Ensemble Topogràfic (Anna Hierro and Carlos Martorell) make use of an armband controller. Her arm positions are sent via Bluetooth LE to an iPad controlling granular synths. Aleatoric elements, along with improvisation, mean the piece won’t be the same twice.
Visited with Roger Linn’s LinnStrument back in October 2014, where it did duty as a pseudo-pedal steel guitar. How fun would it be to hook up with my beloved Gestrument or Alchemy on the iPad?
My art and image making have gobbled all my creative time for a year. (This puts the couple of hundred or so hours of recording activity in 2014 in bittersweet relief.) At the moment the only way to join the two creative urges are to contemplate their meta-integration at the one counterintuitive spot that a bridge is possible.
The bridge, existing right now as a vague complex archetype, integrates reverberation and symmetric pattern.
This Kamelmauz track from 2014 captures what I’m dreaming.
Last year the blog visited The Tank
Kamelmauz envisions this bridge in 2012:
Rheyne’s live jams have been featured on Tim Webb’s Discchord forever. His new Bandcamp album is tasty.
Synthesist Rheyne (Jon Barbieri) and guitarist Robert Manganaro mine the vein of improvised ambient on a terrific playlist full of chilled goodness.
The duo records their improvisations live and so all the loopng and sequencing and mixing is in real time. This is very hard to do as tautly as the two do it. Lots of technological acumen underlies the organic feel of these slow building improvisations.
Jon Barbieri (@RheyneMusic) – keyboards
jakoB haQ is royalty in the world of IOS music making. This impromptu track showcases his easy commany of the new fangled medium.
h/t Tim Webb Discchord
Great combination of hardware and mobile technology impressed me on this spacey and glitchy improv.
OP1, Octatrack, Phonogene, Nebulae, Big Sky, Monome, WTPA2, Samplr
Dave Stafford, a fellow traveller on the ambient path, is, apparently, a kindred spirit. Although, I’m fairly confident his music-making spirit has been burnished by many more suns than have cooked my own spirit. I say this because his body of work and writing about his work is enormous, and this all is fit to a huge sonic range of experimentation.
We both use the electric guitar as a sound source; we both love the iPad touch paradigm; we both tend to get all over the experimental sound-producing apps for the IOS music-making system; and, finally, we share devotion to Mixtikl, DroneFX, Vosis, TC-11, and Scape. Oh, and Dave digs Guitar Rig, as do I.
Dave also shares his philosophizing and what are to me, his “meta thoughts” about being an experimental musician in the fast moving environment of the DIY producer/composer/musician. Even more valuable are his ongoing studio notes. He is incredibly generous in sharing his sausage making tips. thanks man!
It is just a guess, but Dave and I share something key: we both are searching for the sonic epiphany.
Kamelmauz: sound design, synthesizer, sequencing, composition, improv
from Infinity track released 13 March 2015
Recorded at noguts noglory studios, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Produced by Stephen Calhoun
Note – I’m jazzed about the Enzyme Synthesizer from Humanoid Soundsystems. It’s in the same camp as my beloved and abandoned (by its developers) Alchemy. It is simpler, and more raucous in the way it handles samples.
Late last week one of my go-to iPad music app developers, Igor Vasiliev, released Soundscaper. I have recently being using his Altispace Reverb a bunch–after plugging into its library 325 convolution wave files from my own vast collection. Nowadays, I don’t pull the trigger on every intriguing music making app that gets released. Soundscaper had already earned a preview from Doug at The Soundtest Room. I’m not a big fan of the 8 bit, lo-fi ethos and even though I am an ambient-oriented, deep listening, slow music, (sure) soundscaper, I held off on Igor’s new app.
I also knew the usual suspects would soon enough weigh in. Tim Webb provided an amusing look at Soundscaper the effect–that isn’t an effect–and Doug did one of his breathless half hour in depth videos.
The review at musicappblog turned a phrase, And, like the difference between a blindfold, inexperienced potter with some lumps of clay and a spinning wheel, and an expert pot maker who can craft something beautiful with their eyes closed, mastering SoundScaper’s control set is going to take a little time…, and I pulled the trigger.
I started out with one of my raw drones in the first oscillator slot and approached Soundscaper as a performance interface. Instead of hearing its goal to be the result of the oscillator, instead I intuited that its goal is to perform the sample using manipulations of its interface. Soundscaper is not a synth, it’s a multi faceted means for manipulating a sample in real time.
