Max MSP project – The idea , a looper

In order to learn Max/MSP and give the proces more focus , I have opted for a simple idea. Making a Looper. Think the hardware loopers like the Boss RC-505 and more on the experimental side, the Soma Cosmos.

It’s a looper aimed at live use and jam sessions, with the Eurorack as the input. The sound source.

The Looper needs to take care of recording loops from the modular. In order to have more control about the end result and what you heard in a live set. Adding loops , editing then and adding effects to it.

The interface between the Eurorack and the computer is an Expert Sleepers ES-9. Which is an audio interface for Eurorack. It has 8 audio inputs. So the looper will be one with 8 channels. The looper will be a buffer between the Eurorack and the music coming out of the speakers.

I am starting with a basic patch and will expand on it as I learn more. I will divide the project into little steps so I can keep control. And don’t get list and get finished results.

I have found a number of YouTube video’s on making a looper, first order of business will be simply building these. And later on changing them and building the functionality I want in them. And then I will release the first version.

The first version will be the basis for all future additions and built out on this.

video list :

Dearjohnreed – Four track looper part one
Dearjohnreed – Four track looper part two
Dearjohnreed – Four track looper part three

Soria box – Loop pedal from Scratch

I will share it on my Github when I have my first version. This can be found here :

Cornerman – Github Max/MSP

 

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.

 

Max MSP project – Open source and the learning curve.

For ages I have MAX/MSP by Cycling 74 installed om my machine and from time to time I am completely obsessed with the endless possibilities which exists in this space. For the ones not familiar with Max, it’s a developing tool for creating anything relating to producing music and integrating visuals. From synthesizers to art installation stuff. And everything in between.

And that’s exactly where my problem manifests itself, it’s just too much. However small I begin, I always get lost. Lost in my own brain to be more exact. And then I stop with pursuing and learning. I have not been able to let it go or start in a direction to try and really push it.

So the idea behind this series is to get more grip on my own learning proces and share everything I learn. I will post it on this blog and I will put stuff in a , yet to put up, GitHub page.

The ultimate goal is to build an interactive looper for live use. A looper which takes the input from my Eurorack synthesizer and takes that input and loops it. Which I can then further manipulate. I will share all my progress (or lack of) , and will share all my notes, first designs and the road when building the patch itself. And ultimately also the music that comes out of the proces.

That’s the main goal , every time I test the patch a series of recordings emerge. I will not share all of them, just the ones at the end of each stage. And that I think are worthwhile sharing.

This might result is a nice collection of useful notes on my own personal learning method, a nice max patch and enough music to compile an album with.

A big project indeed, but by working this way I hope to get into a rhythm and work on it more consistent. On all of it, learning, music and sharing.

Book review – Creative Quest

Another book review. Since the whole Corona crisis thing I have been focussing more on reading. Which has been paying out big time. My reading skills are getting better which after my brain damage wasn’t a guarantee that It would become better again.

I still get tired easily when reading but reading now goes faster and I remember somewhat more. It’s also something I can easily cut into small segments.

So yeah, been reading more. And reading some cool stuff as well. This review is on a book written by Questlove which deals with creativity and how you can set your mind in a way your creativity flows. And how to deal with distractions , and make it more of a framework. 

Every chapter deals with a topic which creative people are faced with, building your art, managing tasks surrounding making art, getting your art out there and sell it. Networking , staying in touch with people. And so on. 

I have music as a hobby and I know this won’t turn into a career anytime some. But everything in the book is applicable to the creative side of other professions whether it be as a software developer, product manager , journalist. Most professions have a creative side to them. And need a mindset and framework to fit that creative process.  It’s making sure all the conditions are set for being at your best creative wise. 

So I highly recommend this book for basically everyone that feels the need to be creative as a hobby or in parts of their job. 

Autechre – NTS Sessions

As a big Autechre fan I couldn’t resist buying the new physical release of their NTS radio sessions. At first the vinyl release was the most appealing , just I couldn’t justify the expense. So ordered the CD version. The sessions consist of 4 radio shows. Which I missed off course. And due to the intensity of listening to an Autechre recording nowadays I couldn’t have done it in one sitting of 2 hours each.

Autechre makes their music with an elaborate (I think never seen it) Cycling 74 MAX/MSP patch or patches. Which gives you endless possibilities. Luckily the tracks stay within some frame so they are dense but not out of theme. It’s a experiment in sounds and rhythmic structures which you probably love or hate.

I love it, the art of keeping experiments and not go all over the place and make it into just experiments is very well done. It’s very easy getting out of control.

