I am interested in controlling sound. So It was essential that I had to try max/msp. I am a latecomer to technology, yet i have always held it in high regard: as the sensible valuable of it's own intelligence, and of the influence that it has flecked and dazzled within the capable framework of the 21st century artist. It was only three years ago when I discovered the computerized Pro Tools. From there I explored many different softwares such as Reaktor, Reason , Renoise and Ableton Live, and began experiments with electroacoustic and plunderphonic soundscapes. I found that each program had severe limitations in adjacent to my musical vision of how i wanted to direct sound. Music had become increasingly frustrating to compose, due to the limitations of the software's user capabilities, and as a result, less music was being produced, if any at all. Sheer desperation juxtaposed with the chance finding of the max/msp "concept", keyed up from a conversation with a composer friend, over a cup of coffee. My friend had told me he recently purchased the max/msp upgrade, and explained the potential of the user interaction: sound could be controlled by your ideas! To boot, he unfolded the sheer brilliance of the filmic Jitter, designed for working with video. Jitter reminded me of VHS ribbon , remodeled in rotating blender blades. Of course I had to try it out. He warned me of the infamous "steep" learning curve. I asked If I could develop something of use, after a month's worth of research. He told me it was possible. I downloaded the demo, studied You Tube tutorials, then made the commitment. I bought max/msp.How was i to learn such a gargantuan matrix of objects and messages, with incongruous names such as "drunk" and "bang"? I set into motion a linear strategy to read all of the tutorials, and make the best efforts to understand the examples provided. So I went through every tutorial that was useful to me. I would spend about 6-10 hours, 3 days a week, and any other pocket of autonomous time that i could afford, reading and re-reading, analyzing and dissecting the provided patchers. After a few weeks of work, I could understand the basic wirings of the patchers Max had furnished, but I could not fully understand the "whole" picture. I was not capable of developing my own patcher. I decided to provoke my friend (whom I mentioned earlier) to make a "fake" patch. I explained to him, a musical concept, and he would design the patch, with comments provided, all for me to look over, and figure out on my own. From my first glance, I could not understand the inner-workings: why objects were connected together, and the simple mathematical formulas that cloaked behind them. through both consistency and sheer determination, the chaos of this complex software suddenly organized itself both logically and straightforward in my mind. a steep learning curve indeed, but there was not an ounce of fear within me to decode this colussus. My progress developed like an exponential growth: slow, slow, confusion, slow, then... volcano! and then....eureka! and then....voila, magic! It just made sense. I now understood how to make this software work. The affair intertwined about three and a half weeks of intense concentration and informal head scratching. within this timeframe, it simply did not make any sense. But now it did! This thing runs on sheer logic!I began to develop my first idea, which called for a 16 step sequencer of enormous functions and purpose; borrowing simple concepts from commercial software to develop the framework, then expanding with original self-innovations. Foremost, I had to thank the max support forum for the developement of my first oeuvre. Anytime there was uncertainty upon the next chess move, letters would be written in the forum, with every paramount question there was to ask, being, well...asked. It's almost like these people log into their computers, sit and wait for somebody to ask a question, then instantaneously find a solution. the process was immediate and on-the-spot. I would ask a question, then recieve an answer within thirty minutes to a couple of fleeting hours. Fantastic! there is nothing more I quaver over more, than efficient and thorough communication. It took me three and a half weeks to develop this elephantine machine. The musical problem has a solution; this i am now sure of. Max/Msp is the crucial ingredient for me to sculpt sound. The rule for me is to use whatever tool that is necessary to fulfill the inner-vision. I think of software as a weapon. Now when i come across certain musical problems that have previously seemed out of the question to resolve, max/msp flagellates out from the assault deck and provides orderly results. It is the essential tool for control. I would recommend this software to the composer who has fixed musical ideas that cannot be realized through any other commercial software application. overcome the learning curve, then what you have is just sound itself, and your mind; to mold and sculpt it.the experience of learning this complex software, taught me that from within, there are capabilities to learn anything that is desired, regardless of how intimidating this can appear to be. max/msp has fundamentally changed the way i think of music. i now know, that "anything and everything" is possible, and consequentially, it is still up to me.
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