NINJAM network jam session

Try downloading it, it’s really quite a lot of fun to play with. No special musical knowledge required (but understanding Live’s clip follow actions will help immensely).

Anyone planning on joining the “In C” Ninjam session - some notes from out rehearsal today:

  1. Tune up first
  2. Turn OFF the metronome. There will be a very loud 8th note pulse coming from one person’s feed (Jason has a good one that works well so we’ll likely use his)
  3. Stay on each cell longer than you might think (the shorter the cell, the longer you should keep repeating it)
  4. Try and let people catch up, and sometimes have you all playing the same cell (not in unison - the timings will be offset, which is what you are after)

Items 3 and 4 are what lead to the lovely sections where it goes calm and orderly, you get some lovely harmonies and subtle rhythms coming out.

We proved the concept today, it was a blast :smile:


Last night’s rehearsal. Really looking forward to tomorrow morning.


We stole “Locked Groove Orchestra” from @marcus_fischer


20 characters

“20 characters” was my second choice. :wink:


That was SO MUCH FUN! And it sounds pretty great too.


That’s actually now one of my favourite performances - there are some great moments in there. Sure, we aren’t wonderfully polished, but hey - I like that human element to it! And we are so much more locked into the groove than any group of people spread across the globe should ever be! It’s a bit of a mind bender, that musical tightness despite us being spread over 5,372 miles (from Santa Cruz to Slough!)

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(New version, just to fix a glitch in the sound: )

NINJAM uses a really cool collection of time-coded .ogg files to record jams in an extremely compact format. It’s not a very usable format in its original form (lots of tiny OGG files named with unintelligible UUIDs in many separate folders, all summarized in a clipsort.log file that contains timecoding and other metadata), but it’s quick work to take a folder of NINJAM files and open the clipsort.log file in Reaper. Reaper reassembles the whole thing into a multitrack Reaper project, with consolidated WAV files for each performer. The resulting WAV files can be many GBs, vs the 100MB or so that the OGG files might represent. Very cool stuff.

The gotcha is that you have to set some time period in the NINJAM server configuration for when it should stop writing to one folder and start writing to a new one. I chose a 2 hour period. What I didn’t know is that each performer’s track may stop in one folder and start in another one at slightly different times. So, this means if you try to heal up two sessions by just bumping the end of one up against the beginning of another, you’re leaving a gap. They’re more like jigsaw puzzle pieces, need to get the ends of each individual track lined up with the beginning of another. A bit more fiddly than rendering each folder to a stereo track and butting those two rendered files against each other.

Live and learn. Mostly learning that it’s best to let @ikjoyce do this task. :wink:

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Nah- it was just luck that I spotted the “ragged edges” in Reaper when I zoomed in!

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This sounds great! Nice jam y’all!

If one was using JamTaba in ableton and jamming with others would one be able to record oneself and others directly in Live?

Absolutely. Also, the JamTaba plugin (as well as Reaper) has settings for recording each performer out to a separate audio file.

So, the server records the session, and each performer can record the session, track-per-performer in all cases.

Nice. Did you use the servers recording because it is higher sound quality then? Seems more simple to record in your DAW.

It’s much simpler to use the server’s recording. Nobody has to press anything at all. It just works. (starting and stopping is based on absence/presence of silence)

Also, each performer’s recording is going to have different time codes. There’s an argument to be made that the server version is the canonical one. But that’s arbitrary, eh?

Much comes down to personal preference, but there’s nothing difficult about using the server version (aside from the tiny gotcha I mentioned that is easily overcome).

I’ve actually been tempted to play into a NINJAM server all of the time, just to get an automatic archive of everything I play without ever having to worry about hitting record.

That’s a great idea. I think you were talking about having a recording setup that just starts/stops with sound/silence in a separate thread. The NINJAM server would kind of do that then?

That’s exactly what it does.

That was fun! Thanks @ikjoyce for the inspiration and @mzero, @pirxthepilot, @MrsHardy, @iain for playing.

Fresh from their debut performance (Riley’s “In C”) The Locked Groove Orchestra were immediately looking at where to go next. A few suggestions were made for writing pieces specially suited to using Ninjam, as we are a global collective. This, our second outing, is a piece of music proposed by me, ikjoyce. The concept is simple - start with a cacophony of untuned oscillators / sound sources, and by listening to the other participants and slowly retuning to meet them, over time the group tries to bring everything to some kind of harmony and eventually finds a unified tone or timbre within, all by an unspoken consensus. If the opening cacophony represents the multitude of human voices, the final tone is that of the combined voice of humanity, and the whole represent the difficult but worthwhile effort of listening to and accommodating each other. - @ikjoyce

It has just struck me that what we were doing is a really extreme form of long distance additive synthesis. There are moments that we sound like a single synthesizer. - @ikjoyce


Only listened this time, but yep, great piece!


@pirxthepilot and I had some fun this morning.