September 26, 2012
Enough Formaldehyde To Choke A Horse...
by Chris Randall
After a disheartening false start, which entailed pretty much starting over from bare metal (protip: might want to have some idea of what you're gonna code before you start coding) I have my personal R&D project at a state where I can start playing with it. This is part of a larger schema I have, where I'm determined to prove (to myself, mainly) that we, as musicians, can move past our absolutely ludicrous love of "vintage" technology that most of us have never clapped eyeballs on in real life, and start to grab the future by the ears and shake it about a little bit.
So my study of environments that don't shamelessly ape the traditional recording studio and its inherent limitations has only just begun, and this is very much a work-in-progress that will most likely take years, but the video above is the first footage of some of my ideas in this regard beginning to take shape in usable fashion. The R2 app itself is created in Cinder for portability; currently all the audio stuff is a Max 6 patch, because DSP is most assuredly not my strong suit. I could have conceivably done everything in Pd, then built libPd in to the app, but frankly, I'd rather pull my own fingernails out than deal with that, so here we are.
I think it's probably pretty obvious what's going on in the video. I haven't built the master control section or the FX page yet, but the four loopers are more-or-less in working order. Essentially, they are 1/2/4-measure circular buffers, and you can record a loop and overdub to it at this point, and move the endpoints of the loops arbitrarily. (Although for my own purposes, I've quantized the loop points to 16th notes against the master tempo.)
On the lower half of the screen are 5 control nodes; each one controls a different parameter for X and Y so for, e.g., the filter, X is resonance and Y is frequency. I have a more sophisticated schema in mind, but I wanted to try out the playability of this method first. For the drums, I just instanced Maschine in the Max patch. I'll build a full drum machine that is appropriate to the environment at a later date, but Maschine is working fine for right now.
Anyhow, you get the general idea, I imagine. I have a fairly grand vision for this whole thing, but there's a lot of exploring to do first. Thoughts? Comments? Criticism?