Garth Paine Patches for Max 8.3, Part 1


    To celebrate the release of Max 8.3, we contacted artist/technologist/educator Garth Paine and asked him to review the new features, find some objects that intrigued him, then create example patches that used those objects in an interesting way. In the first example patch, Garth put the new mc.generate~ to the test, then taking advantage of mc.teeth~ for some effects, giving us a curious variety of sounds from a single patch.
    We spoke with Garth about this patch, and here’s what he had to say:
    Darwin: Hi Garth - thanks for working on this project! Let's start by looking at the "Paine_Generate" patch. It has a sequencer and it's got a bunch of other functional modules, and it can range from a very tight sequenced sound to a very spacey sound. What is the Max tooling that you used in order to make this happen?
    Garth: The focus here was really on the mc.generate~ object. One of the things that I hadn't previously gotten my head around was the way that multichannel objects really kind of act as a poly~ object on steroids. So, in this case, it's a way of wrapping up multiple instances of a particular generator.
    I really enjoyed the way that the mc.generate~ then would feed any set of generated numbers - in this case frequencies - into mc.cycle~. But I also wanted to have some control over that; that's why I introduced the sequencer into that patch - so that I could set pitch ranges and add a kind of melodic structure to what was going on. That structure really opens up a second option, which is to use the mc.phasor~ to drive the triggering of the mc.generate~ object and to be able to set up deviations around both the triggering and the upper range of the frequency content.
    That system generates an amazing range of sounds; depending on the rate of triggering and the deviations that are set up, you really get some extraordinary timbres coming out of there. And then, I put the multichannel mc.teeth~ in there, because I felt like it would be good to take the raw material and just expand it a tiny bit more. mc.teeth~ really allows us to get into these highly modulated comb filtering environments and to create completely crazy feedback.
    Right. One of the things that I liked about this patch is the new approach: people typically create cloudy instances of the mc.cycle~ using the deviate messages. But this use of mc.generate~ actually allowed you use a number of different modulation devices, including the sequencer and including a sort of LFO. It feels like controlled-yet-chaotic behavior.
    Right, absolutely. I think that's really one of the points of mc.generate~ is that you can have a lot more control, and as you point out, you can have control on multiple levels. So what I tried doing was setting up a kind of backbone with the pitch set that's in the sequencer. And then you can really modulate on top of that, but you've kind of got something to build from.
    And the mc objects all the way through that patch just make it so easy to wrap all those things up and send all those channels through to mix down at the end.
    Now, this patch contains a number of snapshots. Is there one of those snapshots that represents, for you, the canonical sound of the patch? And what is it about that preset that makes it so interesting to you?
    I think, for me, my favorite one is the "Creep Chime," as I called it. It's really slow, but you can really hear the evolving timbres that are in there. I think that's my favorite. And once you've hit that snapshot, you can select different effects presets on the mc.teeth~, which will really change the sound a lot.
    If I could select another one, it would be the last one: "Bounce Space." They're both slower, but you really get this sense of the timbre filling into the space.
    Actually, I like all the others, too. They kind of demonstrate the control and the rhythmic structure that we get from the sequencer.
    This is especially true with the presets named "Nervous" - they really do live up to their names! It's interesting that for doing the effects, you chose to use mc.teeth~. This is not something I've played around with a lot. Is comb filter manipulation a typical tool in your creations?
    It's something that I really love, because of the kind of phase correlation that you can get across the comb filter. So like any other tool, I guess, I use it sparingly and when it seems that it's appropriate, but what I think it does here is it just kind of adds a big dose of “fertilizer” to the (sonic) garden!
    Suddenly the whole timbral space just kind of blooms into a much bigger space. I think comb filtering is exactly perfect for this kind of thing, because we have so much functionality available. The feedforward and the feedback controls within that comb filter can completely transform sound that's coming out of it.