Paths that lead to Nowhere


Paths that lead to Nowhere” is a solo ambient / new music / noise project  featuring processed guitar, retuned piano and synthetic sounds. It will be release the September 22, day of the autumnal equinox, when light and darkness have equal lengths. It’s important to me because the same kind of symmetry is everywhere in this music : the balance between tonal/atonal, smooth/striated time, instrumental/synthetic, melodic/amelodic, written/random, notes/noise, gentle/harsh… and because I’m kind of a mystical guy :)

Max is used in 3 different ways that are combined in each track :

  • for every track the sound processing during the composition process : I always work first as a “fixed media” composition (but keeping in mind that I’ll have to play it live one day). I use the DAW Reaper for the audio editing of guitar samples, virtual instruments (the piano & the synth) and some field recordings, for me it was the easiest and most flexible way to deal with the “notes”. Then each track is sent via the sound server Jack to a global MAX patch that will (heavily) process the sound and send it back to the DAW (and that was the most powerful way to deal with the sound processing).
  • for the entire live setup : for the opening solo guitar track “… to the twigs”, the processing/sampling of the guitar is so heavy that only Max was a solution for being able to achieve this in real-time. I use the SoftStep MIDI foot controller, KMI already provides a MAX patch to deal with raw MIDI input,  I just hack it a little bit and organize the sent messages to fit my needs.
  • for the composition : for example, in “from the ferns…” you can hear a background made of a bass note sampled from the guitar, slowly raising to a quarter tone up during the whole track, and from that note I generate kind of a “stochastic cloud” of notes : Max randomly choose notes from pre-programmed chords (pitchshift of the buffer) and play them; the single thing I control is the source of that notes (the guitar sample or an LFO) and the probability assigned to each chord where Max will pick the note.