Monday, October 31, 2005


I think I had my breakthrough today in building the midterm patch. I hope it's complex enough to merit its status as a major project for me. I was having some difficulty due to not having voices to work with and having to work in the abstract. I'll be collecting more voices to input on Wednesday before I finish this all up.

Where I had been thinking of actually editing word-by-word in Pro Tools, I decided I'd use the VocAlign plug-in to time-align voices for each story-bank, so that verbal flow is more seamless and the switching is not dependent on samples butting up against one another and sounding more jerky than necessary. As of right now, I'm switching at random between voices using selector~. I wonder if there might be a good or interesting way to control the switch rate (metro-banging a random object right now that is static at 200 ms).

Now, I just have to build the bank/story-selection portion of this patch. Next couple days should be plenty of time for this.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bang 'Metro'

I've come up with my midterm proposal:

The dance project this MAX/MSP patch will interface with utilizes content from a New York Metro newspaper from one day. It will feature separate banks of spoken word or phrase samples. Each bank of samples will comprise a particular story from the newspaper, read by multiple voices. The words will be heard in the order they appear in each story, chosen from different voices at random. Different story banks will be "loadable" from an interface within the patch. I also plan to allow for different playback speeds, and I may explore different uses for separate audio in the left and right channels.

The idea is to de-contextualize the news stories, to isolate them from their original use/functions as banal, semi-journalistic interpretations of daily events, and reinvent them through the use of multiple voices in a completely unplanned order (which will be different upon every playback). New meanings will be derived from the news as imagined by a cacophony of voices ranging from children to the elderly.

It is ultimately my goal to use sensors as control inputs to MAX to allow a dancer to manipulate the sound with envelope filters, sample retriggers/delays, and other effects. At this point, however, my budget and scope have to be limited, so this patch will serve as a dry run toward that goal, more of an installation to accompany a dance than a program that interacts with the dancer as of yet.


Now: gotta learn how to do it, and get some voiceover tracking sessions in!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I've been plugging through the MSP tutes again in an effort to try and understand this stuff better on a second run.

I am toying with a few different ideas for midterm/final and the dance project. One will necessitate a lot of recording work so I think it might be more viable as a final or as an extension of this class' work -- the idea is to track many excerpts from a newspaper, have possibly dozens of people reading the same stories, and then triggering different samples (opening different gates) with movement (the idea at its most sophisticated) or several wireless mouse-es. I've read up a bit on sensors and am not sure what to do yet: several cameras could be very cool to use but then there's a big jitter element added to the project. That could be cool but I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.

I'll have to make some decisions and roll with them for the 18th.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tempo patch

For some reason while in the course of working with tutorial No. 31, I couldn't get the "tempo" object to do anything.

I re-booted MAX and it was then fine. Wondering if in general that's something that just happens from time to time, or if it's just a bug with this object related to the patches I had open before.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

When the current died

I experienced some computer scares this week and reformatted / backed up my Powerbook's internal HD, which needed to be done. Judging by the performance of the machine since, I came to the conclusion that the new 2 gigs of RAM I installed a week and a half ago were not right for my system. Specifically, it was causing constant reboots without warning, which was scary.

Finished the MAX tutorials this week -- my pace was OK, I guess I thought through #25 was due last week, and I'm glad it isn't because it gives me some more time to both revisit what I've already looked at, and play around with the program today. It's one of my "free" days until class at 6pm. In general, it's easy to get sidetracked making sounds with the MIDI-based patches. I'd like to mess around more with the different controls on my Oxygen8 and see what kind of noise I can make -- I never really dived into synths as more of an "organic" instrumentalist looking for synths that would just come close to "real" sounds like the B3.

Note to self: one really needs to explore the sensor-building / use aspect of the MAX community in depth if one is to have any success creating patches that interface with dance.

On that note, this week I'm going to meet with my good friend Adrienne, choreographer for VIA Dance, to talk about logistical and conceptual issues for the piece I'm going to set in motion for this class. Being able to shape my designs to her neeeds will definitely sharpen my focus.