Archive for the ‘Max/MSP’ Category

“Watermachine” Sound Installation at LeMieux Galleries

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

WatermachineI currently have a sound piece playing at LeMieux Galleries as part of the group show “Water, Water, Everywhere” curated by Christy Wood.

The “Watermachine” plays  a predetermined, but constantly evolving mix of three long (around 5 minutes each) field recordings I made: a waterfall in North Carolina, the surf in Alabama, and a thunderstorm in New Orleans.

It was created with Max/MSP (a “visual programming language for media“), some free sound editing software and a mobile recorder (Zoom H2). Two of the sound sources have their volume controlled by a very slow oscillator (LFO), each on cycles of a prime number of seconds so that the volume curves don’t realign at the same places for a very long time—and when they do, they are each referencing a different part of the sample. Though subtle, the sound mix would not repeat itself exactly for many years. The third sound source, the waterfall, is brought in algorithmically when the sum of the other two sources has dropped below a certain threshold, and fades out again when one or both are audible again.

Experience “Under Pressure” online

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

“Under Pressure” with video animation by David Sullivan and sound by yours truly was a piece exhibited at the Duets show at Loyola last year and later at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

I neglected to post the video online, but here it is. View it in fullscreen with good speakers if possible!

Under Pressure from david sullivan on Vimeo.

Audiobiography (for Disquiet Junto)

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

My third (or fourth?) entry to the Disquiet Junto is a 2-minute narration that was uncomfortable to do. I initially resisted doing this “audiobiography”, as I generally dislike the self-consciousness that arises from talking about myself or hearing my voice, but as so many others in the Disquiet Junto have done it, I felt like I was cheating by skipping it. By the time I was finished, there were many things I didn’t talk about that contributed to the whole picture that didn’t make the cut : Indian music, analog synths, field recordings, Autechre, My Bloody Valentine…. but I was already several minutes over the allotted time when I started editing.

I also created a new SoundCloud account to post works from this site. I’ll be retroactively posting all the tracks from this blog soon.

background music: Chef Menteur – “Io” (edits)

More on this #60th Disquiet Junto project at:disquiet.com/2013/02/21/disquiet0060-audiobio

More details on the Disquiet Junto at: Groups – Disquiet-junto

More details on the SoundCloud “audiobiography” project at: blog.soundcloud.com/2013/02/06/audiobiography/

Disquiet Junto: Morsebeat

Friday, January 4th, 2013

this is a track I composed for the 50th disquiet junto project.

my grandfather was a big time ham radio operator who had talked to every country in the world, and he convinced me to get my novice license as a young kid, where i learned morse code. he passed away about 10 years ago but i am always thankful for his interest in electronics and tinkering that he passed on to me. the call CQ or “seek you” is what ham operators use to initiate conversation, that is the foundation of the pulse of this piece. the other signal incorporates a simple message from my (expired) call sign to my grandfather’s, whom his friends called Wallace and we called “Pops”. his call sign was K4TJL.

K4TJL

i used max/msp to generate the morse code messages, (a little rusty to do it manually) and i ended with a sample of the Radio Tirana (from communist Albania) interval signal that I could pick up on my Heathkit ham radio, and was magical to me as a kid.

more on this 50th Disquiet Junto project
more details on the Disquiet Junto

Note: I first found out about disquiet and its founder/former NOLA resident Marc Weidenbaum when he reviewed my band Chef Menteur’s earliest mp3s and wrote about New Orleans’ burgeoning electronic music scene in the early 2000’s (See this 2005 piece he wrote right after Katrina). He’s only gotten more involved in the electronic music community since moving to San Francisco, keeping regular dispatches up and engaging via his twitter account @disquiet. His Disquiet Junto project on SoundCloud is now one year old; and this is my first entry, posted near the end of year one…. Congrats & thanks Marc!

“Duets” Closing Tonight at Loyola

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Tonight is the closing (there was not an opening) for the Duets show at the Collins C. Diboll art gallery at Loyola University in New Orleans. David Sullivan and I put together a piece for it. It’s the same as can be seen at the Ogden but the presentation is closer to our intention here: the display is much larger (projector) and the audio is full range (speakers with subwoofer).

Duets closing flyer

David made the video; I made the audio using analog synthesizers, field recordings I made of tree frogs in the neighborhood, Max/MSP and Max for Live.

