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What to use Max/MSP for?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author What to use Max/MSP for?
mtts
Posting this here, although it could probably be for the "Artist Discussion" or even "Production Techniques" sub forum as well:

I've been listening to a lot of Plaid recently and I'm remembering they used a lot of Max/MSP back in the day.

Now I'm quite familiar with Pure Data (Max/MSP's open source sibling) so I think I kind of have an idea what you can do with environments such as these.

That said, when I hear Plaid's music, I struggle to detect any of the advanced sequencing, not to mention complicated DSP tomfoolery that I tend to associate with Max/MSP*

Do any of you have an idea what it is they did with Max/MSP? I'd love to broaden my horizons on what this tool is capable of.

* I know Autechre use Max/MSP as well, but I imagine in their music I can actually hear what it is they're using it for.
ignatius
i didn't know plaid use max...they've always used logic and talked a lot about it. i know their live set is usually organized around logic using lot's of 'touch tracks' features in logic.. or it used to be.. i haven't really kept up w/plaid.. but i like their recent 2 track EP a lot.. bet Nat i think it's called.. it's really good.


edit: but you can do anything in max.. really.. you don't have to make it sound like complicated dsp stuff.. you can sequence all kinds of melodic harmonic whatever in it... it's got lot's of that in it and is there for the taking...
dubonaire
Plaid have used Max/MSP and also M4L in the past. They have said in interviews they used to build plug-ins using it.

I wouldn't be surprised if the P-Brane EP has some Max action in it.
criticalmonkey
i've used it for plugins, recording, sequencing, complex interface control - midi and cv, performance, interactivity of various sorts and video generation/manipulation

basically if i have an audio/midi/video problem - it is a tool to get a very custom solution, at the expense of time - is the way i think of it

I'm not that good with it - i borrow a lot from others work so i can get my needs met, and i keep building my tool box so it gets easier every time -

i know some people who continually develop their patches into a personal "instrument" - like they build their philosophy of music creation and performance into it - refining over years -
cool stuff - but not for my way of working, i have commitment issues i guess
dubonaire
criticalmonkey wrote:
basically if i have an audio/midi/video problem - it is a tool to get a very custom solution, at the expense of time - is the way i think of it

I'm not that good with it - i borrow a lot from others work so i can get my needs met, and i keep building my tool box so it gets easier every time -

i know some people who continually develop their patches into a personal "instrument" - like they build their philosophy of music creation and performance into it - refining over years -
cool stuff - but not for my way of working, i have commitment issues i guess


Yes I think you need to have the problem before you look to it for the solution. Even though you can do everything with it you can also do almost everything else much easier with other tools.
mtts
dubonaire wrote:


Yes I think you need to have the problem before you look to it for the solution. Even though you can do everything with it you can also do almost everything else much easier with other tools.


Hmm ... maybe that's the problem. I'm not imaginative enough to come up with a problem for which Max/MSP would be the solution.

Same for Reaktor, actually. For most of what I want to do in my life, Ableton racks are sufficient. seriously, i just don't get it
dubonaire
mtts wrote:
dubonaire wrote:


Yes I think you need to have the problem before you look to it for the solution. Even though you can do everything with it you can also do almost everything else much easier with other tools.


Hmm ... maybe that's the problem. I'm not imaginative enough to come up with a problem for which Max/MSP would be the solution.

Same for Reaktor, actually. For most of what I want to do in my life, Ableton racks are sufficient. seriously, i just don't get it


I don't think that's a problem and you may underestimate your imagination. And many artists make great things with simple tools.

A lot of artists use Max for integrating video and sound and for live performance which draws on a lot of the interface objects.
mt3
http://motscousus.com/stuff/2015-12_Novation_Launchpad_Pro_Ableton_Liv e_Scripts/
phase ghost
I'm using it for sequencing. In particular, "modular" style sequencing. It's trivial to put together simple sequencers, clock dividers, switches, adders, etc. I'm actually trying to tame it down a bit, because it's so easy to stack 10 switches and dividers and get out of control.

I'm actually trying to feed Numerology into it right now, but it's not working exactly the way I want. Really want to get into the FFT side of MSP at some point.
dataf1ow
I can't speak to the particulars of what Plaid used it for, but I've used it in pretty much every musical project I've done in the past 10 years.

I do all my sound/music work in Live, so Max allows me to solve pretty much any problem that I run into in that environment. You can access the Live API at a reasonably low level, and do all types of tom foolery that usually isn't possible.

I programmed a bad ass looper from the ground up that has tight hardware integration and some amazing features for generating ideas. Its a big part of my creative workflow.

I have a small group of "CV Tools" that I use to generate pitch, cv, clock, etc. for my Eurorack.

All of the things I've done have been the result of running into a problem, or having an idea for something that didn't exist. It's a audio/video/MIDI swiss army knife. And I love it.
The Grump
Max is a ridiculously powerful tool, if you can bring yourself to put in the time and effort to really learn it. I've only scratched the surface, and I'm pretty well blown away at the possibilities. The thing is that it really is its own language, and handles information and ideas as such, and sometimes, in the process of trying to build or learn complex tools, a lot of inspiration turns into hours of tedium, headaches, frustration, research, waiting for responses to queries, etc..

