culprit. Perhaps this is from a cool-handed evening.