Relative to actual human problems and the delicate equilibrium of the mortal coil, waking up one morning and learning that the software synthesizer you’ve made the biggest investment in over the years is no longer available, no longer being developed, and has come to be a casualty of its developer’s own unknown game plan, doesn’t count as a problem. Ben Gillett shuttered CamelAudio without notice last week.
He and his team developed plug-ins, and, CamelAudio released in the fall 2011 an IOS version of their flagship desktop synthesizer Alchemy. The IOS app was a boon to my own direction. Two and half years would lapse before I started using the iPad to control the desktop Alchemy. This provided another wave of inspiration. Alchemy is a unique combination of a sample-based resynthesizer connected to a very array of deep modulation concepts.
CamelAudio disappears, so my immediate problem-solving has to do with how to secure Alchemy remaining a central music-making tool on the laptop, and, on the iPad. The unknown future prospect is that the legacy installs will become broken by future updates. Luckily, both my four year old MacBookPro and three year old iPad 3rd Gen. can be dedicated to their legacy set-ups. This enables me to protect Alchemy and use it far into the future.
As for Camel Audio and Ben Gillett, I hope the sudden closing reflects the transfer of their intellectual property into hands that will honor CA’s innovative software by using it as the basis for amazing new capabilities and software. Amidst all the hand ringing and passive aggression which flavored the music making community’s response to the news, I dropped my own best wish: that Apple turns out to have been the purchaser, and uses Alchemy to burnish Logic X’s capabilities, and, deploys something like Alchemy as a flagship audio app fit to the large screen real estate anticipated to be the main point of the upcoming iPad Pro. It is even within the realm of possibility that Logic X will come to the iPad were ARM CPU’s to come to Apple laptops.
Hold onto to your Intel MacBooks!
Three track live-in-studio; iPad based: (1) TC-Data controlling AlchemyPro mobile synthesizer (2) “C” controlling Mitosynth (3) eBow processing pedal steel guitar [July 2014]
1. Alchemy Mobile Pro
5. Gestrument (sf2 synthesizer)
5. SP Electro
3. Ultra Phaser
4. Audio Reverb
During 2014, for the most part, Kamelmauz improvised in the studio in little mini-sessions during small slices of time. There was no point after January that he would focus obsessively on particular recording ambitions.
Kamelmauz: “The trick was sliding into the player’s chair ready to go with two iPads set to go, one as a synthesizer station featuring Alchemy Mobile Pro, Animoog, Mitosynth, and an iPad MIDI controller, and, the other iPad set up as a MIDI controller via wifi for an plug-in synth or sampler in Logic. This allowed me to quickly render two track recordings somewhat on the fly.
I heavily leveraged MIDI controllers to trigger composed sequences and improvs. On the iPad, the excellent Xynthesizer, ChordPolyPad, and, at the end of the year, SP Electro, all could be employed to design melodic progressions. I especially like Xynthesizer‘s random boxes which can be shaped as a generative elememt inside its equivalent of a piano roll. For improvising and ambient sound design in real time, Gestrument was my main tool for a second year. TC-Data proved to be good for recording intuitive hits and stabs.
On the laptop side, using the iPad as a controller really refreshed my approach to using go-to AudioUnit tools in Logic. Although my long-in-the-tooth MacBook sometimes balked at real time two track live recording, once I removed the iConnectMIDI aggregate device and went back to routing audio individually from the iPads into the laptop’s Focusrite I/O interface, everything worked much more smoothly. The other mode I used was recording audio from one iPad and using the other to control via wifi MIDI my favorite software synths, Alchemy, Absynth and the sampler Kontakt. This was a completely successful workaround to any direct recording overload, with clock set by the Focusrite interface.
It is easy to overwhelm processing bandwidth on an iPad. I did a lot of tinkering. For me, Audiobus is nifty for recording to the iPad Air, but, I do not load up the signal/effect chains. I found InterAppAudio to have better overhead, so, by the end of the year I was using Audioshare as my down-and-dirty iPad recorder. In the aforementioned two track set-up, besides recording to a bus, I would usually use effects in Logic rather than on the iPad.
The biggest fault of the iPad is inconsistent levels at the output of the interfaces I use, the Behringer UCA222 and the Line6 Sonic Port. The former does have a level wheel, whereas the otherwise solid Sonic Port does not. My sense is the configuration of gain in the IOS Audiocore is tied to hardware considerations because I have found it usually advantageous to back off the internal gain by one increment.
