tweak 2.5

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tweak 2.5 was a live performance piece using MAX/MSP.

Using Max/MSP was great. I was using 4.6 as my latest version. They're up to 7 as of this writing. My version is no longer supported, unfortunately. They've moved to a subsciprtion service. The educational version is only $8.25 a month paid annually, which is really a great deal. But I just can't justify it. Maybe one day I'll get back to it. I'd love to be able to manipulate my synths using Max. I know most people use MSP to create sound designs, but I was always more interested in using Max to maniuplate my synths.

This particular piece is different for me in that it's gone through revisions. The version here is 2.5. It started at 1.0, then 2.0, then 2.5, then 3.0. I think I'm done with it now. Since it was intended for live performance only, I tended not to have recordings of it. I do have this one, though.

This was actually a pretty fun piece to write. The basic gist of it was to control my Kurzweil K2500R to change programs for every pitch change & to play a different sound for every pitch played. I used the free sounds that I used for the black room for 2 or 3 of the revisions of this piece. For this one, I used those and some from commercially available Spectrasonics sample CD's. (see dreamwalk, relish, and aesthesiogenics.)

I think that K2500R was the best synth I ever owned. It was so sweet and pure. And it was raucous and nasty all at the same time.

The Max patch I was using would send a program change message after every pitch that was played. So a note, a program change message, a new sound, a new note, a new program change message, and so on ad infinitum... The cool thing was that I could control all 16 MIDI channels of the K2500R with 128 sounds on each channel for basically an infinite number of sounds. The biggest hurdle in getting this piece going for a performance was always getting the sounds loaded up. There wasn't a huge problem with getting them lined up in the proper order. That didn't matter. Just plop the sounds into the synth & I was off to the races.

As an aside....I performed 2.0 at the University of South Carolina's Computer Music Concert one year & got booed. It was a truly liberating experience. The music is weird and WAY off the wall, but I was booed for the political content. I used a speech by UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter who came out during the lead-up to the invasion or Iraq by the US and said that the Iraqis had no weapons of mass destruction. (Unfortunately, Ritter got himself into some trouble in 2011....)

The guy that booed me took offense to that & let the guy running the concert know about it. It's liberating to be booed. Loudly. It reminded me of the scene in The Princess Bride where Princess Buttercup is booed.

I was doing a lot of self-medicating during the years I wrote these revisions of Tweak. This was back when ephedra was legal. I could also buy Didrex online along with plenty of other speed related drugs. I had tweaked myself out pretty good. Luckily, I got past all of that. Speed kills...