Forums > MaxMSP

[OT, but wtf] We have no Captain.

Dec 18 2010 | 12:19 pm

Sad news indeed:

And not really that OT, for if anyone taught us that it’s OK to make crazy music, it was surely him,

Dec 18 2010 | 1:34 pm

Yes, he was definitely a master. Few people work(ed) out the box like that. Giving the finger to conventions and completely draw their own path. Can you imagine what would have happened if he had max/msp :)

Dec 18 2010 | 1:48 pm

Not really OT at all, a sad loss indeed.

"Can you imagine what would have happened if he had max/msp"

Not just unconventional sounds, but new ways of working too (which I’m always trying to do!)


Dec 18 2010 | 2:12 pm

where do i apply for captain position.

Dec 18 2010 | 5:03 pm

"Can you imagine what would have happened if he had max/msp"
Something like this, perhaps?

Dec 18 2010 | 5:18 pm

the lone roger? carruthers?

a fitting tribute, very reich-wishart-esque


Dec 18 2010 | 9:15 pm

"If you wanna be a different fish, you gotta jump out of the school" the Captain reminded us to have no captain…as for if he had max/msp, well from what i’ve read he never liked electronic music..

Dec 19 2010 | 4:12 am

Im 12 years old and what is this?

Dec 19 2010 | 11:30 pm

@ADHD101, i just learned about him recently, too, from a friend. he’s a bit like the Zappa school of musicians, crazy, energetic, imaginative and uncompromising…
here’s a great documentary from BBC if you’re interested:

i think we tend to draw too many lines to Max/MSP for everything here. i really doubt he would’ve bothered with Max/MSP. if anything, he and Frank Zappa proved that you don’t need something like Max/MSP to find a crazy new sound and that a good old fashioned band with mere electric amplification, to this day, still carries much more stage presence than complex audio-processing on laptops.

*Never fear, Noob4Life was never here!*

Dec 20 2010 | 3:06 pm

@Noob4Life: don’t forget that Zappa used the Synclavier extensively. He was up for new technology when he saw (heard) things he wanted to use it for. But Zappa passed on before MSP was available–I think even too early for the earliest IRCAM Max extensions on NeXT supporting audio processing. And Beefheart had also retired from music by the time Max/MSP came around.

It’s almost impossible to know whether someone "would have" or not about anything. As far as Max/etc. goes, some people grok the programming model quickly, others don’t. And some people have the cash to pay for assistants to do the low-level nitty-gritty stuff. Zappa might well have taken that last route for Max/MSP, if he’d wanted to.

Dec 20 2010 | 3:47 pm

Hmmmm, funny how a somewhat trivial remark could (emphasis on could) lead to a flaming debate about indeed wether or not that person would have done this or that. What i meant was not to be taken literally rather a thought-experiment to point out the fact he was experimental with only "limited" (gotta be carefull now :)equipment available at the time so i could only imagine what would/could be created if he had the same almost infinite possibilities Max/MSP has to offer.

Lets be honest, electronic music back then was still heavily in development. FM-synthesis wasn’t "discovered" untill 1973. So i can imagine someone not liking electronic music back then. You can compare it with painting. Picasso’s paintings aren’t really pleasant to look at (damn it again!) compared to a Velasquez or Goya (not the guitarist :) However when put into context and placed in it’s timeframe it tells a different story because like beefheart it deals with breaking traditions and giving the finger.

Reason for posting; i don’t want to feel responsible for people disliking eachother or whatever over, like Peter said, a pointless discussion. Especially because it’s almost christmas now. He was great, is great and he will be great for it were his experiments that in some way or another changed our thoughts about music, what it is and what it should be about for us.

Like Picasso, Velasquez and Goya, he was a "game-changer"
Peace to all!


Dec 20 2010 | 9:48 pm

"flaming debate..for people disliking eachother"

i think you’re a bit too reactionary and jumping to conclusions(or maybe you’re romanticizing the effect of your post too much ;-). this debate is hardly ‘flaming’, it’s pretty friendly actually, your statement leads me to believe you might be the one who needs to find calm while the rest of us are just speaking opinions :)

(i think zappa’s use of synclavier is not comparable at all to using max/msp(electronic synth/sampler/workstation dabbling does not necessarily lead to DSP programming) but i totally understand other’s views and openness to the possibilities. i do think Zappa was more likely to pay or find someone else to do Max patching work for him as Peter suggested, but to me, that doesn’t really mean much. we agree to disagree)

"It’s almost impossible to know whether someone "would have" or not about anything."
so true! this is where we’re basically saying the same thing. i doubt it would happen, but it’s possible, at the end, it doesn’t matter because it didn’t happen and linking max/msp to these people seems not completely in tribute to what they actually did: for that matter, why wouldn’t they use supercollider? or chuck? are we going to want to discuss that, too? probably not, it’s a moot point just like relating the end of the Captain to max/msp.
But hey! forgive me, i can’t help but see this as a bit self-centered: the man died, and we’re still geeking out over max/msp, not his actual work. But when i say that, it’s not meant as an insult, just a reminder for all of us, myself included, to look within.