For me the only downside is , it takes a lot of energy listening too it. I have too really focus and get into it and after a while it get’s to be a bit overwhelming. But that’s just because of my brain damage. If you can listen too one sessions at a time and do nothing else, it’s very rewarding. Even in smaller sittings I am highly enjoying it.

If you have never listened to Autechre this can be a bit too much, but I can only recommend starting at the beginning of their work and slowly making your way thru, it has a lot of beautiful musical art in store for you.

What’s better ?

What’s better?, interesting question. While having less energy too spend on any given task it also has advantages. I used to do a lot of things simultaneously and as fast as possible , because I wanted to do a lot. I find a lot of stuff worth doing or exploring. And it’s a lot of fun. Learning new stuff. As a result I never really found the focus to concentrate on one particular thing. I always did it all, let’s take hobby’s as an example. I like too listen to music, make music , photography, writing and drawing. Mostly I only did one of these things for an hour a week at most.

This week I looked trough old files I found in a back-up, bits and pieces of sketches, unfinished music and maps of photo’s that never really went anywhere. As I am searching for new ways too train my brain and expanding my focus it needs to be a small task which can easily be cut into very small pieces. Well any of my hobby’s will do this just fine. I have some musical instruments I haven’t mastered yet, this can be nicely done in 10 minute intervals. Editing photo’s or reading about how it actually works can also be cut into little pieces. And writing as well.

By being limited I can now focus better on one thing at a time , and not allow my brain to go all over the place. Because it’s simply too exhausting. When working on stuff for just 10 minutes you need to define the task to strict boundaries. Which has helped creativity enormously. Less is more is really true , well for me now anyway.

What else has become better, time spend with friends and family. Which has always been very valuable, but now I appreciate it much more. This sounds very very cliché , I know. But it’s true. So everyone, you know who you are, Thanks for spending the time and being patient with me.

The time I can now spend on actually working on the recovery has been a better experience then I thought it would be, It’s given me insight in myself and I am now figuring out what’s important. One thing I learned is that everybody needs some time to figure stuff out, taking real rest and moments for reflection. So I encourage everyone to really do this. Not just for an hour but regularly and consistently over time, rest and think about life, it’s worth it.

Audion – Alpha

Last week I started listening to the new Audion album, Audion is the Techno alter ego of Matthew Dear. With his new album Alpha he has produced a good Techno album for home listening. Sounds a bit strange , but it’s true. It’s very well produced and has all sorts of cool twists in the tracks, yet maintaining a nice groove.
Even if your not into Techno as much this album can be very enjoyable.

Top tracks are Bob the builder, Sucker, Traanc and Suppa. Give this album a try or 2 , you’ll love it.

A new start with music

After a lot of years of on and off music making and never really finishing anything I sold most of my music gear and only kept a few software bits. The software never really inspired me, I simply like knobs and things, also the never ending possibility’s in software made me go nuts. As in I simply got lost in making sounds and not tracks. So I decided to get a few bits of hardware and use the computer as a recorder. So just jamming and I will see what happens.

Got a old boss effects processor, an Emu ESI 4000 sampler an Elektron machinedrum and I already had a small and incomplete (as if it will ever be complete) Eurorack. I will start with those.
And although I fear this, will put it on the website.

Hopefully I will find the energy to get very active again. It will also help me focus on one thing and this will be good for my recovery.

Moderat II

Well, as always late to the party. The earlier releases by Moderat are still on the ‘to listen’ list. But today I browsed around the internet and found out that Moderat III was out.
Opened Spotify and started listening. And started with Moderat II instead of III. So this is a review of II, an album from 2013.

Just what I needed on this Sunday afternoon being exhausted and moody because of it. Very chilled out tracks and very well produced.

Bad kingdom has very nice beats and a good vocal, a good track for driving through mountains. The next song versions bubbled along and has a sort of break beat feel to it, at least that’s what I made of it.

Let in the light is a very nice background track for working , gently flowing. Can see myself playing it with a cup of coffee in the morning as well.
Milk somehow got on my nerves. Skipped it after a while. Don’t know exactly why.

Nice beats again on Therapy, bit more busy as well , really liked this one. The next song Gita wasn’t for me. Ilona was a good one again with a nice vibe and cool beats. Damage done and this time just passed by and I wasn’t really listening any more. Good chilled out music and a nice album overall.

New discovery – Vohkinne

Just discovered techno producer Vohkinne , read an interview with him on attack magazine.

Nice dark techno just the way I like it , not everything he made is on Spotify, but you’ll get the idea. Search for vinyl as he releases his tracks on the black stuff mostly.
Really like his style.