Wednesday, December 21, 2005

God damn.

This project has been a challenge in every sense of the word. In a "one step forward, ten steps back sort of way." I can't wait to have it done.

Getting the patch to fade between files correctly took the better part of a day. I finally came across an older version of the Tap Tools [tap.crossfade~] object, made by the fine people at Electrotap. It's helpful. I've still been having problems getting the assignments right (i.e. when you click on a particular stop on the subway, I want a switch to direct that sound to selector~, a crossfade to that sound, and a tag that will tell the player to use the other selector~/sample loadup set for the next stop you travel to -- that's a lot with one mouse click, after all). That's what tonight's dedicated to.

I also have been having freak problems like all of a sudden, loop function on sfplay~ not working. It also took some considerable time and some help from Jonathan to get it to unlock with the 5 necessary keys: 2 coord range operators (< >) each for X and Y, and the bang from mouse-click.

I've kind of felt all semester that there's no substitute for sitting and doing work in MAX regularly -- it is a language, and it's not learned easily. You begin to have objects and concepts at hand more when you've put that time in. That's not to say I haven't worked hard, but if I had my way it would be hours daily put into learning and using this, at least for awhile, rather than sitting at it on the weekends and trying to remember what I lost last week. Work schedules and holiday commitments and all that stuff kind of conspire against that possibility, though.

Alright, back to work.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

By the way...

Thanks Jesse and Jenny.

This wouldn't be getting done (and wouldn't be nearly as good) without you.

Where it's at

I'm in edit mode now, slimming down all the files from the subway field recordings to around 2 minutes and trying to get rid of annoying windy plosives and mic handling noise, as best I can. Given the choice I will probably go out and re-record the first (Bklyn) leg of the F-train map with softie but I am going to use what I have because of 1) time and 2) impending MTA strike.

The F-train sonic subway map is coming along, I emailed the max list for the first time requesting some help, because, well, poly~ is just so damned big, and I want to use it to my advantage. I found that last time I probably programmed things in a less streamlined fashion and could probably do better to make this one smoother, more interchangeable parts and less monolithic and stodgy. I think poly~ is the answer with its allowance of multiple iterations of one patcher but I need to understand fully how to interface it with a bunch of samples that I want to be ongoing, in stasis and not activated by the interactivity -- rather, I want them opened and closed.

Time to get back to figuring it out.

Sorry for not keeping up with you, blog.

McCarthy fans unite...

and rejoice...
and enjoy the sweet taste of the bait and switch
Bless this food for our use this day.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

a sure sign of things to come...

Work for my final project patch is underway. This patch is going to be an interactive / sonic subway map. It's going to be an installation work using recordings and images from outside / near every station (in this case for the F train, given its diverse locales). While the sounds of the subway are interesting and provide a sort of common ground for most New Yorkers, I'm more interested in the way we view the map as a series of destinations, so I'm doing wo minute field recording outdoors (above-ground) at every stop on the line. So far the results have been pretty fascinating; I've documented an expansive Jewish cemetary that sits steps from the train, sounds of a recyling center, a desolate Coney Island in winter, the bustling chic of Park Slope and Carrol Gardens, and more. Tomorrow I'll be editing down the sounds for use in the MAX patch.

It would be great, as Jonathan mentioned, to have a live setup for this, but that's looking at, at the very least, dozens, and at most hundreds of transmitters and mics. Money I don't have right now, but it'd be great to try and look at a grant for it.

As for this project, in MAX, once the map is clicked on, it will be activated with the sound of the stop nearest where the mouse has been clicked. Once another stop is clicked on, the sound will crossfade through to the clicked-on stop. The program is going to be set up in such a way as to be able to move easily between (sonic) locations. So now it's just a case of trying to get all this to work. I'm excited to be getting started on this.