Friday, September 28, 2012

Orion Variations on Circ5 Glitch



I have been on an all acoustic tangent for the last little while.  Partially due to Tears of the Moosechaser and partially due to a failing Macintosh Powerbook G4.  The G4 has been replaced by an all new Macbook monster which has meant all new software or at least all those updates I couldn't get because of antiquity of my tools.  I usually hold to the idea that tools are just a means to an end and it is the user that creates but I am not going to lie the toys really open up new doors.   

So here is a little experiment with Max6 which has completely swallowed MSP and Jitter into one behemoth which after using a while has become quite a delightful change from the old version.

The idea was to create a custom controller using the Circle of Fifths.  Of course it was inevitable to build an autopilot to play it with and the first and easiest was random chord and scale variations of the chord playing into perpetuity.  

 I used an object called urn to hold all the possible keys major and minor (24 total) and output them randomly with out repeating.  Using the same object I built a melody engine to play notes of the scale selected.  Some kind of autonomous 12 tone cycling music that is not 12 tone at all rather 24 tone.  I had to cut out 7th notes because they made the transitions from chord to cord funny about half the time.

Basically all the program outputs is midi information.  I connected it to a synth for a sound source like Bladerunner or some other Vangelis 1980s sci-fi movie so thus the name.  The bug in the code though is the really interesting part,  If Miles Davis says there are no mistakes in music just happy accidents this is definitely no exception.  I haven't yet figured out what causes the notes to stick but it is in the MIDI send out to the synthesizer somewhere. Irrelevant to the chord playing or how long the cycle goes on. 

Funny thing though was my computers almost aware willingness to play along I have the screen saver set to dictionary(considering myself the occasional wordsmith) and the computer went to sleep while I was filming the patch with my phone. Just after I got up to deal with the glitch.  The word it chose was:

INJUNCTION

Happy to have this captured pretty much makes an entire conceptual performance piece out of an experiment.