C-C-Combine – Play anything with anything
C-C-Combine is a corpus-based audio mosiacing application, built in Max/MSP, based on concatenative synthesis. Concatenative synthesis is a technique for synthesizing sounds by concatenating short samples of recorded sound. It is essentially a type of granular synthesis that, instead of playing back grains based on position/windows, plays back grains based on analysis of incoming audio. In order to do this you must have a corpus (the pre-analyzed body of sounds) and an input sound source (either incoming audio or file playback).
Back when I started programming what would eventually become The Party Van, I envisioned building something like C-C-Combine. It was very much out of my programming reach/understanding at the time. C-C-Combine is my first exploration into “full on” concatenative synthesis, that uses a pre-analyzed corpus of samples. I was originally inspired to do this by collaborator Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, having heard his Sandbox #3 in action, which is based on CataRT, an open source concatentative synthesis application written by Diemo Schwarz. (You can read more about PA Tremblay’s concat setup/exploration in this paper co-written by him and Diemo Schwarz.) I also came across Mogees instrument, by Bruno Zamborlin, which sounded very exciting to me as, like in PA’s setup, was based on real-time audio analysis.
Aside from the desire to learn and code something that did exactly what I wanted, the impetus of creating C-C-Combine was that this type of synthesis and sound production is difficult to get into. CataRT is freely available, but it requires installing a large framework/extension on top of Max/MSP (FTM&Co). It is also incredibly deep/powerful, but not especially tailored to live performance. Mogees, as far as I can tell, is not available at all. C-C-Combine is freely available to download (link below) as a Max/MSP patch, so that you can edit/view the code (or use it as is). It only uses a few externals by Alex Harker, which come included with the download. Harker’s externals handle the audio analysis (both real-time and offline) as well as data storage/lookup.
I made every effort to make the application as user-friendly as possible with a thorough “quick start” guide in the ‘info’ window and ‘hints’ when you hover over anything. Corpus analysis/storage/loading is no trivial task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult either. The program is primarily made for real-time concatenative synthesis, so most of the features are built towards that end, but I do plan on expanding the program, as well as building an adaptation of it into The Party Van.
How did this project use Max?
It was built entirely in Max/MSP.