a new video, and some words on what’s going on. i’ve been exploring this musical setup for some time now-- the two main components being:
- tone generation
- realtime resampling
mlr has supported live input since the beginning, though due to the precedence of loop pedals it was quite easy to stop at a “grab new sound then loop/cut.” my first move away from this was transposing the sound up/down by octaves and reversing the speed. then playing micro-loops. then layering multiple channels of the same sound.
mlr had the continuous-looping-sample option, but i typically only used that when cutting an incoming signal. around 2009 ro released seemeebeemin (maybe we can him to post it up again), which contained a few tracks a priori and senescence – both use mlr in live loop mode combined with pattern recording and multi-channel transposition which create a sparkly organic form of auto-arpeggiation.
i’ve been exploring variations of the above since then. the aleph patch skitter is in this territory, though more granular. the foot pedal switch input moves the playhead, booming a transposed-down version of the exact present incoming sound. if you missed it last year, here’s the scene in use: https://vimeo.com/87119053
before this there has to be musical content. harmony and chord progression are interesting to me-- so naturally i end up simply playing a keyboard. i recently toured with @instantjuggler and used an op-1 exclusively as a small keyboard synth (fed into mlr)-- jay later showed me the million other things the keyboard did. and while amazing, i still simply only need a tone making device most of the time-- an electro-acoustic one (such as a wurlitzer or rhodes) is often preferable as nuances are emphasized in the resampling process (with the tradeoff being travel weight).
the modular has presented some interesting opportunities, and honestly did not fit my creative process at all until monome developed a slew of modules. i couldn’t rationalize building a synth just for the audio path, if i was going to control it (monophonically) from a midi keyboard or DAW. but now with the trilogy and teletype, i’ve been making (what i consider to be) interesting experiments with just two oscillators (mangroves) and one filter (three sisters), when paired with a heap of grid-control systems.
teletype allows the composition of harmonic progressions that can evolve slightly over time or radically with triggered input. this transforms the live-keyboard-playing into more of a listening act-- steering parameters, changing the direction of an algorithm, and tuning levels through resampling system. the resampling system can be played. meadowphysics can be played. playing any instrument requires much listening, especially in an ensemble. but here the ensemble is the machine. and playing a sometimes unpredictable machine becomes mostly about listening.
an aside-- i’ve become less self conscious about just throwing a single 909 bass drum onto a single row of mlr. sometimes even without tempo sync. because everything doesn’t always need to be in sync. i’ve considered a small device with just a tempo knob, that spits out a bass drum.
i’ve been trying to reduce technical complexity in performance. i’ve made insanely elaborate sets that desperately require i remember what technical things need to be changed as the show progresses-- the act of playing is secondary to just keeping the ship afloat. these days i’d much rather have two knobs and a foot switch, and a well-understood grid application.
i’d be curious to hear others’ perspectives on all of these matters.