Thursday, 22 April 2010

Video Work

The following videos are a few examples of my work. All sounds and music was recorded by my self using Pro tools using a rage of microphones


Une Mission Ephemere - Piotr Kamler

Spook Sport - Norman Mclaren


Still Nacht - Brothers Quay

Audi Car Advert

Guitar Recorded April 2010 - Alistar Warren

Are We Still Married - Brothers Quay

Monday, 19 April 2010

Elysium Software

The reacTogon uses MIDI to generate sound, and its prooving pretty hard to find much imformation on it, but like the ReacTable Im sure that I must just dig a little harder to find out the really interesting information. I was unable to ind out what software the ReacTogon uses but I was able to find another peice of software that was inspired by it.

This is called elysium and was created by Matthew Mower in 2008 and is inspired by the ReacTogon.

But what is Elysium?

Straight from the Elysium webwite " Elysium is an interactive generative MIDI sequenser"

"Elysium is a sequencer, that means it’s designed to produce sequences of notes that can be layered to form music.

Elysium uses MIDI which means that it doesn’t make sounds itself but can drive MIDI based synthesizers, samplers, and other instruments. It also means that Elysium’s output can be recorded, and manipulated, in a DAW such as Logic or Ableton Live.

Elysium is generative which relates to the way the music is created by building up a “system” composed of layers, cells, tokens, and playheads that combined, when “played”, to produce a sequence of notes.

Elysium is interactive. Features like MIDI CC control and MIDI trigger mode allow you to take control and integrate generative elements into the music you make and play."

The great thing about this is that Elysium is open source like TUIO and ReacTivision. The down side for me is that Elysium only runs on Mac opperating systems lepard and snow lepard, and as I only have tiger running on my mac I can not use this software.

Luckly for me ReacTIVision and TUIO both work with my operating system, which is one reason why I have decided to create a reacTable.

The Elysium software screen dump looks just like the reacTogon's musical interface and ind if you what the video demo you can see that it looks and behaves just like the reacTogon does and is one way in which you can see how the reacTogon has inspired it.

Full instructions on how to download and make a symple midi sequencer useing Elysium can be found on thie following website:

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The Reactagon the Chain Reactive Performance Appegiator

The ReacTogon was created in 2007 by Mark Burton and is another example of a musucial instrument that uses a tangiable multi-touch user interface. It uses a larger surface then the reacTable and as its name suggests, its shape is rectangle.

Like the ReacTable this instruement looks cool and futuistic and more importamtly makes music in a real time video stream.

It lookes different to the reactable in appearence and sound, the reactable is round and the reatcagon is recangle, the tangiable blocks are all one shape and do different things, the animation is different too.

Ill go into a little detain on how it works.

"The ReacTagon is based on a harmonic table"
The table reminds me of bee hive in the way that it shows a grid of hexigon shaped blocks upon the table top. These hexigon shapes are known as cells acts and they like the keys on the piano, every cell has a fixed note like C for example.
Round coster shaped objects are placed down on the table to create musical sequences. These objects are marked with instructions

The above object shows the direction of sequence flow and it also deturmins the first note. The note in which the sequence will start will depend on which cell the marker is placed.

This marker is known as a ricochet marker, it plays a note when the playhead reaches it. They can be also be used to change the direction of play in real time. Like its name suggests it is used to pass the play to another marker, like another rocochet marker, creating a musical sequence.

The bar consisting of different square blocks located at the bottom of the table is known as the "transposer bar" and it allows the pitch of the musical sequence to be changed.

Another counter known as a "splitter" can be used to dispurce the playhead in several directions

A "stop" counter can be used to stop the play head after the final not it played. Conbine all these markers you can create interesting intricate musical sequences.

Volume, timbre and rythm can be controled by by lower faders located on the side of the reacTogon. By moving up and down the faders with a simple finger depth and colour can be added to the composition.

The faders above these act like sound banks and additional sounds like drum sequencers and other instruments making the composition experience larger and more exhilerating.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Chaos pad

The Kaoss Pad

When the Kaoss pad KP1 was launched in 1999 is was a new and exciting way to use effects. It hosts a square touch panel that is sensitive to the figure and can be used to control effects in real time. It also has a built in single sample memory that allows the user to record and manipulate in a number of ways.

The Kaoss pad works as an all in one sampler, effects processor and tangible midi controller for audio and musical instruments. It allows the user audio control in real time over effects, samples and records. The player can control how effect is used and the amount by placing a single fingertip upon the tangible square surface. The parameters of effects are controlled completely using the x and y coordinates on the pad. Ruling both horizontal and vertical directions means that it is possible to control the effect time by stroking right, whilst simultaneously a downwards stroke can have power over the amount of feedback on the effect, these work instead of faders. By tapping lightly on the kaoss pad works like a switch and can control the effects, on and off. The benefit of having a touch screen x-y calibration instead of sliders, faders and knobs means that the koass pad can be small, light, compact and easier to use.
The kaoss pad contains effects such as;

Pitch shifter
Sound processing filters
Modulation effects such as
Ring modulation

The pad also allows the user control over sampling, and records from a source like CD to the pad for a maximum or five seconds at 48 kHz. The sample can then be used with the koass pad and modified using the effects available. This feature allows the player to intragrate sampled effects into a live set. The Kaoss pad also allows the user to connect a microphone and operates though a Jack. By singing or playing into the microphone allows the user to manipulate and sample the incoming signal in real time.

