SAE Education Essay on Aphex Twin/ Max Msp patch

    Dec 05 2013 | 11:26 am
    Hey everyone!!
    Ok so currently im at SAE Institute studying audio engineering and we've been given a written assignment task. I'm looking to create a patch that resembles some what, but not entirely takes from Aphex Twin and the type of patches that he may employ.
    This is purely for educational purposes, so im not looking to rip off or copy cat what he has done in the past. I'm only using this artist as a reference point to have an objective nature to decided what type of patch to create.
    Here are two examples to show what im exactly inquiring about 1. 2.
    I'm a beginner on these matters, but it seems (to me at least) that he might be using a lot of Phase vocoding & FFT timestretching and then employing a lot of midi-stuttering auto-drum roll type triggering.
    it also seems like on the 'Crappy' track that he uses some time of 'generative' music midi patch, to give it this type of reigned in 'random' feel to me.
    This is all just preliminary guess work. :) But if any of you feel like you could contribute some knowledge of at least point me in the right direction. I would be eternally grateful!!
    Cheers headphuq

    • Dec 05 2013 | 11:32 am
      urrmmm some reason my youtube links arent working???
    • Dec 05 2013 | 4:31 pm
      really know one gonna lend a hand with this?
      come on guys!
    • Dec 05 2013 | 5:18 pm
      ?.. He's a Composer disguised as an electronic musician-that's the joke
      There's really no point to make a patch that replicates him until he dies.
      Try SC2 and some 90's freeware if you just want to "sound" like him
      Also, I think he preferred the precursor to "algoart" over Max fwiw
    • Dec 05 2013 | 5:59 pm
      If you read the initial post, you would see that its not to replicate him, he is just used as a reference in my written assignment.
      It was only to be a starting point for discussion, not a sticking point.
      The ultimate goal is to pick some things that Aphex might of employed and customise it to my own need and remove the parts which are not relevant to me.
      i dont see how your post, helped to be honest?
    • Dec 05 2013 | 6:10 pm
      the most famous max user ever was elvis presley. what a pity he died a few months before metasynth came out.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 6:18 pm
      wow that was insightful 'Roman Thilenius', with your level of wit, you should write a book or something :)
    • Dec 05 2013 | 6:59 pm
      I think it's just that nobody is interested to help somebody to sound like afx, although that might not be your only goal. Also this is kind of a classic.. try it more concrete maybe.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 7:23 pm - some kind of additive resynthesis thing maybe look at oscbank~
      comb filtering
      digital distortion - maybe wavetable distortion
      some kind of loop stutter patch maybe something like 2d.wave~ would help here.
      maybe some kind of granular freeeeeeze patch like sugarsynth
      Realistically I have no clue and I'm not sure how much it matters in the end but good luck and if you make a decent patch please post it up so I can play around with it.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 7:53 pm
      ok well if it makes everyone feel a lot more comfortable. Then can we please focus solely on FFT timestretch, phase vocoding and midi stuttering.
      Maybe you guys have some relevant tutorials or pre-exisiting patches that i can examine?
    • Dec 05 2013 | 8:25 pm might get you started with the beat-cut-n-stutter part, though if you're a beginner, it may not be the easiest patch to work out. If you get on OK with that (hint, set the x scan to .5 to play your loop at double speed), try making a patch that will randomly route the beat slices through different Fx patches, Cheers Roger
    • Dec 05 2013 | 9:24 pm
      All of the above, and some really simple sample playback, super simple but programmed by a wizard.
      ...that'd do it.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 10:18 pm
      and two fft spoons of frozen elvis sugar.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 10:52 pm
      The FFT effects on Windowlicker absolutely scream Metasynth's imagefilter. Crappy does sound like generative beats created with something like Max, could be this Can assure you his stutter/snarerush effects are 99% unlikely to be stuttering midi data, as the timing of midi is notoriously flaky. More likely as was said previous audio buffer manipulations, and could be hand-edited in places.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 11:29 pm
      >Can assure you his stutter/snarerush effects are 99% unlikely to be stuttering midi data, as the timing of midi is notoriously flaky.
      Can assure you that all those snare rushes can be done -and could be done - super tightly, on stuff as old as the Atari even. Have seen it, heard it, programmed it myself.
