Jascha's project proposal

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Main Idea

My idea is kind of like a sequential version of Dan's network cycler idea - i'm imagining a bunch of laptops on a network, and a master sequencer which plays the contents of each laptop one at a time. There's something about the idea of only one laptop playing at a time which appeals to me, and the automatic spatialization I get from having the single-line idea pass from machine to machine is also appealing.

The user experience would be something like this:

Say I'm laptop #7 out of 10. The piece starts with laptop #1, which plays its little finite sequence of a few seconds (or beats, even). Then #2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 each do their thing, and while all that's going on I see the progress of the piece as highlighted numbers in boxes along the top of my screen, each one representing one of the PLOrkers in the ensemble. I also have all that time to prepare the bit of music my laptop is going to play - arranging notes or samples or perhaps opening effects gates on a central mic or something. When the counter gets to #7, my part of the sequence plays through to its end, and then goes on to #8, 9, 10, 1, 2, etc...

(i think this is a wicked great idea, dt)

Things I like about this idea:
  • one laptop at a time = sparser texture than normal
  • one laptop at a time = odd and novel
  • one laptop at a time = free spatialization
  • easily scalable to any number of laptops (more than 1, obviously, and more than 2 to avoid being a little silly)
  • if set to a bars+beats paradigm, easily sync-able to Matmos' master clock, so this piece could happen with them, or without them
  • also with a bars+beats paradigm, it'd be easy for guests to fit themselves in to it
Features I imagine being part of the interface:
  • a counter across the top showing one's position relative to the current bit of sequence being played
  • some kind of GUI capable of arranging events in time in a cool and sensible and flexible manner
Things I don't know yet:
  • what musical and sonic options there will be: working with synthesized sound, or samples, or both? If samples, it might be cool to let people bring their own samples, and provide a variety of ways to manipulate them
  • what the GUI interface might look like
  • which language I'm going to write this in


Any thoughts?

  • here's a thought (from dt): what about having two (or maybe three) clocks going simultaneously, one much slower than the other, so that one could play on working with longer, sustained sounds on a longer cycle, in between, the faster cycles. this could, i suppose, also be accomplished by breaking the larger group into smaller groups, each with its own clock, but this would also impact scalability. anyhow, something to think about. counterpoint (think cantus-firmus style masses)!
  • in fact, it's probably a good idea to work up a generic step sequencer GUI, since it could be broadly usable, and then be able to call up and layer a number of them as needed. processing would probably be nice for this, though max would do as well. i'll shut up now. jet-lagged in norway...
    • (reply from Jascha) - ah! yes, i like this idea - i was imagining there being some kind of background drone(s) common to all the speakers to fill things out a bit, but the idea of having split-level sequencing on the computers makes life more interesting for the PLOrkers.
    • (still from Jascha) - I have a ton of questions about Processing. who knows about Processing?
      • (Tom) Looks like it's on the schedule for next week.
      • (Mike) i would also like to know more about processing!
  • (Mike) i think this is cool. one at a time spatialization reminds me of nathan michel's piece from 2006, which worked well i think. is there a record of this piece anywhere? i like the counterpoint idea / multiple clocks, and think the resulting layering would be cool. i think Newton Armstrong is starting a big project using this idea, does anyone know more about that?

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