Electronic music is filled with grids and repeating loops. But get off that grid, and you can quickly wind up, well, floating in space. The challenge of marrying music that’s pre-sequenced with music that can generate itself, between self-evolving music and music that you can control live, is the challenge a lot of people are exploring right now. Hans Kuder has been sharing a promising-looking project on the CDM forums, built in the code-sketching tool Processing (site | CDMu | CDMo). The idea: explore nodes live and let your sequences float free on the screen.
tiction – early prototype 1 from Hans Kuder on Vimeo.
tiction is a sequencing / performance application that tries to bridge generative music with live improvisation. With it you can create looping (or one-shot) sequences whose pitch and controller values change based on screen position. When a node fires its event, subtle or not-so-subtle physical interactions take place, giving life to the system.
Tiction v0.1 is now available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux. I’ll be adding updates over the next couple weeks, but most of the useful features are already in place.
This is just a graphical interface; actual sound happens elsewhere, via MIDI. (Hans includes instructions for inter-app MIDI on Mac. On Windows, you should try MIDI-Yoke or Hubi’s MIDI Loopback.)
The video above is slightly older than the release you get, so there’s an extra reason to go grab it.
Free software + code + description/instructions for Mac, Windows, Linux. Version 0.1; expecting more soon!
Before someone else says it, no, the idea here isn’t entirely new. It’s especially reminiscent of the work done by Toshio Iwai, best known recently for his Tenori-On hardware and ElectroPlankton DS software, who had experimented with similar interfaces — though generally minus some of the physics here. But then, we got a lot of mileage out of simple step sequencers, and they’ve evolved a lot. It’ll be interesting to see what new interfaces people can cook up.
Those of you Processing users, one tip. Hans is using the ProMIDI Java library, but there’s a better library evolving called RWMidi from our friends over at Ruin & Wesen, plus a driver that will fix problems with MIDI support and Java on some Macs — check out OSXMidiSPI for OS X (direct download).
Brilliant work, Hans! Readers with feedback, please pipe up since Hans asked for it; otherwise, I’ll be interested to see how this evolves!
One more video:
tiction – early prototype 2 from Hans Kuder on Vimeo.