    • Dec 05 2013 | 11:52 pm
      Yeah Atari Sts are famously tight no need for "even", once you go >32th notes at higher BPMs midi jitter can be a problem in many sequencers.To me a lot of the stutters, on Windowlicker particularly, sound like a combination of granular playback, regular delay lines and hand-edits. Either way there's an awful lot of resampling to achieve to the end result, particularly the turntable style effects.
    • Dec 06 2013 | 1:55 am
      the combination of atari and akai was superfast back in the days, today only reproducable by using plug-in parameters in enviroments which transport midi on a higher priority level.
      strange enough that today with all our possibilities most of us seem to have forgotten that you can use controller 7 to create a simple but effective gate effect. (such as in "love me tender" by johann sebastian bach)
    • Dec 06 2013 | 3:51 am
      I've never stumbled upon a supposed Aphex Twin Max patch. I've seen stuff that was supposedly Autechres, one of which Autechre said in an AMA that it might be an edited version of one of theirs. I don't know... There problem here is that Aphex Twin is an incredibly secretive magician of his craft. People can give ideas about how to achieve similar results to specific events in his tracks but if you're looking for a "What does an Aphex Twin Max patch look like and how does it work" type of thing I'm not sure you're going to find much information out there.
    • Dec 06 2013 | 4:17 am
      Aphex did in fact use MetaSynth for Windowlicker and some other tracks. Specifically for the morphing sound you hear at the beginning of this track: Look into FFT phase vocoding and other forms of FFT effects to emulate similar techniques.
      Essentially Richard D. James innovated in electronic music because he found a good balance between rhythmic-based and frequency-based exploration.
      One of the first things he was known for doing, which many people had done before him but none so creatively and catchy, was to utilize the external input on his MS-20 synth in unique ways. If you think about it, this was the beginning of his exploration into morphing sounds of different kinds into each other. So essentially, in the frequency realm, you'd want to look into techniques that combine frequency spectrums of different sounds in different ways(FFT or BandpassFilter-based vocoding, and also amplitude-following and sidechaining of all kinds).
      The other thing he was known for doing, is obviously the fast stutter cuts which often accelerated and decelerated according to a geometrically increasing or decreasing series of durations. In SuperCollider, the BBCut library was designed by Nic Collins, partly to emulate these various techniques made popular by early artists on the warp label such as autechre, squarepusher, and afx... so you could take a look there: The LiveCut plugin is a good example of this technique wrapped into a nice, free and easy plugin(it is, in fact, a paired down version of the BBCut library...)... but of course, this is just to help you focus on 'hearing' the rhythmic part of their sound, in case you don't feel like perusing the BBCut library source, seeing as how you probably want to do this in max/msp and can simply get the idea from using the tool: (not sure if it's up to date, though)
      Anyways, you may also want to ask on the idmforums as well. Here, you'll find mostly academics and experimentalists(an older generation, frustrated by the fact that they may have known about so many of these techniques before anyone else but were never creative enough to make it interesting to hear within the realm of art like aphex and younger folks do ;D). Aphex is both a composer and electronic-musician, who happened to understand, much earlier than most others who work with similar forms of artistic technology, an important but oft forgot truth: it never matters how much skill or knowledge you acquire, if you have no talent to begin with.
    • Dec 06 2013 | 6:18 am
      IDK, it seems to me like we're often "crossing the bridge to fetch water" in the edm/idm world trying to emulate our peers, especially when we should be applying Occams razor more often.
      A lot of what would be assumed to be cuts in the audio are normally done with samplers.
      Reverse sounds. Inner-loop type things. Record stop sounds.
      ...they can all be done with a normal sampler, and I think it's fair to say that a lot of the work we normally do with libraries, special cutting vsts and such, that was done with readily available hardware used to its full capacity.
    • Dec 06 2013 | 1:45 pm
      while it is clear why i would never try to emulate and copy others but do my own thing, i am not so sure what it could mean that nobody ever tried to copy me. (including elvis)
    • Dec 06 2013 | 2:30 pm
      It really helps to look through the examples folder...
      Examples > fft-fun > phase-vocoder-sampler-folder
      Examples > sequencing-looping > modsquad
    • Dec 06 2013 | 10:44 pm
      you can even find an elvis tutorial there, under "very special guest".