composition, performance

A structured improvisation workflow

Ok here is a fresh improvisation using a variation on the Launchpad / Ableton setup. More details after the jump.

First an explanation of the workflow:

  • Macbook Air / Motu Ultralite / SKONLab Nord Modular setup / Launchpad S
  • A MacMini running Splashtop 2 is displaying the Nord Editor for the MicroMod and G1 Rack on the Asus Monitor.
  • Using LPC-Live with Ableton Live 9 there are 3 MIDI tracks set with a Max For Live MIDI effect especially designed to control the COOPsynth FM patch on the Nord Modulars.
  • The Micromodular is running through the Boss DL7 delay and channels 3/4 of the G1 are going through the Korg AM8000R reverb.  Channels 1/2 run clean back into Ableton.
  • Each slot is setup with its own audio channel for recording – these are routed to sends where appropriate.
  • There is an audio track receiving the Microphone in, running through Sonic Charge Permut8 plugin onto the FX1 and 2 return channels.  I’m bypassing the Master to avoid excessive feedback.
  • FX1 has Reaktor with an instance of Twisted Tools Scapes setup on it.  FX2 has Loomer Shift2.  These go directly to the Nords bypassing the master.

One of my primary goals is to develop a workflow for structured improvisation with feedback delay possibilities between the Nords and processes on the Macbook.  I’m particularly keen to get something that starts where the Diaspora “All Seeing Eye” track(below) from over a decade ago begins – a feedback delay process allowing for the development of complex sonic interactions in real-time.

At the moment this workflow has promise but is too complicated and fiddly to interact with.  One issue here is the use of Twisted Tools Scapes.  It really is very useful and provides an interesting element to the overall sound, however it is difficult to control live without the associated Lemur patch.  Unfortunately connecting the Lemur to Reaktor remains a painful prospect.  I followed the instructions strictly and could not get an OSC reading in Reaktor via Adhoc.  Using the local wireless OSC messages appeared but the ensemble wasn’t picking them up.  I’m sure there is an easy fix but I don’t have the time or patience to mess around with adhoc / wireless inconsistencies.

Mira seemed to work a little more naturally so there is the possibility I could setup a Max4Live control panel.  Something utilising the tap delay would be useful in this setup however, given all the frustrations i’ve had with using the iPad as an adhoc controller, i’m not very motivated.  Demotivating me further are reports of Mira failing in live performance – not what I want to hear.  Perhaps a USB hub and the NanoKontrol?

I was reminded by a Wiggler that I should try out Zebrify – the FX version of Zebra which I’ve never even loaded up.  U-He also make MFM2 which i’m prepared to give another try.  It seems very complicated but many sources point to it being the feedback delay plugin i’m looking for.

Finally there have been a few uploads to Soundcloud since I last posted.

Using the same source material as the original piece this track demonstrates the ease at which a piece can be deconstructed and remixed with Ableton, the LPC and SKONLab.

A short bit of Throbbing Gristle with Scapes, Live9, LPC and SKONLab that could be the intro to some body horror.

This piece started out as part of the same jam as the previous track however I decided to experiment with Composers Desktop Project, using some fairly sharp harmonic filters.  The result is much more spacious and interesting sonically than the bleh meh noise crud it started out as.


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