Online Music Mixing

I am going to state one of my New Year resolutions here, just so its on the record:

I WILL RELEASE MUSIC IN 2009!
In my ‘spare’ time (ie when not working on films or sleeping) I make music via two seperate approaches – one half is beatless textural music (the kind of music to fall asleep to) while the other half is head nodding slow tempo electronic dub… I have at times attempted to totally merge the two styles but was never happy with the results. I think the source of this disatisfaction comes from the fact that when I feel inspired to make music I choose which of the two styles to mess with based on my mood, energy etc.. just as when choosing music to listen to sometimes I dont want to hear beats & other times I do…

Some of the beatless music I make does have an overlap with my film sound design work, in that when a film/scene requires tonal or semi-musical elements I am more than happy to spend time generating material & some of the most successful occurrences of this have occurred when it is in direct collaboration with the composer on the film. This may mean accessing their recordings, or working alongside temp versions of their music cues, and sometimes it occurs via pure accident. Harmonically the latter has occurred with one NZ composer (Victoria Kelly) who I have worked with on three for four projects now. We both created harmonic material for a scene independently & when we had a run through to see how our material was working in context, we discovered we were working in the same key ie my FX and sound design was in tune with her score! A few years ago I wrote an article about this very phenomena – a PDF of which is here – and as Victoria is scoring Under The Mountain & recording with the NZ Symphony Orchestra I am hugely looking forward to exploring this territory further…

So apart from releasing some of my music via the usual means (ie MP3) I have ambitions to also release it in quad or 5.1 formats as well as in some kind of interactive online medium. Accordingly I keep an eye out for any new formats or online platforms that I can either use directly or as an influence… And the best example I have found so far is this one:

Go here to try it yourself, but basically it works like this: each turntable (usually there are 12) is the source of a single sound. If you click the turntable it plays once & stops. If you click the + button Y times before you set it playing, it will loop the sound Y times. The X button sets the loop count to 500. The vertical fader equals volume & the horizontal fader equals pan. Simple huh? But hugely effective, just go try it! and what really intrigues me is imagine if the first time you heard a piece of music was via this means ie as constituent elements… there is no way to play all the elements in sync together at once, so you are forced to ‘compose’ your own version of it… The examples on that site tend to be of a similar musical style, but that doesnt preclude other styles of music or sounds being used…

Oh and credit where credits due! The Loopz site & format/medium was created by French musician & programmer Robert Massé (aka: Batchas / Freq63 / Mydaüs / Trebor Semas / Microscope) and the Loopz site also has some other interesting interactive music mixing formats eg Points – discovering the means of control with each interface is part of the fun so I wont explain how to tweak this one:

For many developers the immediate inclination of the feature set of such things is to do more & more, whereas I think the limits are very important and its why I like the Loopz format so much. Sure you could add pitch control and some FX (delay etc) but the CPU/streaming overhead & potential audio quality compromise makes it less attractive but creatively it also then starts to become more about making entirely new music. The appeal for me is to be able to explore the elements the composer has provided – almost so the composer fills two roles: one of making the music & the other of curating & presenting the elements so the intent is maintained…

If you know of other interesting means of presenting music online in an interactive format, please do let me know via the comments…

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.