Isadora, YouMix, and the Final Push

26 05 2009

Tis been a long and winding road.  My design is shaping up, and I have recently had a few interesting breakthroughs that will change how the installation will look.

1) Isadora and YouMix.  I developed the scheme that will run on my BCR2000 rack.  It consists of a simple array of volume knobs, each row coding for a different audio experience.  The first row are beats/textures.  The second row are speeches mined from youtube.  The third row are going to be found sounds, nature sounds.  I have conducted several test runs, and the results are amazing.  Participants are immediately drawn in to the simplicity of the interface, and they are able to create for themselves a really dynamic experience.

I though, ok, what will take this to the next level?  Video.  I started cruising and I found Isadora, developed by TroikaTronix.  It is a programming canvas much like MAX or PD, with elements that can be connected, except its main function is to process video.  It can take MIDI control messages and do almost anything with them, changing speed, position and image processing parameters.  I have assigned videos to live on the knobs, and users can “mix” them by changing the opacity and making certain layers more visible.  This adds a third dimension to the experience of YOUmix, sound, touch, and sight.  

2)  Live Layers:  My live looping apparatus is underway.  I have developed several test platforms, and have arranged 4 resampling banks with volume controls and record buttons for each track.  Users are able to press any key on the multisampler and trigger certain loops, and generate their own layers.  Once recorded, the tracks can be run through an “Instant Remix” knob.  The inputs from the multisampler will be paired with microphone inputs for live resampling. 

The first friend I showed this to described the game as “a challenge.”  With unmarked keys, there is a sort of Mystery Effect at play.  He advised marking each key with symbols so as to improve predictive capabilities and allow users to memorize and return to certain loops.

The architecture of the tracks, multisampler, and remix are in place.  I still am not satisfied with the quality of the content itself.  Over the next few days I will have to work and compose a better array of samples.  I also wonder if there is a better way to store the samples, maybe in drum rack.

Okay, so the countdown.  Immediate needs:  Get YOUmix in final stages.  Record textures for Live Layers.  Develop symbolic system and set of instructions.  Finish the monome (done soldering, I just flashed the arduino, trying to test out the hardware). 

Friday night is the proposed opening night.  Gotta get it done.

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