[EDIT: "Especially because it’s almost christmas now." christmas, if it leads to the stifling of people’s voices in the interest of remaining amicable just for that particular season, will always be a pretty fake holiday. but then again, i’m not christian, but if i was and actually believed that Christ died for my sins, then my sense of conscience would feel his birthday as the cause of my suffering, since i never asked him to die for my sins in the first place(and i would choose to celebrate on the actual date of his birth, not the Catholic church’s ‘reassignment’). Just my opinion! :D ]

Dec 20 2010 | 10:48 pm

"find someone else to do Max patching work for him as Peter suggested, but to me, that doesn’t really mean much"
it means that Zappa would at least be open to a Max influence on his music.
(but i agree with you on the whole christmas thing! :p)

O Captain My Captain:

Dec 21 2010 | 2:17 am

Yeah, maybe i was just a little extreme (add sarcasm there) but i must say i’ve seen it go wrong very fast before. (albeit in less "educated" environments and like i said; emphasis was on "could"). Plus don’t take everything i write too seriously. Max and this forum are very serious, every once in a while i tend to "lighten" it up a bit (for example responding to the bots posting on this forum, i know lame or the "sharing is socialism"-post which sparked some pretty funny and creative post-titles) It helps me cope with the seriousness of this program :) If there really was a flaming debate going on i probably wouldn’t bother, it’s a waste of energy and time and thankfully (to my knowledge) not present here on the forum.

-"i think we tend to draw too many…" I guess this in combination with the misinterpreting of the "what if"-remark is what triggered my response. Although an opinion it is judgemental in a way, not loaded with a good or bad connotation it is left open for suggestion and in the context of this debate obsolete. Wy obsolete? The debate was about the "what if" and the "if at all" Not about the fact (to which i truly confess though) that as a maxer i try to incoorperate it into everything when possible and think to how i can emulate or build this or that in Max(probably not alone here :) No harm intended or whatever, just being honest.

"Todays technical capabilities" instead of max/msp would have been a more fitting description. If this was Super-collider/Chuck/etc.-forum i would ofcourse refer to that. As mentioned before it was not to be taken literally. And yeah, Zappa and Beefheart proved you didn’t need Max/Msp to make great music. Exactly that is what made them stand out in the first place (i don’t think we would have heard about them otherwise). And that is precisely why i’m curious to what they would have done if they had acces to those possibilities.

"we’re still geeking out over max/msp"

I know, can’t stop. Max has invaded my life a while ago and it just won’t let go. Actually we were geeking out over max/msp and his music in a tribute-kinda way but that doesn’t make it allright.
No seriously, you’re absolutely right. It is a tragedy the man died and as mentioned before he has his place in the musical history well earned. I must confess this (the "what if") is a common thought ever since i first saw Da Vinci’s sketches of the helicopters and planes he made 500 years ago and yes, i’m into the painters today (damn, forgot it was that long ago). Just can’t help it.

And about the christmas-thing, This was not meant literally ofcourse. Still no sarcasm-hotkey. Don’t get me started on religion ;)


EDIT; Btw. "…the cause of my suffering" Dude, Everything allright?. You know you can share more with us than just patches if you want to. ;)

Dec 21 2010 | 4:01 am

"Plus don’t take everything i write too seriously. Max and this forum are very serious, every once in a while i tend to "lighten" it up a bit"

YES! exactly. we see things the same way. i meant nothing serious, either, just positing a different viewpoint.
(and since you asked in your edit, maybe i didn’t explain the christmas ‘suffering’ thing very well, but i meant it as humorous: if i were christian and believed that christ died for my sins, meanwhile i never asked him to, then i’d feel bad(suffer) everytime his birthday came around because it would remind me of what a waste his death was(and that(along with the ‘redating’ of christ’s ‘official’ birthday by the Catholic Church) makes christmas a humorous phenomenon to me). but like i said, i’m not christian so i don’t know what i’m talking about, and it’s not meant to be taken seriously. just another attempt at saying, "well, what if i choose to see it in this way?")

