Upcoming things

A few things I’m involved with…

Jamie Forth, Geraint Wiggins and I are researching the representation of music in conceptual space.  We have a fledgling website, which serves as a home for our IJWCC paper Musical Creativity on the Conceptual Level.

On Thursday 23th October it’s the launch party for the FLOSS+Art book, which I contributed a chapter to.  More info

Then, a headphone session at shunt this Friday 24th October, as part of the netaudio festival.  More info.

Also I’m honoured to be giving a talk about livecoding followed by a slub performance with Ade and Dave at the computer arts society on November the 4th.   More info

We’ll probably do a dorkbotlondon on November the 6th, see the dorkbotlondon website for more info.

Then off to Poitiers for the fine Make Art festival at the end of November for more slub and livecoding.  More info

Dorkcamp and new demo

Two posts rolled in to one, to annoy the aggregators a bit less (sorry haskellers, more haskell stuff soon).

First, dorkcamp is a lovely event in its third year.  The idea is for around 60 of us to go to a campsite an hour out of London, well equipped with showers, toilets, a big kitchen and hall, and do fun dorky stuff like soldering and knitting.  It happens at the end of August, tickets are running low so grab yours now.  More info on the website and wiki.

Second here’s a new demo, this time with two drum simulations, one high and one low:

poei hoio _ topo _ _

Here’s a screencast of my current vocable synthesis prototype, it’s starting to sound interesting… Apologies for the rubbish resolution and the clipping/distortion of sound in some places of the recording. Vowels control properties of the simulated drumskin (using waveguide synthesis), consonants control properties of the mallet and how it strikes the drumskin.

In the video the visualisation shows the structure of the drum, and where it is being struck. Where you see a line across the drum, it means the mallet is being hit across the drum rather than just in one place. The nonsense underneath is me typing words to try to make some nice rhythm out of them. Underscores are rests (pauses) in the rhythm.

You can get a better quality avi here (33M), there is still some annoying clipping on the sound though.

More info and a better quality screencast soon…

Visualisation of a triangular mesh

Here’s a visualisation of my drumskin simulation, slowed down a lot. I hit the (square) drumskin in various places then hit it all over until it goes crazy.

I have a prototype of control over it with phonetics which I’ll be demoing tomorrow (Friday 4th July) at the sonic arts festival unconference in Brighton, probably around 11am although being an unconference, the schedule might change. I’ll also be on a panel with my favourite heroes Nick Collins, Dan Stowell and Sarah Angliss later in the day.

Mallets and Meshes

I have my drum physical model working with the mallet from Joel Laird’s PhD work that I mentioned before.  So, now I can control the tension and dampening of the drum and the stiffness, mass, initial x/y position, angle/speed of movement and downward velocity of the mallet.

I made a recording giving an idea about the range of expression possible so far.  All sounds come from a single drumskin model although five different mallets with different properties may be hitting it in different places and directions at the same time.  The tension and dampening is varied as you can hear.  I think it sounds pretty good considering no effects are applied.

Here it is in ogg and mp3 format.  Watch your bass bins, there’s a lot of low frequencies.  In fact it’s about silent on my laptop speakers.  Any glitches are down to me not running the software in realtime mode…

Live coding @ Goldsmiths College, this Thursday 5th June

I’m doing a talk with Dave Griffiths about live coding this Thursday, from 6pm til 8pm in the Seminar Rooms at Ben Pimlott Building (Ground Floor, right), Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, SE14 6NW

Here’s the blurb:

Live coders program in conversation with their machine, dynamically adding instructions and functions to running programs. Here there is no distinction between creating and running a piece of software – its execution is controlled through edits to its source code. Live coding has recently become popular in performance, where software is written
before an audience in order to generate music and video for them to enjoy. McLean and Griffiths have played around Europe together with Adrian Ward as the live coding band “slub”. They will talk about the history and practice of live coding, and give some demos of their own live coding environments.

Alex has been triggering distorted kick drum samples with Perl scripts for far too long. He is a PhD student at Goldsmiths Digital Studios.

Dave Griffiths writes programs to make noises, pictures and animations. He makes film effects software and computer games.

Dave & Alex are both members of the Openlab free software artists collective and the TOPLAP organisation for live algorithm promotion.  slub.org ; toplap.org ; pawfal.org/openlab ; pawfal.org/dave ; yaxu.org

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THE THURSDAY CLUB is an open forum discussion group for anyone interested in the theories and practices of cross-disciplinarity, interactivity, technologies and philosophies of the state-of-the-art in today’s (and tomorrow’s) cultural landscape(s).

For more information check http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/gds/events.php or email Maria X at drp01mc [at] gold.ac.uk

To find Goldsmiths check http://www.goldsmiths.ac.uk/find-us/

Late summer events

I’ve had a paper accepted to ICMC (International Computer Music Conference) in Belfast.  My paper isn’t directly about livecoding but according to chatter on the TOPLAP list there will be a fair number of livecoding papers and performances around the conference, including a off-icmc livecoding event organised by Graham Coleman.   Looking forward to the schedule appearing…

Just after that from the 29th August is the 3rd annual dorkcamp, a weekend in a field doing strange things with electricity. The previous camps were fantastic, I can’t wait.

Then probably the following weekend, 6th September will be the London Placard headphone festival, an intense evening of diverse back-to-back 20 minute performances over a bank of headphone distribution amplifiers (and no PA).  Always extra-special and full of surprises, it looks like this will be a big one…

The physical modelling of drums using digital waveguides

Joel Laird completed a fine PhD thesis on physical modelling drums in 2001, which included C++ sourcecode for an accurate model of a drum and a felt mallet for hitting it with.  I’ve been in contact with Joel and am very happy to have prompted him to license the source under the GPL.

A .tar.gz file including some windows demo programs and the (Borland) C++ source is here.  I hope to make some time to translate some of it into realtime supercollider unit generators soon…

Thanks, Joel!

*update*

I ported it to GNU C++, a version with my edits is available here.

instructionset

A brand new website:
http://instructionset.org/

The idea is that every month some instructions appear and passersby add
their implementations in code.

Please let me know of bugs / omissions /  ideas!

Rhythm space

I’m working with Jamie Forth on ideas around spaces of rhythm. Here’s a demo (which might not work in feed readers):

The space has two quality dimensions, “intensity” (X) and “disorder” (Y). Drum patterns are arranged along these dimensions, so more intense ones are towards the left and more ordered ones towards the top.

Draw a line from a high hat to a kick drum. If you draw a short line the rhythms will be more homogenous. Certain angles have certain feels to them. Maybe. It seems a nice way of playing with polymetric rhythms as vectors anyway.

The demo by the way is coded in haxe and compiled to flash. The source code is here.