As I write this from an airport terminal somewhere in the world, we are hard at work finishing the Max 7 release. The last weeks before a release are an interesting time for our organization. Meetings are short (as are tempers in some cases) and everyone seems almost magically focused on a common goal. Long ago I realized I am incapable of competently organizing an event, whether it was my kids’ birthday parties or a complex software release. I just try to work on my small piece of the software. Our CTO Joshua Kit Clayton leads the process and I am eternally grateful for him for taking on this ridiculously complicated task, one I probably make even more complicated.
We asked Sam Tarakajian, who has been participating in our alpha testing process, to make a series of videos this month giving you a sense of what we’re up to with Max 7. (Sam’s collection of tutorials under the name dude837 on YouTube is a requirement for any Max user. Even if you think you’re an expert I guarantee you will learn something from them.) I feel fortunate he was willing to lend his comedic touch to these videos. In the first episode, Sam wonders whether Max 7 can solve a critical problem facing many Max users: explaining what the software does to your friends.
However, we don’t intend to use Sam’s videos to be a comprehensive explanation of Max 7 to you. The first episode will just give you a brief taste of what’s to come. Stay tuned — there’s lots more to talk about.
It doesn’t officially turn one year old until October, but Darwin Grosse has spent the last year having rich, deep conversations with a broad spectrum of artists for his Art + Music + Technology podcast. The guests have included big names like Pauline Oliveros and Richard Devine, as well as Cycling ’74 co-workers (who also have a pretty rich creative life) and a whole range of synth freaks, programmers, and artists working in Art, Music, and Technology.
I caught up with Darwin to find out how the podcast has gone, and asked him to share some of his favorite moments:
“I actually learn from everyone that I talk to – so it feels odd to pick out favorites. Personally:
But each one of the podcasts hits me in the heart, because it shows me that there is a real person behind the work that is being done. Talking to someone like Richard Devine, who is kind of a star in certain circles, reveals that we both grew up on Ministry/Skinny Puppy industrial; Dan Snazelle and I had the same kooky religious background. This personalizes their work in a way that no written interview (or, for that matter, any pre-planned study) could have done.
Probably the best thing that has happened is that I now prepare less – and edit less. Unless I’m completely in the dark about someone’s work, I generally spend less than 5 minutes checking on people’s work. Rather, I open the door for them to talk about their work (which means that they talk about the stuff they are interested in, rather than what the public is interested in…), and then ask about their background (which always gives me the next 20 questions to ask!).
It is really incredibly fun for me, but also has totally changed the way I think of art-making and career-building. It also has changed the way I talk – I’m much more aware of my over-use of “um”, “interesting” and “awesome”. Not completely fixed yet, but working on it…”
This week, Priscilla Frank of the Huffington Post highlighted a group of artists actively working to develop the future of opera. Several on the list are our friends and Max users. Congrats to them and to their crews.
…opera innovators, toying with non-linear narratives, unusual instruments and new media, to name a few. — Priscilla Frank
Every once in a while, I have the privilege to reveal the secrets about what we’ve been working on. A new software release is the big milestone for us. We don’t have an office anymore, so we can’t announce the construction of our new Spaceship Campus or even a pretend office made out of Lego.
Today we released Max 6.1.8. This is an exciting update for two major reasons:
6.1.8 also provides a nice set of the usual bug fixes and improvements. I recommend checking it out even if you aren’t yet a Gen user.
I am also happy to announce that this fall we will be releasing Max 7.
From now until the Max 7 release, you can purchase Max 6 for 20% off and get Max 7 for free. We’ve also lowered the price of the Max 6 upgrade — including Gen — to the Max 7 upgrade price of $149.
Now I’d like to tell you a bit about what’s coming in Max 7 and why you might be interested in it.
There’s much, much more about Max 7 I would love to share with you right now. But I need to get back to work so that we can put the new release in your hands. Rest assured, we won’t be able to contain our excitement and we’ll be sharing more specifics over the coming weeks. On behalf of all of my co-workers, I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to develop Max over the past couple of decades. We hope you find our latest work worthy of your continued support. Cycling ’74 just celebrated its sixteenth birthday. I guess that means we can finally get a driver’s license.
I spent the first week of July at Goldsmiths College at NIME, checking out lots of new interfaces for musical expressions. As our host Atau Tanaka pointed out, it’s just as easily new instruments for musical expression – the conference and its participants are well past the point of tinkering or researching techniques. They’re making instruments, making noise, and doing things in the intriguing ways that emergent communities do when they grow.
It’s a great time to be having the kinds of discussions about the relationship between instruments and performance that occur both in the context of the papers and presentations and performances and also (with considerable passion) in the pubs at the day’s end.