Since the KP1, Korg have developed and updated their products such as;

KP2 and the KPE2 (Kaoss pad enhancer) a kaoss pad that controls and manipulates both audio and video


Mini-KP, in the spring of 2008 Korg developed the last in the chain of kaoss pads the Mini-KP a smaller version of its brother the KP3, this kaoss pad hosts 2 memory banks, 100 new effects and holds 4 AA batteries. Making it safe to circuit bend and manipulate internally.

Personally I am not a fan of the chaos pad, and because of its natual ability to easily make alot of noise, it makes it hard to use well and effectivly, given to the wrong person the chaos pad can be a little bit overwelming.

A example of somone using the chaos pad 3 well is Beardy man, he uses his voice to make loops and samples of words aswell as beat boxing, conbineing it with drum samples stored within the memory of the chaos pad. He also using a vocodera and other effects such as chorus, delay and reverb. You can see in the video how he is using his fingure of the touch pad to manipulate diferent aspects of the music he creating.I think this is very effective and I enjoyed watching it. Beardy man makes it look easy and fun to use a chaos pad.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Tangible Musical Interface "Tangible Sequencer"

As my projects unfolds I find myself becoming more and more interested in the way that computers are used to create a new and exciting music. Using technology to make live music gives the performer a much more versatile approach to making that music more remarkable. Other instruments, excluding the reactable, have also been developed and I am now going to share with you a few more of the ones I find most intriguing. 

The Tangible Sequencer

I found this attention grabbing instrument whilst researching "tangible musical interface" on google. It's quirky and simple design is what first grabbed my attention, it processes eight different colored blocks, each have a large triangular play button design upon them, that lights up in time with the music that they produce. 

Pressing this button ques the music to play, this then becomes more fascinating when you start to place these blocks next to each other. When more than block is placed in sequence they become aware of each other and the sounds that they produce start to play in sequence with each other hence the name tangible sequencer. 

Composition is made by laying out the blocks on a flat surface in a shape like a line or circle. If the blocks are placed in a circle the music will loop, where as if the blocks are placed in a line the music will stop when the last block in that sequence plays. Yet the music can be changed in real time by moving the blocks from one place in the sequence to another.

So...... how does it works?

Each coloured box sends a signal to the computer via a low powered radio, called a zigbee radio, to play a sound, once the box has finished playing its sound it signals to any objects close to it via infrared and thus a chain of music can be heard.

The software that is uses is known as Open GL, GLUT and STK for the audio, yet I am unfamiliar with these forms of software.


Like the reacTable the Tangible Sequencer uses tangible blocks, but it has a different approach to making music. 

They use different softwere and hardware,

The ReacTable Experience

I like the word "Collaboration", just as I like the word "sharing".

Collaboration means working together and it is a very important thing that people have been doing since the dawn of time. Bridges do not get built with one pair of hands, just as Rome wasn't build in a day.

The collaborative nature of the ReacTable allows groups of people to play together simultaneously. This opens up the opportunity for each person to explore their own, and each others creativity, whilst creating music and visual delights.

The ReacTable is extremely entertaining not only to watch but to play. From building one I have found that mine is very satisfying to use. Being secure in the knowledge that when you place a object down a sound can be heard, and by twisting that object "you" the user can control the pitch and this can be very pleasing.

The ReacTable experience is a version of the reacTable that has been developed for museums and other places such as schools for demonstration and experiments. Based on the real thing, this version of the ReacTable is robust and designed for the casual user and children. It is suited well for people interested in new music development and especially children who are beginning to explore the many possibilities of creating sound and music.

Children grasp the concept of the ReacTable quickly and can create sound from the moment they start to use it. Inprovisation is naturally easy and children and users soon start to explore the avenues of sound creating more complex composition.

If you fancy having a go, "The ReacTable Experience" can be found at any one of these venues;

Intech Science Center, UK
Discovery World, USA
Museum of Science and Industry, USA
Polymechanon Science Center, Greece
Museo Papalote del Niño, Mexico
Montréal Science Centre, Canada
CosmoCaixa, Spain
ZKM, Germany
Santralistanbul, Turkey
Museum für Kommunikation, Switzerland
Science Centre Singapore

Sub Mix Pro, Italy
experimenta, Germany

The ReacTable experience is also available to rent for your own exibition, you can do this at the reacTable website, if are your interested go to

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The ReacTable in a Commercial Environment

I think the most well known person to use a Reactable is Bjork. She appeared on Jools Holland in 2007, and gave a truly remarkable performance.

Bjork plays with the ReacTable in her set. She demonstrates an avant-garde nature and shows clearly her pursuit of forever finding new and interesting sound.

The interview, however, was disappointing because Jools holland does not ask her anything about her music, which to me is the most important thing. Instead Jools Holland talks about Bjorks new album cover.

From looking at the comment on this performance on, it is clear to see how interested the public is with this strange new musical instrument. Know one nows much about it, but people are interested in it.

There a couple of questions people ask me when I show them ReacTable video's.

  1. Do I think it will catch on?
  2. Will DJ's be replacing their CD decks for a ReacTable?
Untill the reacTable team bring out a more easy to construct, works out of the box product, i dont think people will be likely to use them.

The reacTable has been around since 2004 and it's now 2010 and the only well known artist I can find using one in her set is Bjork. They do look pretty intimadating and learning how to play one is just as hard as learing how to build one.

Im sure that this will happen soon though, but at a hefty price.

The reacTable however can be spotted on tour around the world in underground clubs and festivals. If your interested in seeing one live then check out,

If a showing is near you and you get the chance, go! If not hold tight, the reacTable will visit a town near you soon . In the mean time there are lots of demonstrations and performance video's on the