My hope is 2015 will provide me with some obsessive washes of studio time to start to deal with approximately 200 hours of raw recordings, recordings that were the fruits of many a ‘short late night session.’
What I term workshop tracks get uploaded to the never-ending album, Infinity, at Kamelmaus-soundz.bandcamp.com. This new track didn’t need to be pieced together. It’s a slightly contracted version of a nine minute improv using Xynthesizer as a controller and means for intervention, and, using it then to control (play) the new flocking synthesizer Photophore and Alchemy Mobile Pro. Both are in Audiobus and run through the Crystalline effect (from Holderness Media.) The audio stream was captured in Logic on a laptop, re-panned and lightly mastered using Native Instrument’s new delay Replika, and my go-to reverb, 2C Audio Aether.
Mercy, Whom I Have Never Met is in a minimalist vein I have been spending little slices of free time wandering within, so-to-speak.
Grabbing little moments to do audio experiments means that at the end of 2014, I’ve got two workflow modes I can deploy quickly. The basic Kamelmauz workflow is either in the “A” mode, where both iPad are piped into Logic on the laptop. The most complex array I manage at once involves setting one iPad up to execute a composition translated to MIDI or otherwise programmed into an iPad MIDI controller–such as the superb Xynthesizer–and then this controls one or two synthesizers slotted into Audiobus. The other iPad then is used to be the live, or performance, foil. I usually use Gestrument, my go-to controller for the past two years, to control either an iPad synthesizer or to control a software synthesizer or sampler in Logic (DAW.)
I spent the first half of the year trying to get iConnectMIDI4+, an audio I/O and audio and MIDI router, to consistently work as an aggregate device in Logic, but I have given up. I’m back to charging the iPads to 100% and running the older one through a Behringer UCA-222, and the newer Air through a Line6 Sonic Port, then routing iPad audio with direct 1/4″ stereo connections to a Focusrite Saffire audio I/O,then into Logic.
In A Mode I improvise on one iPad against my own compositions being played via MIDI on the other iPad. This is equal to a live set-up were I playing out.
B Mode is so simple I use it to sometimes play myself to sleep, late at night with the iPad Air on my chest. Here I just take the composer’s set-up in A Mode, and much more actively intervene to play the controller controlling iPad synthesizers in Audiobus, and recording the playing and interventions using Audioshare or Multitrack DAW. Audioshare gives easy access to Inter-App-Audio, so a full chain can look like this, for example,
TC-Data (MIDI controller) –> [AUDIOBUS] Alchemy Pro Mobile->AUFX:Space (reverb)->Audioshare [IAA]->Ultraphaser
Gestrument (MIDI controller) set-up to execute a drone –> [AUDIOBUS] Animoog->AUFX:Space->Audioshare [IAA]->Ultraphaser
Although MIDI routing is crude within CORE MIDI on iPads, all one needs to differentiate controller streams is the ability to designate the different MIDI channels, and, so it is easy enough to do so if you choose capable partners such as TC-Data, Gestrument, Alchemy and Animoog. Xynthesizer makes this easy too, and so it’s also straight-forward to get a composition going while stabbing against it using Gestrument.
In Mode B, all audio is being processed by the iPad. Later, I export it to the laptop. I don’t have any hangups about quality because it is on a par with what my regular Focusrite I/O can render using digital synths as a source.
I wish I was talented like Rheyne.
I would contest the implicit theorizing that launches this video. Also, devolving a mix into pieces and setting up formulas to generate new iterations is obviously old school rather than visionary.
If Belew would be bothered to pen up his technology and make it a platform for my own stems, bits, and pieces, then I will dig back through his premises and see if his propositions do in fact constitute a new outlook.
Nevertheless, in noting my sense that Flux isn’t disruptive in its first iteration, I still think this is cool beans.
Apple App-Store has always been about the most staggering example of Apple’s do it our way or not at all business approach. It remains a monstrosity stuck to an intentionally opaque and user-hating front end.
For us music makers on IOS hardware I would suppose we’re used to it and have figured out workarounds. Yet, sometimes an enterprising user-intefrace innovator comes along and helps the cause in a fell swoop.
Audre.io, apparently, is working on a remote audio IOS app. At the same time they’ve engineered a very useful interface for searching through available IOS music making instruments and effects and hosts. Muy bien.