Generative Ambient Event Bots, Free in Ableton + Max for Live

Composing with rules instead of playing notes directly, composer Richard Garrett has built a series of generative, algorithmic, ambient note makers and processors in Ableton Live and the Max for Live add-on. (And yes, user-generated content continues to be a rationale for why many people would purchase Max for Live in addition to Live itself.) With loads of useful controls for duration, start, and voicing – and the ability to feed events into anything you like – the results in your own work could sound very different than what you see hear. But whatever your musical aspirations, you can check …


Max 6 Announced, with New Pricing, Features for Musical Patchers; NYC Event

Cycling ’74 this week has announced an upcoming new version of its Max software, the DIY patching software for multimedia, from live sound and music to visuals. It looks as though more details will be available in the fall, but we at least get a glimpse of the goals for Max 6, as well as a new pricing scheme, and more information is likely at the NYC Expo ’74 conference. Max (and now Max for Live, too) is certainly at the heart of a lot of the projects we talk about here on CDM, so we’ll be watching. Cycling ’74 …


From Granular to Free Hadron Particle Synth; Plug-in, Max for Live, and Csound (Plus, Music!)

If you aren’t quite ready to delve into the mysteries of granular synthesis and code, a colorful interface guides you through playing in Ableton Live. Granular synthesis… you’ve heard it before. Famously articulated by experimental composer Xenakis, the process of slicing up sound into tiny bits and reassembling it has produced everything from lovely (or terrifying) synthesized sonorities to the underlying time stretching algorithms in popular music software. But with all the tools competing for your granular synthesis time (one seems to pop up every few seconds on the prolific Facebook page of sound designer Richard Devine), the Hadron Particle …


In a Free Album, Community-Shared monome Samples Shine (Video and WINE Tips)

From the intrepid grid-playing monome producers comes a whole bundle of goodness: a free album, and along with it, a nice video that illustrates what’s happening on some of the tracks, some reflections on how 15-second samples can bind together a community of music makers, and even, as a bonus, some tips on running Windows software in Linux under WINE. (Whew!) Via Joshua Saddler, who illustrates his music creation techniques in the video at top, we learn of the monome Community Remix Project album, available as a free download via Bandcamp. (Full track lineup embedded below.) MCRPv10: MCRP​-​RP, by monome …


Augmented Reality, Inside Jitter

Hey, Jitter fans: jit.artkmulti is an external for Max/MSP and Jitter that brings the powerful, marker-based augmented reality capabilities of ARToolKit to Max. We’ve seen a lapse in interest in marker-based tracking, I think, with the advent of technologies like Kinect, but it’s still useful for certain applications – and this makes it really easy to play around with if you’re a Jitter maven. This appears to be early in development – see the caveats in “known issues”: Hard coded for 640 x 480 : other dims don’t work, changing dims causes crash. Only one jit.artkmulti object at a time, …


Rainlith: A Robotic, Responsive Rainstick, Powered by Kinect

In a responsive, real-time sculpture, the simple sonic qualities of a rainstick become electronically enhanced. Rainlith, a “kinetic sound art” work by Rui Gato, makes the rainstick itself robotic, its sounds transformed in space in a way that is itself sculptural. Responding to movement in the space using Microsoft’s Kinect, the apparatus is a geektastic brew of just about every tool you could imagine involved in this sort of construction. The artist shares full details, reproduced here in both English and Portugese – and Rui, thanks for sending this in:


You Are the Lazor Music Controller: Kinect + LASERS + Ableton + Max/MSP

Matt Davis [namethemachine] is seen here with Microsoft’s Kinect computer vision / 3D camera controller, plus – stealing the show – lasers. The lasers in question are a rig by Henry Strange, which allows computer control of laser direction using the DMX protocol. (DMX is a protocol similar to MIDI – though actually a bit simpler, if you can believe that – generally associated with lighting and show control.) I could say more, but I’ll let you watch the video and ponder. The ingredients: OpenNI, the “natural interface” not-for-profit standards body and organization that allows drivers across multiple hardware (Kinect …


Free Patching Circles: In SoCal, A Community Gathers Around Multimedia Creation with Pd

Handmade software distribution: homebrewed USB keys store free software. Photo courtesy Theron Trowbridge. Imagine Pd everywhere. Pure Data, a free tool for constructing music and media by creating graphical code, is spotted this week hacked to run on a lowly Nook tablet and interfacing with the powerful Kinect camera system. A community in Los Angeles and Southern California is growing around the idea of the “patching circle,” in which users of various tools (Processing, Max for Live welcome, too) gather to share the process of making, like knitting circles of yore. (Yeah, okay, I made up the term, so you …


Music Patchwork: Ableton Makes Max for Live Cheaper, Showcases Creations by Henke, Hawtin, More

As Max for Live matures, Ableton is working to convince more people to try this open-ended tool – and creations built for it – as a way of extending the experience of using Live for performance and production. For years, music software has focused on trying to do everything you need, to be a solution to problems you haven’t even considered yet. But recently, we’ve seen a move to software that considers customization and extension a core feature – not just the province of the hard-core hacker or DIYer, but something basic to the tool. FL Studio, Renoise, Reaper, Kontakt, …


A Tranquil, Twinkling Set of Synthesized Cycles, Made for arc’s Wheels

We looked at the arc controller, and interviewed creator Brian Crabtree, early this year. In a way, the design is as much conceptual, kinetic sculpture attached to a computer as it is music hardware. It’s not for everyone, but it does inspire some sound designers and composers whose work I love, giving it a secondary advantage – without owning one, I can still see people doing interesting things with it and find musical discoveries in their work. stretta in his latest video turns the controller into synthesized sounds that reference in the title of the piece the Dharma Wheels, the …