After building performance patches with MAX/MSP for a fair while I picked up Nicolas Collins fantastic book "Handmade Electronic Music" and was surprised how fun, liberating and simple it was to build simple little CMOS oscillators and get really interesting results. I've really got to the point where I don't want to be looking at a screen when making sounds and love that with this stuff there's always a conversation going on between your hands and your ears. Consequently I'm trying to move completely away from the computer (a challenge as I use field recordings prominently - my best solution so far is sound files triggered from an SD card slot in an Arduino).

I was wondering if anyone else is moving in this way or has found a really comfortable way to marry the two approaches to making sounds?



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I sort of felt the same thing. I had spend so much time on the computer, and the physicality was lost. That's when I got a bit into physical computing, a little of circuit bending and lots of field recording. I still love doing software stuff, so I won't give that up quite yet :-)

The way I have combined this is by building physical devices as an interface for stuff I programme in Max/MSP... I use motion tracking, sensors, buttons, etc. To me, it doesn't have to be one or the other, but rather a pick of the best of both worlds.

  • Agreed @Andrew. Have you had any luck building sensors that aren't tethered to computer (bluetooth? radio?)? It's almost a pointless obsession but I kind of feel that if I'm gonna use my Max patches I don't want to see the screen. I feel like the screen blocks me in and affects my intuition for improvisation a bit, (and I'm sure I heard some psychologist that seemed to suggest the same thing). Do you still use your computer as the hub for everything to flow into or is your approach more open ended? Have you had any luck building matrices? Sorry for the random questions Regards - James Jun 28, 2010 at 19:09

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