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This is what a Monolake live set sounded like in 1999. And in the days before Ableton Live was a finished product, running patterns was a job for self-built software in Max.
Robert describes the music thusly:
This is a live recording, captured at Ego club in Düsseldorf, June 5 1999. The music has been created with a self written step sequencer, the PX-18, controlling a basic sample player and effects engine, all done in MaxMSP, running on a Powerbook G3. The step sequencer had some unique features, e.g. the ability to switch patterns independently in each track, which later became an important part of a certain music software.
I found the recording on a backup disk today. It has not been edited or mastered. During the first 20 minutes of the set, and before the ‘encore’ the Monolake CD ‘Gobi’ is playing in the background.
What strikes me about this is that both the music and the patch hold up nicely a decade and a half later.
You can see the Max patch at top. You’ll notice those are modern widgets; Robert just opened it in the newest version of Max. But the software, too, endures. And embedded in the constraints of this patch are some of the kind of formal restrictions Robert imposes on his music. With a fixed number of parts on tracks, the sonic materials sound like a consistent ensemble — the shapes of the sounds shifting over time, but still discrete, recognizable objects.
The thought also occurs that there’s still value in working this way today, even with Live as a choice. You could certainly load this sort of pattern maker into Live with Max for Live. But you might also put together a different kind of performance if you channeled your musical ideas into this kind of DIY creation.
I’ll be talking tonight about that topic at Coding the Club here in Amsterdam; I’ll share some notes on that presentation afterward.
By the way, I will quote Robert from a previous discussion on his site of Ableton Live, so as not to bring an old myth back to life:
According to an old myth Live is based on a MAX patcher. This would be completely impossible to do! What is true, is that before there was Live, there were MAX patches and Reaktor ensembles by Gerhard and me that did a lot of things we both found interesting, like timestreching beat loops, or a sequencer that allowed to switch between individual patterns for each instrument in real time.
Actually, what isn’t impossible is to build a small subset of functionality from Live into Max or Pd, and that can also be an interesting exercise. (Or throw that back into Max for Live and … well, have not really many limitations at all!)
The post See the Max Patch Robert Henke Built Before Ableton Live; Hear the Music it Made appeared first on Create Digital Music.
Photo by Don Pettit
Functionality, used in the context of dance music, is a difficult concept to assimilate. The engaged listener of house or techno expects — or is expected to expect — more from accomplished tracks than simple dance-floor efficacy, to be able to offer praise more articulate than “This is dope.” But regardless of critical credo or purported cultivation in the field, it becomes all too easy to dismiss one’s criteria for a great tune, to an extent, when hearing it played in situ, on a large system in a room full of moving bodies. One is less likely to mind a Moodymann imitation or by-the-numbers piano house after taking pains to put herself in a place where dancing is the objective. Functionality, employment of the tried and true tropes of dance music, is fluid in its aptness. The expressly ineffectual, then, might move along a similar spectrum, which brings us to latest from Alexey Kalik, co-head of the Russian label Udacha.
Udacha traffics in the dreamier elements of deep house — noodly keys, warm pads, gauzy strings — and tend toward a general feeling of looseness in composition (see especially Dices’ “Confuse” or Dada Ques’ “Outerealmer”) while maintaining a level of propulsion that makes them suitable for club use, even if it’s in a early-doors vein. The more meandering pieces tend to readily announce themselves as such, but here Udacha 8 is aberrant, its five tracks lacking not in drive but in much else to offer the listener trying to parse a groove from it. The first track, “Entry Procedure” is true to its name, its consistent thump and white noise resembling a tunnel car wash made to ready a vehicle for its subsequent drive, which begins in a “Space Bus.” The tune has the general ambience and ticking hats familiar to those who know A5′s other work on Udacha, but what opens up sounding like it has the potential to jack quickly announces its other intentions as its bewildering low-end enters the mix. The bass line sounds as though Kalik has again recruited his cat, but only to record it practicing a descending scale — a bewildering device that distracts from the song’s more lively elements. “Aijawaska” works similarly, its peppy beat continually climbing to a release that does not arrive, despite the periodic addition of more percussion and some very lovely chord permutations.
“Whirligig,” based around a swirling Salsoul-esque piano line, is the first track on the EP to have something resembling swing, but like “Aijawaska,” it remains a closed whole. The only component that escapes the very tight structure of the seven-beat loop is the delay-soaked piano that becomes increasingly disconnected from its source. The basic rhythms of the track persist, as does the snare hit that very closely resembles the “Move to Trash” noise in a Mac OS — certainly not the most potent of percussive options. Even a cursory look into A5′s catalog makes it clear that these turbid tracks are not the result of incompetence, for the inaugural Udacha release and his output on Rawax make plain that he can concentrate his loose sensibilities into very functional pieces. Udacha 8 offers up a conversation about what in dance music doesn’t work and whether these more difficult aesthetics can be used in a way that can inspire some repositioning of tastes, if not of feet.
Deep House DJ Mix #440 by Lars Behrenroth for Deeper Shades
Deep House DJ Mix by Lars Behrenroth for Deeper Shades Of House show #440 Recorded live at Deeper Shades Studios on 2/2114 Playlist, download, podcast and guest mix for this show at http://on.dsoh.net/1fpiqCs Archives, playlists, label, deep house videos and more at http://on.dsoh.net/9gJAEz Deeper Shades of House is a 100% listener supported program We need your help to keep it going and pay for all related costs. Please consider becoming a Premium member at http://on.dsoh.net/RwsReq
Special laptop cover design by my son Mattias ;) I woke up to this after a nap and rocked it at my recent gigs in Hawaii … (at Deeper Shades Headquarters)