The music journey – Making an album (week 3)

The past week I have focussed on going through the whole proces. My planning consisted of the following parts.

      • Building a patch on my Eurorack synth.
      • Programming sequences for that patch.
      • Recording it.
      • Making samples out of the recording.
      • Making a composition with the sample pack
      • Finishing the track.

As a study and research subject I took scales, tonality and musical notes.

Execution

My planning was pretty clear, now onto what really happend. The patch I partially finished and I started doubting my choices surrounding the layout of modules in my cases. So back to the drawing board and trying to downsize a bit for this project. In order not to get lost and keep patching. Less is more.

After this rebuild I have recorded a small drone and got on with it. I was way out of my planning as a result. So for next week my planning remains roughly the same. Learned a lot though and had a reaffirmation that my framework is solid.

It’s just not that straightforward , it will remain a search to what works and what doesn’t.

And given the limited time I get to spend on this project every planning I don’t meet automatically means a delay. Just as it was the case last week. But that in itself isn’t a real problem. The end result will still be there.

I will keep making (and adjusting) my planning and try sticking with it. It gives a very nice structure to the whole proces , and it has a build in continuity , ever since I started working this way I have been at it every week for that set amount of time. Which in itself is very important.

Max MSP project – Looper design

It’s been awhile updating my looper project, mostly because I have been busy learning MAX.

The looper project has reached the design stage. Building the looper by following the YouTube video’s by dearjohnread is done and now I have a functioning looper patch.

Now it’s time to start designing my own looper. In my Eurorack system I have an Expert-Sleepers ES-9 with a few audio inputs. 16 to be exact, now keeping track of 16 loops is a bit much whether it is in a live set or a jamming session. The start will be 4 tracks, inspired by the old 4 track recorders. I can always expand later.

The 4 tracks need to controllable by a midi controller, these functions must be available:

    • Start and stop recordings
    • Start and stop  playing the recorded loops
    • Mute and unmute of the loops

This will be the basic controller wise. Besides the loops I have several ideas for applying effects , like stutter, reverb distortion and whatever else comes to mind.

Functions need to be :

    • Effects per loop channel
    • Add & Delete
    • Turn on & Off
    • Building effect chains per channel

These functions also need to be controllable via a midi controller. I own an old Push 1 , which should be enough. I will start with that and make it customizable later on.

This is the basic concept for the design, I will post the more expanded design notes on my GitHub. Here I will go into the whole learning process.

Max MSP project – Start learning , some resources

The new project has started. So first off , I started my search for good learning materials. Books, video’s the lot.

The phenomenal help within Max/MSP is the starting point obviously , because it’s really good. Once you know what you are looking for. It’s a bit like learning a language first you need to know the words.

Books

To counter my lack of knowledge on the language and what to look for, I needed additional sources. As a lot of my time is spent away from computers, I always start out with books. I already had bought two very good books on Max on my bookshelf. Ones that would look great in anyone’s musical book collection. Especially if you are into making music and the theory behind all of it.

Electronic Music and Sound Design series

These books by Alessandro Cipriani & Maurizio Giri are very good and go indepth on everything regarding Electronic music and Sound design. The fiets chapters being the theory behind waveforms and how sounds work towards more max oriented chapters on how to build your own tools for building synths and other musical systems.  As far as I know there are 2 parts available with parts 3 and 4 on the way.

The first 2 are also adapted for the latest max version, 8. If you can get an older version it’s fine too. The additions for the new version to the books can be found online for free.

Just started with part one again and although pretty steep in the theory part of things , after some dedicated studying you will get a lot out of these books for sure. I don’t think there is a more comprehensive set of books on music theory, sound design in combination with Max/ MSP.

Step by step : Adventures in sequencing with Max/ MSP

A book dedicated to building sequencers in Max/ MSP. Bought it last year and haven’t started reading yet. Given the importance of sequencers in electronic music and the immense possibilities surrounding them this is a very nice book to have in the collection.

While browsing and reading the introduction it’s emphasized you have some basic Max skills. This book will be on top of the reading list when I will go and built my own sequencers.

YouTube

Loads of really good tutorials can be found on Youtube , some just single video’s on certain topics, but also a few very good channels with loads of material. An overview of channels I found so far:

    • Nedrush : Loads of Max tutorilas and other video’s on Ableton live , the Elektron Octratrack and many, many more.
    • Must1002 : Max video’s , from beginners stuff to more complex, topics nicely cut into small video’s so you won’t be overloaded with long tutorials and can do tiny bits.
    • Dude837 : Wealth of video’s , loads of interesting topics.
    • BazTutorials : Found during my looper research, loads of neatly done video’s per topic.
    • dearjohnreed : Again mountains of content.

Probably missed a lot of channels and cool material. So let me know about cool stuff.

Misc.

There is also lots of ,material available in the PDF format, from research papers , tutorials and general Max oriented content. Which can be found with university library search engines and on the internet in general. I will post some links in the future whenever I use them in my projects. Also GitHub is a nice source. As well as the Cycling74 website which has lists of stuff.