Autechre still use it extensively. When they perform, that's pretty much all they use. Basically they spend most of their time these days just exchanging Max files, playing with them, modifying them, and send them back and forth to each other, sometimes recording in the process. *shrugs* It's pretty nerdly.
pilp
For creative Audio/Midi FX not available on other outlets.
CopperHydra
Autechre mentioned in an interview I read last year that the sounds and music for (i think it was exai or elseq) one of their recent albums was done with lots of FM Synthesis in Max/Msp with a little bit of modular and they mentioned an old piece of hardware but didn't say which or if it was used for anything more than a toy during the making.

Plaid organize their music in a different way than Autechre. If they used max for their latest album I'm guessing it's the build -up sequence part at the 2min mark in this tune

If you use a tool that you know how to manipulate very well, that doesn't mean you have to manipulate it to do crazy crazy avantechre blapps. To add to what has been said here, one can also use complex tools to craft simple things.
mtts
CopperHydra wrote:
If they used max for their latest album I'm guessing it's the build -up sequence part at the 2min mark in this tune


Yes, that's the general sense I'm starting to get from (ruminating on the responses in) this thread: that it might be the rich detail in their sound that might be what they use (or used) Max for: weird little sequences that most people would be very unlikely to come up with using a regular note sequencer. Algorithmic and slightly chaotic, but still mostly under control.

Something to start diving into, that's for sure.

Thanks! (This goes to everyone else who responded as well!)
BrokenBo
CopperHydra wrote:
Autechre mentioned in an interview I read last year that the sounds and music for (i think it was exai or elseq) one of their recent albums was done with lots of FM Synthesis in Max/Msp with a little bit of modular and they mentioned an old piece of hardware but didn't say which or if it was used for anything more than a toy during the making.

Plaid organize their music in a different way than Autechre. If they used max for their latest album I'm guessing it's the build -up sequence part at the 2min mark in this tune

If you use a tool that you know how to manipulate very well, that doesn't mean you have to manipulate it to do crazy crazy avantechre blapps. To add to what has been said here, one can also use complex tools to craft simple things.


autechre use max/msp for all their tracks.

i used it for audio/ video installation where we combined controlling audio/video with movement. its very powerful and you can create any sequencer, controller, logic, effect tool you can think of if you are willing to spend the time and effort to learn it properly.
alaindusmith
i did my university dissertation in max.... really great visual language. you can do so much, you can even use it to do non music things. you can use it to calculate equations or make computer games
bluehotel
i've seen really great applications of visual/audio performance achieved with max. you could use max to help with performances while using vanilla live to control the music.
Scoridd
Not sure about Plaid - when I seen them perform fairly recently, it didn't look like they had any Max/MSP running in their live setup. Way back when, there were some generative 'autechre' patches knocking around for Max/MSP that were heavy on FM drum synthesis.

I've recently used it mostly for prototyping plugins, before writing them in code; and with M4L it makes the process pretty effective. It's a lot easier and faster to change things in max than in code, which makes it ideal when working on something more abstract.

Back in the early 2000s, when I started using it, I think it was the case that you could really differentiate your sound by using Max, over say a more traditional production environment. But these days, there's so many options out there that's not really the case any more.

But if you want to say, create a hyper-custom audio/video performance tool, or integrate an Arduino and sensors in to your music creation process, then it's still hard to beat.
bryz
I'm taking a class that involves MAX/MSP next semester so I'll let you know what the heck we end up doing with it ...
inoshi
i use it for everything. i don't own any gear or any other software. my music isn't very good but it's a lot of fun.

instead of building reusable modules i just try to build a new synthesizer each time and a new sequencer. eventually i might make something decent enough to reuse it.

there are a lot of great objects but poly~ is pretty incredible. you can do some crazy additive synthesis with it. hope that helps.
inoshi
alaindusmith wrote:
i did my university dissertation in max.... really great visual language. you can do so much, you can even use it to do non music things. you can use it to calculate equations or make computer games


that's cool. what part of max/msp did you focus your dissertation on?
minigmgoit
I'm only at the beginning of my max/MSP journey but I am currently working towards creating complex midi creation tools to go with hardware I have. I came up with the idea while using VCV rack. I always tended to create a very specific set of modules for coming up with melodies. I figured that would be a good place to start. I'm no where near there yet but I do at least have something to work towards.

For me I'm using it to do the job of several modules. I will then continue to add more and more functionality and incorporate it into a hardware set up I think.

I'm basically into anything that allows me to play it as an instrument. That's where my passions lie.

The pure date stuff sounds amazing however I'm not so sure how that can be used in a way I want. I'm only at the beginning though> I did all the help topics and I'm now just about to start working through a book that's been recommended over on the max/MSP facebook page.

I'll be honest when I say it doesn't make much sense to me at present.
Tunatoboggan
painting

brotendo
As a musician, learning Max/MSP was a great opportunity to both reimagine what it is to make music and also get exposure to a programming environment. I haven’t made many things in max besides a synth, an fm drum machine and some visual art patches but I really enjoyed the experience of going through the documentation and connecting with people in the community. At the very least, it facilitates a new way to approach the composition process.
mtts
minigmgoit wrote:
I did all the help topics and I'm now just about to start working through a book that's been recommended over on the max/MSP facebook page.


Which book is that?
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