The Creators Project blog recently featured work by artist and maxer Ian Brill. I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Ian on an earlier version of this project, and it was a total blast.
Ian was kind enough to share some details of the project.
I use max to generate a series of generative, gestural motifs, composited across a Jitter matrix. These gestures rely on geometric shapes, realtime analysis of audio, a particle system, and several stages of attenuated feedback, in order to create a frenetic environment for active contemplation. By wrapping the matrix around the installation’s implicit center, the illusion of emerging, kaleidoscopic events around, toward and away from the “oculus” (top-most center) is created. Parametric data and spacial information is shared analogously between Jitter-based visual content and a custom built, 8.1 surround, sound engine, built using maxforlive. Data is sent over serial to an arduino Duet, which in turn parses the pixel values and distributes them across a daisy chain of 560 LED clusters, zigzagging all around the back of the installation.
Last May I was invited by Trond Lossius to give an advanced Jitter workshop at BEK. I hadn’t given a workshop since Max6 was released, so I was super excited for the opportunity to dive into all of the fantastic new Jitter features, particularly the Gen objects. For me, the Gen objects are like a secret ingredient that can be used to spice up a patcher in interesting ways. They’re extremely versatile objects, useful in adding a unique touch.
The Jitter Gen objects are a portal to a vast world of creative possibilities but with that vastness one can easily feel overwhelmed. Gen patchers come with a new set of objects and operate according to a different logic than normal Max patchers. To really understand Gen requires shedding preconceptions and rewiring how you think about composing a patcher. As an entry point into the Gen world, the workshop curriculum focused on only a handful of Gen objects at a time, using them to explore a single visual technique:
I often have the impression that the Gen objects are underutilized, particularly in Jitter. Only one or two people who attended the workshop had ever used Gen before. After spending some quality time with Gen and going through the curriculum, pretty much everyone had become enthusiastic Gen users. There was just too much goodness to be had.
To spread the wealth, the patches developed for the workshop are being made available here along with the patches I made throughout the five days of the workshop itself. Have a look at the README in the download for info on the different folders. Feel free to borrow, steal, fork, and extend the ideas presented!
Download: BEK Workshop Files
Special thanks to BEK and all of the workshop participants for an amazing week. Credit for the images used in this post goes to:
Bruno Zamborlin developed a new product that will allow you to turn every day objects into musical instruments. The iOS software shown on the Kickstarter page is based on the Max patch that Bruno uses for his live performances and installations.
Mogees consists of a mobile app and a small sensor that detects and analyses the vibrations that we make when we interact with the objects around us. It uses a special sound technique to alter their acoustic properties so as to make them musical.
Two remarkable new books featuring Max have just been published that should be a part of any serious student’s collection.
First, volume 2 of Electronic Music and Sound Design by Alessandro Cipriani and Maurizio Giri continues the first volume’s exploration of audio applications of Max/MSP through hundreds of interactive examples. In this volume, the focus shifts to DSP effects and a unique treatment of what the authors call “motion” — descriptions of how sound can evolve through time. There is also a section on MIDI for control applications, and perhaps the first coverage of the use of Max for Live in book form.
Volume 2 was translated by our former colleague Richard Dudas now imparting his vast wisdom to students at Hanyang University School of Music in Seoul.
The book just arrived today and I am excited to try out the hundreds of amazing examples that accompany the book. Here’s a link to Electronic Music and Sound Design on Amazon.
Next, I just learned today of the publication of Peter Elsea’s new book The Art and Technique of Electroacoustic Music that includes an extensive chapter on Max. The book is structured as a course on the fundamentals you need to compose with acoustic and electronic sounds, so it doesn’t just cover the use of software, but also recording, editing, and studio techniques.
Peter is one of the true heroes of the Max community, generously sharing his collections of objects and tutorials that remain essential resources for anyone working with the software. He recently retired after more than three decades teaching at UC Santa Cruz, inspiring countless students, a number of whom I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. It’s also fun for me as a Santa Cruz resident that there is so much Max literacy in this town — something which is entirely Peter’s doing. (OK, it’s not like I’m going to be able to walk into the Red Room and strike up a conversation with a random person about the finer points of funbuff, but you know what I mean.)
Check out The Art and Technique of Electroacoustic Music on Amazon.
Are you patching on location in an exotic place, setting up a show, or just connecting objects in the corner of your local cafe? Is Max a part of your studio or office?
We’re excited to launch a new feature of Cycling74.com called Max Workspaces. We know that Max is used all over the world to do a big variety of things. We are hoping this new section of the website will offer a glimpse into the various studios, offices, theaters, coffeeshops, and miscellaneous spaces that the Max community touches. We also think it’s really fun to share photos of where you are, and offer peeks of work in progress. Visit the Max Workspaces page to check out other people’s photos and upload one of your own.