Backlit Homebrew

It’s been a while since I’ve brewed some beer, but I finally mashed some together last week. “Mashed” isn’t quite the right word, since I chose to brew an all malt-extract Kölsch. An easy, tasty brew–perfect for getting back into the brewing world. Here it is in the natural habitat of so many homebrews: the basement laundry room.

Backlit Homebrew

Universal Instrument Videos

Here are some videos from the Austin New Music Co-op‘s recent Universal Instrument concert. The Behind the Scenes segment is especially nice.

Austin New Music Co-op: Six Bagatelles

Austin New Music Co-op: Behind the Scenes

Austin New Music Co-op: The Becoming Machine IV

Max 5 First Impressions

Over the last few days I’ve begun to dig into Cycling 74’s Max 5. Here are my first impressions of the update. I haven’t yet performed with this version of the program or used it to run an installation, so I don’t have any information about stability or performance.

First the obvious change: the interface is bright and shiny–definitely not the clunky old Max look. I can’t say I’m immediately in love with it, but I do believe by the time I tweak the default settings a little I’ll be quite comfortable with the new look. I very much appreciate the options for changing the appearance of objects (even though some inspector windows are daunting when you first open them).

I love the usability features of Max 5:
• the search function
• the ability to double-click on a message in the Max window and be taken immediately to the part of the patch the message pertains to
• the keyboard shortcuts (damn, it’s so easy to get used to typing ‘n’ or ‘c’ or ‘m’ or ‘t’ or ‘b’ and having an object just show up). I suspect I’ll rarely use the gussied-up new object palette since the keystrokes are so convenient.
• support for long filenames (it’s the little things, really. OK, it’s the little, long things.)

I also love the new timing options, though I haven’t had a chance to use them extensively. I’m looking forward to creating polyrhythmic mayhem using a few transport objects all running at different tempi.

I like the idea of presentation mode, I just haven’t actually implemented it. I’ve always done something similar anyway: create a separate subpatch for just the controls I need, and since presentation mode only seems workable in a single subpatch I suspect it won’t radically change my workflow. Presentation mode would be more useful for me if any object in any subpatcher could be added to the presentation mode of a particular window. But that already sounds too complicated to manage (which object? in which subpatch? to which window?), plus the this is already possible using standard Max objects like send and receive.

I have mixed-feelings about the integrated documentation. I like the convenience of having help always at your fingertips but miss the portability of a pdf file. If you’re not running max, it’s tricky to get to the documentation. (Of course, you can always go to the Cycling 74 site.)

I’ve had a harder time with file-path issues and object conflicts in Max 5 than with other upgrades. This is likely just me and my convoluted setup. I have a bad habit of downloading almost every third-party Max object and freeware VST–not that I use them all. In fact, upgrades are often the times I evaluate the third-party objects that are essential to my work. The short list: LObjects, LitterPro, fiddle~, and a handful of others.

I’m looking forward to getting deeper into Max 5.


yeah! sweet! yummy!

The Albany Sonics Arts Collective (ASAC) presents YEAH! SWEET! YUMMY! featuring

Saturday 17 May, 2008
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St. Albany, NY

Doors at 7:30 pm: show at 8:00

$5 suggested donation at the door
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Albany Sonic Arts: 4 Solo Sets for April

I never posted a proper announcement for last weekend’s Albany Sonic Arts Collective show at the Upstate Artists Guild Gallery featuring Ray Hare, myself, Eric Hardiman and Travis Johns. Here are recordings of the pieces I played.


Turnover – I improvised the melody and lyrics for this one inspired by Ray Hare’s hair raising performance.


My Own True Love – an arrangement of a traditional tune


Telephone Temple – an arrangement of a piece I wrote to be performed with LEMUR‘s musical robots.

Visit the UAG site to view photos from the event.