thoughts on generative & mobile music making from the co-founder of intermorphic

Archive for February, 2007

Music mixing DJ performance at Tao 3GSM party with miniMIXA on Windows Mobile device

Posted by Tim Cole on 16th February 2007

>> Hear the mix here: Red Lounge – Tao 3GSM Party Mix.

On Monday night (12th Feb) at the Tao 3GSM party in Barcelona’s Red Lounge, I did short performance on miniMIXA, mingling with the party goers – in between a great set from the house DJ, “DJ Monk”. I had miniMIXA++ running on an PocketPC and sending the live 22Khz stereo audio output stream via bluetooth to the venue’s PA system. It all worked fine, and I had some senior mobile industry figures mixing live, too.

For the set I had purchased from Time and Space some middle eastern audio loops (Roots of the Middle East and North Africa from Big Fish Audio and SoundScan Arabian Traditions from Universal Sound Bank) and was mixing these together with some excellent bass and drum loops from the Music Tech Magazine, plus an audio track and a modular synth riff, together with some spot loops. I had set these up with the miniMIXA++ Cell Mix (MusicDJ) mode, and used the new beta XY control surface and quality filter to cool effect.

Tao miniMIXA MusicDJIt really was pretty spectacular (and fun) to be doing this all live on a mobile device, on the floor. I lost the bluetooth connection a couple of times when someone passed in front of the bluetooth module (it was a low power one), so that was useful to know.

Even though I am not a DJ, people seemed to enjoy it, and especially enjoyed participating in the mix and hearing themselves over the PA – seeing the excited reactions was really cool. The XY control surface went down particularly well, too. In the hands of a real DJ, this could all be so much cooler still.

For those interested, I have uploaded a quick mix of roughly what I did. It uses 11 of the 12 tracks in miniMIXA, and all 4 sections in MusicDJ mode. It uses high quality low pass and high pass filters (controlled with XY control surface), reverbs and even a modular softsynth. You should hear that everything is pretty tight. It was live mixed, and recorded (direct to SD card) on an HTC Universal. You can find the recording here :Red Lounge – Tao 3GSM Party Mix.

Was this a world first performance? Quite possibly(!), as it included the following elements: live 12 track mixing on a Windows Mobile device; 22KHz stereo output over bluetooth to the club’s PA; audience participation; modular synthesizer; spot loop triggering; full track audio file streaming from storage card; XY control panel (controlling filter cutoff/Q); loading content into the mix on the fly (auto pitch shift/time stretch from other MIXApaks); use of a range of live fx at track and global level.

Posted in 3GSM, DJ, loops, miniMIXA, Mobile, Music software, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile | 6 Comments »

Beat the Blues – with Song Of The Year

Posted by Tim Cole on 5th February 2007

I occasionally get the chance to put down a song, and if I get that far, then it can be quite helpful to get some feedback on it. I have entered a few of my songs into the Song of The Year competition, and also taken advantage of their “critique” service where they rank the song in 10 categories (e.g. emotional impact, technical eval, marketability etc). Now, I did once get Runner up for Oct 2006, which was quite exciting, but I was rather pleased to get back a critique on 2 of my recent song entries. The first, “Pear Shaped”, I got 10/10 in one category and 9/10 in 2 categories, better than ever I have got before. I have not finished this song, though, so have not uploaded it. The other song, Beat the Blues, I only entered by chance, and it got 10/10 for 3 of categories, and 9/10 for another 3. I especially liked the closing comment “This is well conceived and composed. The ideas are presented in a clear and professional manner. There is nothing to change. Exceptionally worthy work! This is an exceptional song and performance with formidable potential.” I thank the reviewer (whoever you are) wholeheartedly for that comment, as it really made me smile and feel good. All I need now is a great cover – now wouldn’t that be nice !

Yes, I had to pay for the review, so you need to discount something there, but it is nice to get praise some times ! I have found Song of the Year to be very good at customer service and response, and they get top marks for that. The critique service also represents good value, even though I am still not quite certain what it really tells me – but it does have motivational value, which is perhaps the main thing.

On the song competition front, it is always hard to tell what the value of a competition is. I always tended to assume that songs that won competitions would end up making it really big – but it doesn’t really seem to be the case. I also note that although Song of The Year lists many very famous songwriters/artists/music industry people as judges, I am pretty certain the majority of them only get involved in judging the years winning song from a shortlist – so don’t expect to enter and have your song heard by Norah Jones (one of the listed judges)! If you get to be a monthly winner, then you might do, but I think they get a lot of entries.

I don’t know if I am the only one, but I have great difficult in figuring out which category into which to enter a song. Is it pop, is it rock, country, blues or whatever? Maybe I have no sense of style, but maybe it is made hard so as to encourage entries (and payments) in multiple categories.

Another thing I would like would be to see the release form you have to sign to get the song sent out to industry contacts (assuming your song is a winner, of course) . I always feel a little nervous only seeing that kind of thing only after the event (assuming I should ever be that lucky). Surely there is nothing to hide…..

Well, it would be nice to be a winner one day, and, even better, to have a song covered and properly produced. Every song I do I think I get a little better (maybe 2 steps forward, one back), so maybe one day I will get there….

Epilog: None of the songs were in the top 5, but I again got a credit as Suggested Artist runner up.

Posted in Competitions, Critiques, My Songs | 2 Comments »

miniMIXA at 3GSM – XY control surface

Posted by Tim Cole on 5th February 2007

3GSM gets ever closer (next week now), and I am planning to show a new addition to miniMIXA – an XY control surface in the beta FXM Editor module. This allows you XY control of e.g. a high quality low pass filter on an audio loop or a modular (or even MIDI!) synth line – huge fun for a live mix. The FX chain (including the filter) can also include e.g. a stereo delay or reverb, so the whole sound is rather spectacular, and really cool to play with.

Not only is this something that I am going to show at the Tao buses (where Tao is showing its GamePlayer), but I also hope to do a small live demo at the Tao party – mobile music mixing, with audience participation, over bluetooth. Not being a “live performer” I am hoping the technology all works on the night :)

Posted in miniMIXA, Mobile, Music software | 2 Comments »