Jordan Kolasinski, a grad student in Music Technology at NYU, reports to CDM on the Music Player Live event here in New York over the weekend. Verdict: not so hot, but Jordan did get the scoop on a fantastic piece of software for improvising and creating songs called RiffWorks (shown), currently Windows-only and bundled with hardware but may soon be available a la carte and Mac-compatible. Full scoop on both after the jump. -PK

While still drooling from the cathedral sized display of high-end
audio toys at AES, I was a bit disappointed by the consumer-targeted
Music Player Live! this past weekend. In fact, the most popular
demographic seemed to 13 year old boys who came to play in Peavey room
and see some very impressive performances by Paul Green’s School of
Rock. All of the big digital audio manufacturers had booths – Apple,
Native Instruments, Korg, Line 6, Roland, M-Audio, etc. – but there
were no brand new products on display.

However, the most impressive piece of software I saw yesterday was
Sonoma Wirework’s RiffWorks. It has a brilliantly simple user
interface that allows guitarists (or keyboardists) to jam, improvise,
arrange songs, add drum lines with an incredibly little amount of
clicking or searching for files. In fact, you can actually use the
guitar to start recording (strumming muted strings for 4 counts). In
terms of getting down your raw ideas without much interference from
the computer (I’m looking at you, Ableton Live), this is one of the
best products I’ve seen. Unfortunately it’s currently only for Windows
and bundled with Line 6 hardware, but I was told a hardware-free Mac
version is forthcoming.

The biggest disappointment of the convention was surely the cancellation of BT’s “M-Audio Presents BT Remixes Live.” While images of BT appear on the cover of the brochure, website, and practically
all of the advertising for the event, his session was quietly
cancelled (The website was never changed to reflect his absence). I
actually spoke with the Editor-in-Chief of EQ magazine, who told me
that it had to do with issues arising from his trip back from
Australia. Although he very kindly apologized and consoled me with the
fact that EQ will be running an “unbelievably amazing” December cover
story on BT, I was nevertheless disappointed that such a potentially
amazing seminar didn’t fell through.

Thanks, Jordan — and we’ll keep everybody posted on that excellent RiffWorks software. (Disclosure: I write for Keyboard Magazine, which was involved in the event — but I’m glad to have someone say, frankly and impartially, how the event went. It’s the first time for Music Player Live, so, as always, there are bugs to get out. -PK)