To The Max!

Snippet of a snapshot of our mid-term project

Working with Max MSP has opened up so many possibilities for the way I would like my music to sound.  I feel like I have little experience and time to play around with programs other than Garage Band, Ableton, Audacity and Frooty Loops.  Garage Band of course is so user-friendly that you can whip something up in a matter of minutes, but not being able to tweak the sounds to my liking gets kind of awkward.  Ableton is handy for “jockeying” music — it’s the next step in computerized DJing.  Since I am still searching for a set of speakers and a stereo receiver to use on my analog turntable, Ableton allows me to access the feeling of maneuvering and toggling.  Audacity is good for normalizing and quick equalization and leveling, but it tends to freeze and most of the time frustrates me in that it’s limited.  I just haven’t had time to use Frooty Loops but it’s a pretty popular program so I at least know I have many human and google resources to look forward to…. ehhhhh when I get around to downloading it.

Max MSP, however, could theoretically work with any of these programs.  .AIF, .WAV, .MOV, .SWF, .MP3, you name it, Max MSP will take it.  For the most part it’s still developing so all it needs are interested programmers who are willing to make the impossible possible.  Max MSP recently crafted a patch that works seamlessly with Ableton so I’m excited about those possibilities.

In my electronic music composition course here at A&M, we have already gotten acquainted with a step sequencer, basic/rhythmic delay, multiple flangers, a way to make a loop using the delay function… At the moment we are in partnerships working on our mid-term projects.  You wouldn’t believe the stuff people have come up with.  I’m pretty proud of my peers.  We have violinist music majors who are working on avant garde ways to electronicize their beloved instrument.  There’s another duo that is working on making an electronic drum set into a set of loop pads and scale pads.

My partner Kimberly and I are working on a way to make storytelling a little more exciting.  More on that later, but you can hear stuff we’ve worked on (weekly assignments, nothing special).  This and this are just the tip of the iceberg.  My classmates’ assignments can be found at the link on the right side-bar of my blog (“Electronic Music Composition”).  Have at it!

And as far as music-making goes on a personal level, I can’t wait to see what I can do with Max along the lines of artists like Múm, Imogen Heap, Aphex Twin, and Daedelus.  If you don’t know what those sound like, have a hear… here.

Múm – We Have a Map of the Piano

I’m not quite sure what they use as far as programming goes, but the sounds they do make seem like they could be done in Max.  Really I just wanted to put this song on here.  They’re from Iceland, and … they sound like it.  I love when artists’ music can hearken to where they’re from.


Imogen Heap – Just For Now

I really wanted to put Frou Frou’s Let Go on here, but that’s not just Imogen Heap, nor does that band use Max or Ableton at all.  Imogen Heap, herself, however, does and phenomenally at that.  Plus, the woman looks like some sort of raging tropical bird when she performs.

Aphex Twin – Windowlicker

This video is one of those videos that heightens the song.   If you’ve ever seen Grandma’s Boy you’ll recognize the end as what JP is listening to while he’s working at his pod.  Haha.  That can probably ruin or amplify your perception of the song.  There’s an awesome version of this song mixed with M83 and Khia’s – My Neck My Back, called Pussy Licker.  It’s got a good beat and if you can get past the fact that it’s the nastiest lyrics you will ever hear, it’s enjoyable.

Daedelus – Sundown

I posted a Daedelus video up a long time ago, but he deserves several mentions all the time.  Also.  He looks like a friendly lad from the 1800s.  And maybe a goat from the 1800s.

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