SMC | ICMC 2014 – Athens

I really should write much more here, but for now I’ll display the poster that my brother kindly designed for my co-author, David Reeder, and myself.  We got some solid feedback, we started a mailing list, and now our paper is posted on the github page of an interesting effort called OSC Query.

Download (PDF, 51KB)

I also can’t resist posting a photo I took my last morning in Athens:

Athens Sunrise

Max Summer Workshop ’14

homemade wobble bass

Dates: 7-10pm Mondays June 9, 16th, 30th
Location: Arroyo Vista Recreation Center, Moorpark, CA
Cost: $110 per person if we can get 10 students. $90 if we get 15 (8 currently confirmed).
Instructor: Nathan Bowen (look around my site to get to know me)

Participants will need to provide their own laptop and have a working version of Max (the free 30-day trial works if yours hasn’t expired).

Planned Topics:

Session 1. Using simple objects to build complex stuff.
We will use the metro object and the random object to create complex polyrhythms and ambient textures, with MIDI messages that can easily port to Logic, Live, Cubase, or your sequencer of choice.

Session 2. Building a wobble synth and other FM synthesis topics
We will build a wobble bass synth from the ground up. We’ll also explore signal processing effects such as delay lines, flanging and chorus. We will also build a pretty powerful push button sampler. If there is strong interest, we can explore FFT as well.

Session 3. Mobile phone (or wiimote) as controller, augmenting acoustic instruments.
If you play the electric guitar, you’re probably familiar with effects pedals. Here we’ll treat Max as a customizable effects pedal, taking audio from the guitar, routing it through Max, and affect sound based on accelerometer data from the phone (or wiimote). The idea is to apply the concepts from session 2 to here. Not that we’ll go quite this far, but take a look at this for inspiration.

Note: When you buy a spot via Paypal, please provide your email address.  I will then send you the first week’s set of patches in advance. They’ll start with a simple patch, then another patch that adds a little more, moving step-by-step. You’ll be encouraged to tweak each patch as a means of understanding what’s going on.

Phone interface: fewer buttons, sliders

I’ve been thinking lately about how mobile phone interface design tends to be screen-centric. Here I attempted to use TouchOSC with no buttons or sliders, and simply tried to design a Max patch that would only leverage the phone’s accelerometer. I’m not so much interested in the sonic results here, but am definitely thinking about how much different the experience is when I do not need to look at the phone’s screen to make noise. More to come…

If anyone out there is interested in the patch, I’d be happy to share.

iPod and Apple’s ad campaign

Okay, though it’s not the current way Apple does iPod advertising, which mainly focuses on gaming and the newly embedded camera, to me the most iconic advertising Apple did with the iPod was when people danced all over the place in silhouettes against a monochromatic background.  Like this:

Let’s be clear about what is being emphasized here.  First, catchy music.  Music that you might not have known that well but are now thus tantalized to grab it for 99 cents. (For a list of music that’s been on iPod ads, go here.)  We all know that Apple, in this context, more or less functions as a both a hardware provider and a record label.  And their success with the iPod depended just as much on the musical content as it did with the device.

But lets talk about another point of focus Apple is honing, and it may or may not be meant to fake you out.

Continue reading

The thing is…

I just came across this quote by Matthew Herbert, and since I’m not sure where else to post it, here it is:

The thing is, you can take the sound of a pencil, and find enough noises in a pencil to blow your mind for the next 10 years! And yet you assume a pencil has no noise…. It’s not something you would associate with music, but it has the potential to produce a whole range of amazing and beautiful sounds. (Sherbourne, P. 2001. Mistaken Identity. XLR8 48:65-7.)


SEAMUS 2012, 4Quarters, and Ed Martin’s son

One thing I haven’t really given thought about is the possibility for my project 4Quarters to be tailored for kids.  But after watching SEAMUS 2012 Co-Director Ed Martin’s son come in and play with it, I realized this might be something worth developing.

There’s a feature in 4Quarters where one can access the ‘low shelf’ filter, and as it is currently set, one can isolate and amplify a narrow frequency band so that it is much louder than any other sound playing.  Check out Ed’s son going to town with it.

As a side note, having just returned from the conference, it was a stellar experience.  There’s such a wealth of knowledge and a lot of really great people, all geeking out together.  Really fun.  I was impressed with how well it all went.  Kudos to Asha Srinivasan, Ed Martin, and the rest of the crew that put it together.

SEAMUS 2012 – 4Quarters – TouchOSC layout installation

Hi SEAMUS folks:

Thanks for your interest in my upcoming installation at SEAMUS 2012. If you’re familiar with TouchOSC and know how to transfer files onto iTouch/iPhone, then you can download the custom layout here.  If you’re not familiar with the app, I have step-by-step instructions below.

(Unfortunately I have not yet been able to include other apps or mobile platforms reliably, but hope to expand compatibility soon.  If you want to participate but do not have an iPhone/iTouch, or if you do not wish to spend $4.99 on this app, there will be a devices on hand at the installation to use.)

1. Download TouchOSC on either an iPhone or iPod Touch.  If interested, you can get it here

2. Download TouchOSC Editor to your desktop or laptop (you can get it here for a Mac, here for PC, and here for Linux).

3. Download this custom layout, which is a zipped .touchosc file.

4. Transfer the file 4Q_SEAMUS_2012.touchosc  from your desktop/laptop to the iTouch/iPhone.  One does this by opening up the attached file in TouchOSC Editor, then transferring the file to the phone over a WiFi network (or one can use iTunes as well).  There’s documentation here explaining the process, and additionally here’s a YouTube video someone made explaining how to do it.

Once you have the file on your device, you’ll be set to go for the installation.  The first page of the file looks like this:

 I’ll help with connectivity at SEAMUS.  Let me know if you have any questions!