Live-ElectronicCustomized software for composers, musicians, performance artists, film-makers...
Occasionally composers, instrumentalists or studios commission me to develop software according to their specifications, i.e. to create a realisation of live electronics. For the realisation of a compositional idea or an electronic extension concerning the instrumental or vocal playing, a tailor-made software is best suited. Apart from the technical management of the requirements for this software, the connection of the parameters to be controlled with hardware controllers is one of the most interesting aspects, because management and spontaneity require a combination of both. The result is called interface and can be a slider, pedal, keyboard, light or humidity sensor. Or a video camera, or, or, or... There are hardly any limits - even robotics can be used. My platform for such things is the "Programming Environment" Max/MSP. My "domain" in programming is - probably because I come from a piano background - to design instrumental playable interfaces.
In my work, video was once again the focus (2005). Of course I work in this medium as well as in the audio area, preferably in realtime. Through the use of video (can be with music) the room/space can become more perceptible, a new overall situation arises and one sense clears the others way.
However, the whole thing is a bit more like three-dimensional chess and requires time for deepening. Certainly, video will deepen its role in the near future, and perhaps, finally, in the untamed existence, it can also convey its charms.
I have so many open building sites that I have withdrawn from the live video. If you do everything yourself (electronics), there is very little time left to cultivate the musical skills - with additional video programming .... oh je ... Computer means making decisions.
In the video (above) you can see the "PlaYeR/CoNtRoL" software: on the left is the "terminal" - what can be seen on the computer monitor. On the top right you can see the settings of the iPad, on which different displays are possible. The visible controllers (dials, sliders, XY pads, waveforms) can be freely chosen / assembled and they are also stored in the presets. On the bottom right you can see the recording of the camera. Since many modules also have their own presets to save or recall "live" intermediate settings, I have integrated the LaunchKey Mini mk3 . The additional keyboard, controllers and especially the mini pads are a valuable addition (and with less than €100.- really affordable).
I created these processors as modules, which are color-coded for better recognition (iPad). For maximum flexibility, the audio in- and outputs of the modules are organized by a 20/20 stereo I/O matrix. For playing, the computer does not require to be in view - the software is controlled entirely by iPad, Launchkey Mini, pedals and keyboard. Assembling the iPad interface is done from the computer (in the "ConTroL" tab).
2006 - 2014
A live recording of "Morite", a composition by the sardinian composer Giorgio Tedde - with the mezzo soprano Sylvia Nopper and Thomas Kessler on live electronics is to be heard.
The picture shows the software I programmed for the performance of the piece "Morite" in 2013, controlled with iPad and iPhone. Worth mentioning is: the App to display the Controllers on iPad and iPhone, costs € 4,50!! On the right (below) is an older version of the software from 2006. Here you can see the doubling of all controllers on the monitor - this was a decision to be able to use everything without a faderbank. Altogether, compared to today a fairly high work expenditure was necessary, until at all times the first sound was heard. Also the setup of 2006 was "extremely" favorable at the time. The motorfader-bank cost about € 200. Previously, a comparable setup was more than 10x more expensive. For good Controllers today a golden age has begun.
The changes and simplifications caused by the new controller situation are enormous. The computer monitor no longer has to be with the performer or sound director, because all relevant information can also be displayed on the tablet/iPad. A big step forward, because the iPad is absolutely silent and without cable orgy to use. For this reason, the role of the computer has changed. A terminal is now displayed on the monitor in my software - all parameter and other addresses, interfaces and network settings, sorted in tabs. In addition, I have used the monitor function for the stage by means of a large peak meter or a grand numerical step/cue display - the important information can be clearly recognized even from a great distance. The luminosity and the zoom factor on the monitor used can be set up from the iPad and the musicians spot on stage.
These possibilities let the composer to experiment with the electronics in the best possible quality at home - something that could only be done in a few electronic studios not long ago. At that time, however, you had to work with technicians or students on the realization of the electronic part of the composition - often a lottery game - in tight time frames and at fixed hours...
Here are two screenshots of the current version of my Morite software, realized with MIRA. There are also the Preferences for Pitch Shift, Compressor, Reverb, Slider Modes and more. - also the activation of the software (and the audio system) is started from the iPad - from the Preferences tab [ON]. All important things can be adjusted on the iPad - also the effect amounts - during the sound check - while listening from the audience room.
The Terminal runs in the Computer (see above) and it can be located elsewhere, also out of sight - if it shouldn't take over visual tasks.
With the ubiquitous smartphones and tablets, today highly-sensitive and interactive controllers are almost always available! It is precisely these controls that have been the biggest (and most expensive) "problem" in the recent past. Even if for the last 10 years, low-cost MIDI motorfaders are available - the possibilities of the tablets are much wider and finally bring the separation from the computer machinery.
Here is a video of the piece "Boreo" by Giorgio Tedde, for which I have also developed the electronics (external link).Boreo Video
To be seen and heard are Miako Klein on various flutes (including a double bass recorder) and Theodor Milkov on drums. The recording was made on 10 November 2007 at Muziekgebouw Amsterdam.
Miako is currently working, I believe, at the Cirque du Soleil.
With the live visuals, it was a bit less complicated. On a couple of great evenings with the DJs Goran N., Manon and Pascal Feos (picture) in Basel and Lörrach (2005/2006), I used the audio outputs of the DJs console, grabbed the cam and had much pleasure with my video synthesizer "CLUTI" (Computer Licht Und Ton Instrument).
The Minimal-House and Techno scene responded extremely positively to the hallucinogenic, three-dimensional image floods. Interesting for me to come into contact with this scene!