It’s a marvelous time to be a musician. You can imagine a musical instrument, a compositional invention, and then realize that idea in short order.

So I was glad to get the chance to emcee an evening of discussion with Reaktor experts, including the folks who built the tool, last month in the software’s hometown Berlin. That discussion ultimately was partly about Reaktor, but partly about the act of instrument building itself – meaning there were insights for anyone interested in working with electronics or software to dream up new musical tools.

And since this comes right on the heels of the release of Reaktor 6, the team behind that update got to talk about their work. I certainly felt like anything but a shill; this is software I really admire. I think interestingly, if you put Reaktor alongside the other titans of DIY musical software – SuperCollider, Max/MSP, Pure Data, and Csound – it’s compelling how each has matured along its own course. The only thing I wish I had was more time.

Some highlights from the event:

Jan Werner of Mouse on Mars talked about the philosophy of building instruments themselves, regardless of the particular platform, and making creations that can even be terrifying (like that screaming death whistle).

We got to see how Blocks work – this is the new, real-time patching system that melds Eurorack-style modules with Reaktor’s sounds and interface (and, you know, never running out of modules or cables or cash). But we also saw how this could be combined with a physical modular system.

Artists Deadbeat, Tim Exile, and Errorsmith talked about their relationship to Reaktor (the latter two also developing tools for Reaktor users).

Nadine showed how to get started with modifying a simple example from the user library – we’ll deal with that separately.

And my favorite moments – Dave did a race-against-the-clock effort with Blocks in Reaktor, below. And Vadim went in depth with filtering. (In fact, I want to work with him to break that down, as he’s just about the best mind on the planet when it comes to filter modeling. Again, it’s not so much Reaktor that this is about as this person’s brain – and it’s nice that his mind touches this software.)


Reaktor 6

Flesh from Tim Exile transforms sounds into performances [Interview]

Reaktor met Eurorack, and you won’t believe what happened next

Here’s a visual tour of what’s new in Reaktor 6