it’s true, sarcasm and humor don’t always translate well in online text, but i think it’s pretty valuable to keep trying. especially in a community like this where people tend to be more cold and analytical(perhaps me saying, "tend to be" once again is judgmental, or generalizing, but i think it’s another way of saying, "going by what i’ve seen, ‘what if’ there’s a little too much of [this-kind-of-thinking/attitude]"….) i even notice people post patches and questions, but rarely do we see the artistic result of those patches and questions…. in a way it makes this community even more serious than it needs to be: would be nice to revel more in the joy of the artistic expression that happens at the end of the patching process(‘projects’ are good, but they are not ‘communally’ shared, discussed, or even praised). online humor and sarcasm is no substitute for this, but for me personally, it does seem to help.

anyways, thanks for taking the time to reconsider my intent. i appreciate it. and i really appreciate your posts, too.

to all: Happy Holidays(whatever they mean to you)! and may Captain Beefheart rest in peace and be remembered for his unwavering individualism forever.

*Never fear, Noob4Life was never here!*

Dec 21 2010 | 5:13 am

Did you see Zeitgeist? Not really a good documentary to recommend ( imho quite bad actually and more like a pamflet than a documentary) but it does pose an interesting theory on religion which i can relate too. That the whole thing was just a mnemonic to indicate the change of seasons and when to harvest and sow. It makes an interesting theory. If you’re interested;

"even notice people post patches and questions, but rarely do we see the artistic result of those patches and questions…."

True indeed, thats why i always like to check the profiles to see if there’s a link to a website or portfolio and check out what everybody is working on (or mostly worked on). And we did have a post on collaborative patching a while ago which was fun but took a lot of organizing.

Thanks and happy holidays!


My "h" is kinda broken, so if it’s missing somewhere it’s because i didn’t press hard enough on my keyboard. (and that is serious) I already saw one in my previous post. (no, not covering up :)

Dec 21 2010 | 8:24 am

no worries, i didn’t notice any ‘h’ weirdness; just wanted to reply again because i just watched Zeitgeist, thanks for the link! i have much more respect for dec. 25th now thanks to the first part, haha, the zodiac is indeed very significant; and i always knew those egyptians were some kind of alien race that set the standard for all! just kidding… but the movie does seem to proceed from effect to cause at times, for example, when they say, "the ancient glyph for virgo is the altered ‘m’… this is why mary along with other virgin mothers… such as… Buddha’s mother ‘Maya’ begins with the letter ‘m'"…. hmmmmm… that doesn’t sound quite right since ‘Maya’ comes from sanskrit and would stem from a different set of ‘ancient glyphs’ than the latin precursor they speak of…. (perhaps a great example of ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc’? see halfway down the page, ‘master list of logical fallacies’, not that i carry this list around or believe it can apply everywhere, simply reminded of it: )
then again, maybe i just don’t know those ‘ancient glyphs'(but the figure shown in the movie really doesn’t look like anything that would stem from or eventually turn into sanskrit, either ;)
much of the movie seems to be a pamphlet (like you said) about how "[this story] was lifted from [that story]" without really offering proof of who did the actual ‘lifting’ hehehehe.
but the movie does wisely draw great significance from humans’ perception of earth’s relation to the stars, and personally, being quite serious for a moment, i believe that the first and only truth given to us, was the stars, from which all other truths were gleaned from then on: even when people first walked the earth, looked around at their environment without even pondering the rest of the universe yet, what they were able to see and understand was completely influenced by the sun.

Captain Beefheart’s poem, "Brown Star", offers his own insight into the matter:

Dec 21 2010 | 10:08 am

Glad you liked it. And if you have about ten hours to spare i can truly recommend this one, corny synths and animations but its awesome and i have a little more faith in the factual accuracy of the things said. This guy is a poet in disguise.

Dec 21 2010 | 10:31 am

i never said i ‘liked’ zeitgeist ;-) no, but it is definitely interesting(my thanks for the link were sincere)… i know what you meant, though :) …and i will definitely spare 10 hours for Carl Sagan anyday, Thanks Again!

(my, how hard it is to remember to copy and paste my signature in everytime)
*Never fear, Noob4Life was never here!*

Dec 21 2010 | 11:41 am

the comparison between programming code for conceptual arts and
playing a guitar live on stage is unfair.

fluxus will never be as tribal as tribal music can be.

and when you look around here, there are enough collegues using max/msp
which completly forget that a piece of art does not only consist of three lines
of copied code, but also requires some spirit in order to produce meaning.
you _can use maxmsp to only reproduce and entertain shoppers in the
shopping mall, and too many people are doing this with max like others
are doing it with a guitar.


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