Chef Menteur video made with Max/MSP

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

I used Max/MSP to filter and mix semi-autonomously a couple of video loops I shot in Greece, and put it to music, that being the Chef Menteur song “Narconaut” (the first track off the new record).

Chef Menteur: “Narconaut” from Chef Menteur on Vimeo.

Music by Chef Menteur | Photography by Alec Vance

(c) 2012 Backporch Revolution Records

Animation/sound art at Ogden Museum

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

I worked on a piece with David Sullivan that was accepted for the Louisiana Contemporary exhibition at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The show will be free and opens this Saturday, August 4 (6-9pm) for White Linen Night.

For my part, I used Max/MSP, a Korg MS-20 (classic analog synth), and some field recordings of tree frogs I made on Adams Street by the graveyards in my neighborhood.

A slightly different version of our animation can be seen on vimeo.

Arcade Sine Wave: Art Installation

Friday, March 18th, 2011

A nifty art piece by David Fodel that uses an old arcade game console and elements of my Max/MSP project Sinewave Workshop to produce a unique installation. Very cool to say the least; check it out:

See Hear Now – Interactive Installation at Pirate Gallery from david fodel on Vimeo.

Sinewave Workshop: A drone machine in Max/MSP

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I have finally got something that I made in Max/MSP that I like well enough to send out into the world.

This project was started many months ago under the somewhat tongue-in-cheek name “potpie simulator”, and although I have left some visual artifacts to spice up the interface, I changed the name to “Sinewave Workshop” because it simulates my controversial musical friend potpie no more than a stack of AC/30’s and a Les Paul simulates Brian May of Queen. It does simulate his most famous (and crowd-dispersing) setup, such as I remember from the many times Chef Menteur played a show with him, but it differs from a few important ways as well.

potpie_simulator_1.0.7

Sinewave Workshop 1.0.7 for Mac OS X

The bank of sliders allowing you to add harmonics via additional oscillators (and detune them) is not a feature of the classic potpie setup, but would be similar to running the signal through the Electro Harmonix POG or HOG pedals. In addition, the knobs above the sliders give you the ability to detune each oscillator slightly for that groovy “beating” sound common in analog synthesizers and tube/transistor organs.

There is an onscreen mini-keyboard you can use to set the sine wave generator to exact note frequencies (equal temperament, A=440Hz), and you can even attach a MIDI keyboard and play the notes that way for an organ-like sound. If you have a MIDI fader box or other controller you can use that to change the volume and tuning of each slider and detune knob in the harmonics section. I have an Evolution (now M-Audio) UC33e that I use for this.

The range knob on the emulated sine wave generator does not multiply by factors of 10, but by factors of 4, which means that each turn of the knob will raise or lower you by two octaves instead of some non-musical ratio.

There is a little bit of vibrato modulating the sine wave. (I plan to add a switch or knob to change this.)

The delay section simulates one pedal, you can turn off the incoming sample by clicking the light blue square button (or hitting the spacebar) and the delay will continue to cycle. To really get the “potpie sound”, turn the mix up to 100% and the feedback to 90%, and only let sound through sporadically with the button or spacebar (changing notes in between).

Possible future improvements:

  • square wave option
  • Multiple delays, including an 8-second one to simulate the DigiTech 8001.
  • Delays with white noise and 12-bit sampling (for that old school grungy digital sound).
  • Vibrato depth/rate control.
  • Wii-remote control. (Actually I already had this working, but was so hard to set up the Wiimote that I removed it for now.)
  • OSC control… so you can use your iPhone to control it.
  • An “organ” version that allows you to play chords with MIDI keyboard and releases notes when key is released.
  • A Max For Live version

Special

Download link for this project is below. It requires Mac OS X 10.4 to run as a stand-alone app. If you have Max/MSP (version 5 or above) you can download the max collective:

Sinewave Workshop 1.0.7 (standalone application for Mac OS X 10.4 or later)

Sinewave Workshop 1.0.7 (Max collective; requires Max/MSP 5.0 or later)

Enjoy, and please let me know how you like it. I’d appreciate any feedback (no pun intended) from both people wanting to use it as a simple musical instrument and folks who are familiar with Max and take a look at my patch. Note that I have Max For Live and “borrowed” the delay line patch from one of the tutorial sessions; my much more simple one had noticable clicks when you changed the delay time.