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Computers **(MSP)**

Hi loopers,

I saw the topic of computers come up, and while I have to agree that
computer synthesis, to this point, has been inadequate (on many counts) for
musical performance.  There is something you all REALLY need to check out.
It's called MSP ("max signal processing")  and is an extension to the
programming language MAX tha runs on Power PC macs.

This will sound like an advertisement; however, I am in no way affiliated
with any company involved with these products, fyi.

In brief, MAX is a language which allows programs ("patches") to be created
by linking, graphically, various information processing elements.  It is
optimized for real-time and event-based processing, and has had much
success in the world of improvised avant-garde music, where complex
interactions between musical controllers and MIDI instruments (for example)
must be achieved.

MSP takes advantage of the PowerPC's ability to do fast floating-point
arithmetic, and adds (real-time) signal processing capabilities to MAX.
Among other things, MSP can do additive, subtractive, granular, and
(real-time!) fourier synthesis/resynthesis.  Live audio inputs can be
processed in arbitrary ways, combined with digitally-synthesized and
sampled signals.

At Looper's Delight, we're most interested in MAX's real-time recording and
sample-playback capabilities.  I don't quite know where to start, but I
could EASILY replace my echoplex DP with a very simple MSP patch.  In
addition to playing back my loop (forwards + backwards, with overdubbing),
MSP could arbitrarily access different points in the loop, creating
sub-loops and complex sequences of playback. MSP could maintain many very
complex looping structures simultaneously for multi-channel (synchronized
or not) looping.  If I were interested in looping from soundfiles, there
exist objects for real-time, sample-synchronous access to arbitrary loop
points within a soundfile, effectively turning any soundfile into a "bank"
of loops or samples which are independently addressible (once more, in
real-time).  All of this can be made controllable in arbitrary ways
(graphically, by MIDI, etc.)

I imagine you can tell I'm excited about this program.  I have tried and
tried  to come up with signal-processing or performance tasks that MSP
could not handle, but I can't.  There isn't a device in my studio whose
functionality could not, in principle be reproduced in an MSP patch.
Information on the product can be found at http://www.cycling74.com

Happy looplooplooping looping happy looping happy looping happy happy

-Chris Stecker