“Enumerating’ is another installment in my “ONE PATCH PERFORMANCE SERIES.” Videos in this series are intended to show what's possible when you constrain your tool set to one synth and one preset with many modulation routings mapped for performance.
I created a 4 bar pattern with a MIDI clip in Ableton Live. The clip sends notes to SonicCharge Synplant. All modulation is performed in real-time with two Percussa AudioCubes in “Sensor” mode.
The cubes are sending MIDI data to Ableton Live via the Percussa MIDI Bridge app through MIDI Yoke virtual ports. I used MIDI mapping in Ableton Live to map the continuous controller data being sent from each cube face to device parameters within Synplant and also to the Ableton Transpose MIDI device.
For example, one cube face cause the branches of Synplant to spin. Branch length changes timbre. By rotating the branches I'm changing modulate per note as I rotate the branches.
Probably one of the best things about AudioCubes is that you can modulate 4 parameters at the same time with one cube in a way that isn’t possible with knobs on a controller. When used with a synth like Synplant, the changes in timbre can be quite radical. This video also illustrates how sensitive the cubes are. As you can see, I'm using finger movement to control modulation. I also have the cubes set to give visual feedback. As my hand or finger gets closer to the cube the color intensifies. I have different colors mapped to each cube face.
Mark Mosher Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer Louisville/Denver/Boulder
Despite the economic downturn, 2009 was thankfully a huge year when it came to new technology for electronic music artists. Rather than try and cover every significant release, I’ll instead list some of my favorite products and notable trends.
The Year of Ableton What a big year for Ableton. Live 8 with great new features set, Max for Live, 10th Anniversary of Ableton, launch of Live Intro, dedicated hardware controllers (APC40 & Launchpad). Awesome!
Grid (Matrix) Controllers
Grid controllers everywhere in 2009. New controllers like the APC40, Launchpad and Bliptronics 5000. Continued development with existing controllers like Tenori-On and Monome. The grid metaphor also became quite prevalent in apps as well. I have the APC40 and Tenori-On and simply love them.
Percussa Audio Cubes “Tangible Interface”
Not new in 2009 but new to me, Percussa AudioCubes are self-powered wireless computer systems. Cubes can detect and interact with each other and can detect the proximity of your hand near a cube face sensor and send this controller information to your DAW or to various free software apps provided by Percussa. I working with a 4 cube configuration within Ableton Live.
Fantastic Synths A great year for virtual instruments. Below is a list of new and updates synths that I used over and over again in 2009 for both sound design and for music performance.
u-he ACE (Any Cable Anywhere) This synth just released by I use it all the time now! It’s a fantastic virtual analog synth with a great UI with patch cables. Sounds like butta’.
I’m late to the Synplant party. In case you are too I thought I’d write about it. I saw coverage of SonicCharge Synplant on various blogs last fall. When I saw the interface I have to admit I just assumed it was an iPhone app and for some reason just skipped over it – doh.
Then the other day Ramin Sakurai of the Supreme Beings of Leisure dropped me a note asking what I thought of Synplant. So I swung over to the Synplant page downloaded the demo and have been obsessed with this Synth since. Thanks Ramin!!!
Synthplant was developed by Magnus Lidström’s who also deveoped Propellerhead’s Malström. SonicCharge describes Synplant in the following way:
“Instead of creating patches the conventional way by turning dials and knobs, Synplant lets you explore a world of organic sounds by planting seeds that grow into synth patches.”
Once you get your mind around the the extremely unique and interesting interface, Synplant really excels at creating sounds with “motion” - especially when you get into modulating and automating the synth. I’m using it in Ableton Live 8 and the CPU drag is extremely low.
It’s also great if you into experimental composition as you sometimes get unexpected results which can lead to creative compositional leaps. I actually created two almost complete tracks in one night using lot so Synplant as ideas just kept flowing.
The bottom line is that the approach and interface could help break you out of the standard synth programming metaphore in a good way. For me, Synplant is boosting my creativity.
I’m considering producing a video of how I’m using Synplant within Live on my YouTube Channel, but for now I’m so excited about it I wanted to share so below are some videos on links to get you started.