Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
April 12, 2008

Soniccouture Scriptorium mini-review...

by Chris Randall

Just installed my shiny new copy of Scriptorium, the latest from our good friends Soniccouture. Scriptorium is actually more a collection of KSP scripts for Kontakt 2/3 rather than a big fat sample set, but there are sounds in the package, 60 of 'em. I assume the main purpose is to show off the obvious uses for the individual scripts, but they're quite usable in their own right. I haven't had a chance to do anything but take a quick browse through the included instruments, so I can't really speak to the usefulness of the scripts yet.

Perhaps this mini-review is a bit premature, in that event. So, let's just consider this a notice that it exists, and once I get my head around what some of these little guys do, I'll report back. Just in a brief browse, though, there are some very cool drumming utilities, and the cellular automata patches are absolutely ludicrous. Scriptorium is ?49.00, which unfortunately translates to US$99.00. This is the point in time where European companies are going to start paying the price for the declining dollar, I hate to say. Or American consumers, one or the other. But TANSTAAFL. In any event, on an initial examination, this appears to me to be well worth the money. I mean, hell, people paid twice that for that ridiculous Oberheim arpeggio thing, and this is hundreds of times more powerful.

April 11, 2008

Oh, my...

by Chris Randall

If anyone ever questioned my Industrial Credentials, I submit exhibit A. Trees, Dallas, 1991. If there's anything more industrial than singing in German with KMFDM, well, I can't come up with it. I suppose I could have been using a grinder on a piece of rusty metal or banging on a pickle barrel, but that's about it.

No real reason for this, except to show that I, too, was ridiculous and far too earnest for my own good at one time. So don't feel bad, little emo kid. And to answer the obvious burning question, yes, En Esch is just as freaky in private. This is, as far as I'm aware, the oldest existing video of me on stage in any form. I know that the first SMG show was video taped, and god help me if that turns up. That would have taken place about a year and a half before this. (Thanks to TOKYO DEATH PLANE for bringing this to my attention.)

In other completely unrelated but somehow still as self-aggrandizing news, I have a track in the Daniel Hansson benefit comp, called "Minimist." Note this is not exclusive to the comp, but is on my Callisto album recently released. The comp also contains tracks from a whole mess of other people, but the one most news sources will mention is Autechre, so I'll go ahead and do the same. You can get it here for five bucks, and all five of those bucks go to the WWF, so go hook that shit up, like, pronto. All the tracks are made, by and large, with Elektron gear.

April 11, 2008

Ricochet in CM...

by Chris Randall

I have to admit that I'm a little nervous sending products to CM these days; we've had a more-or-less unbroken string of good reviews from them, and eventually, the inevitable will occur.

That said, we can't complain about Computer Music #125 even a tiny bit. Ricochet received a 10/10 perfect score, and the Performance and Value tchotchkes. iZotope RX received the same score, one page later, so 'grats to them, and thanks to CM.

April 9, 2008

Psychosynth, and 3D in general...

by Chris Randall

I noted with interest when Matrix put up a little blurb about Psychosynth the other day, which is an open-source no-table-or-Bjork-required clone of the Reactable stuff. Now, right from the outset let's get one thing clear: my patience for that whole "breaking down the barriers between the artist and his shit" routine is essentially nonexistent. My interest in these sorts of tools is limited to workflow questions entirely. Personally, I think the audio results of the Psychosynth specifically are underwhelming at minimum, and for the most part downright bad.

Now, with that massive caveat out of the way, here's why I bring this whole thing up. My job with Audio Damage, aside from providing pithy responses to emailed questions ("why doesn't Dubstation 1.5 work with Cubase VST in Windows 98?") is generally related to forest matters. As opposed to tree matters, which are most definitely Adam's department. So the general look of Audio Damage products, how they fit in to the world at large, and the personality they have are generally my responsibility, while Adam deals with the internal structures, the actual DSP, and turning my flights of fancy in to actual usable products. That's the general way things work around here, with notable exceptions.

So I'm always on the lookout for new ways to do things that will separate AD from the herd, and one of the things I keep coming back to are true 3D interfaces. I had a rather deep experimental phase going a couple years back, and I kept inflicting a little filter I made with a true 3D pure OpenGL interface on our testing crew. They were nonplussed by the whole thing. I believe one actually pondered whether I still had a firm grasp of my sanity. To be sure, there are several products out there, some well-known, that use OpenGL for drawing. (Expert Sleepers' Minky Starshine is one such, although it ain't the prettiest thing out there, and I'm fairly certain that Urs Heckmann uses OpenGL for some of his stuff, although it might just be a combo platter of CoreGraphics and GDI+; hard to tell. Plogue Bidule is done in pure OpenGL, for what it's worth.)

The reason for using OpenGL is to open up the Z plane; VSTGUI, which we use for everything right now, is firmly bound to X and Y, with nary a Z in sight. To be certain, it is perfectly capable of doing most everything we need to release fine products. But in my head (the afore-mentioned flights of fancy) I see user interfaces for products that evoke Anymails and Fidgt, and for that we need something a bit lower level and more fluid in its execution. I actually have one such product in my head that continues on a theme we started in the early days of AD, but I won't elaborate on that at this juncture.

Long story short, go watch the Psychosynth videos if you have a minute and think about how a true 3D interface could be used for other things. Personally, as I said, I don't find the Psychosynth stuff very interesting, but I do see the logical extensions. For the record, Psychosynth was done with the OGRE 3D game engine and CEGUI. He has downloadables there, but only for Linux, naturally. But this discussion I'm envisioning isn't really about Psychosynth at all, but rather taking advantage of the platform in which we all work, the computer screen, and making things that are completely new, rather than evoking some crusty piece of gear with my Mental Ray chops. How dangerous is this course of action?

April 7, 2008

Audio Damage Dubstation 1.5 Now Available...

by Chris Randall

Dubstation 1.5 is now up in the AD Store for your purchasing and downloading pleasure. If you are an existing Dubstation customer, it'll just be in your account ready to go, as it is a free update. If you don't own Dubstation, now's as good a time as any to get in on the party. This is Audio Damage's second-best selling product (after Replicant) and with good reason.

If you missed my earlier announcements, Dubstation 1.5 gives our venerable favorite a new UI, and the oft-requested HI-CUT knob in addition to the LO-CUT, so you can have a measure of control over the high end; it is still controlled largely by the delay time, and the sound of Dubstation is unchanged if you have it all the way anti-clockwise.

Other changes: some minor bug fixes, and the delay knob behavior has been altered to match that of Dr. Device; you no longer have to automate hidden values. Dubstation 1.5 has a different name and VSTID than the original, and they'll live side by side happily, so you don't have to worry about existing projects being affected. Enjoy!


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