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?


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Sep.26.2012 @ 3:30 PM
well you can mount the 24" frame right on your existing monitor and just not deal with its less than stellar touch functionality. it is a bit of bread to purchase though if it's just a stepping stone to bigger/better things.

Sep.26.2012 @ 5:19 PM
That UI makes me feel like I'm having an out of body expierence.

Sep.26.2012 @ 5:20 PM

Sep.26.2012 @ 10:59 PM
my friend steve aka Let's Go Outside made a multi touch thing a year or two ago and played live with it for a while. he diy'd the screen i think. i don't know all the details.. that stuff is over my head but he has a blog with lots of info there and videos as well. some of it might be relevant/useful to what's going on here.

lot's of healthy nerding.

link []

link []

Sep.27.2012 @ 12:56 AM
I can imagine there being a huge long term vision of which this demonstrates a small part. But I can also see this as a nearly complete product in its own right, one that I would like to have in my studio.

Either way, you are solving problems that traditional DAWs and samplers don't address very well. Throwing out the old metaphors seems to be paying off.

Sep.27.2012 @ 2:11 AM
Chris Randall
Just this initial exploration has led me to some new ideas. I've been playing around with the system today and I see where I went wrong, and what I need to do differently to make it more fluid.

However, now that I have the Max patch pretty robust, I'm going to spend some time on visual interest. I want to extend the metaphor of "sculpting" the sound more. I was initially using this as my "inspiration:"

link []

But I have already diverged significantly from that tack (his system is basically just a sequencer, while mine is mainly a looper) and it's only down from here.


Sep.27.2012 @ 8:34 AM
You had me at "grab the future by the ears and shake it about a little bit" right up until the rhodes wank-fest ;) Otherwise really feelin' it. Nice work.

ps- Hopefully the obligatory winkey faced emoticon is appropriately conveying my irl wink and smile.

Sep.27.2012 @ 10:04 AM
I wonder if a Leap (link []) would help for larger sizes? Lots of potential there.

Sep.27.2012 @ 12:30 PM
Chris Randall
@meeglosh: I just want to note at this juncture that, of the 36-odd videos I've put on YouTube, there is zero wankery until this one. My aim here was to say "yes, I can wank at a reasonably technical level. I generally choose not to, in deference to good taste."


Sep.27.2012 @ 2:36 PM
The wankery was the highlight of this video for me. Also, the grabbing the future by the ears bit is as inspiring as anything I've seen posted here, which says a lot. Keep it coming.

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