Posts Tagged ‘Monome’

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Livid’s Ohm64: Love Child of a Monome and a DJ-VJ Mixer Controller?

March 20, 2009

Look out, Akai APC40. There’s another contender in the emerging Controller With Lots of Buttons And Also Faders and Knobs and Crossfader product category. Livid’s Ohm64 combines the light-up button grid with faders, knobs, trigger buttons, and most importantly, unique customization options and a lovely wooden case. What’s unique about this one:

  • High-end materials: anodized aluminum faceplate, “immersion gold-platted circuit boards” (guess that’s circuit bling), an optional wooden body (aluminum is available, as well, but wood is more fun).
  • Not mass-market: hand-assembled, small-production Austin creation.
  • Fully class-compliant, no drivers (also true of the APC as far as I know, but nice – and ideal for Linux, too, in case you want to run this with a netbook or a Pd-running souped-up *nix laptop)
  • Open-source, customizable MIDI talkback: when you’re ready to customize just how those LEDs light up, there are included open source tools and fully programmable MIDI mapping

Bonus: it comes with a powerful, full-featured VJ app in the box, Cell DNA, though of course you can use it with anything you like.

The real story to me is the customization. Whereas the APC40 is entirely proprietary in design, has evidently limited MIDI mappings, and a mysterious mechanism for programming two-way communication, the Ohm64 is open, open source, and software-agnostic. If the open source thing catches on, that could mean a community of friendly folk thinking of smart ways to reprogram this thing for different apps. Ironically, that means that in the long run, the Ohm64 could wind up with better Ableton Live integration than the hardware Ableton chose to back – though all bets are off until we get these devices in our hands.

I would say the APC is probably more direct competition for the Ohm64 than the Monome, despite the 8×8 light-up buttons. The Monome is much lighter and slimmer, it takes a minimalist approach (no big knobs or faders), and uses OpenSoundControl in place of MIDI. The Ohm64 seems likely to appeal to those who weren’t Monome fans, and visa versa. And some lucky ducks are naturally going to own both.

But the important thing is that the Ohm64 joins the Monome in its crusade for open-source customization of a commercial product. Whatever the Ohm64 is when it ships, it’s that question of what people can do with it that may determine its real value. I have no doubt people will be reverse engineering the APC40, too — starting with figuring out how to fake the hardware “handshake” it uses so other devices can emulate it in Live. But it’ll be interesting to see how these different philosophies pan out, so to speak.

We’ll keep you posted….

Souce:  Create Digital Music


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Artist Profile: DJ Daedelus

February 4, 2009

57125-500-343
Alfred Darlington isn’t your average cookie-cutter musician. From how he looks (early Victorian Dandism), to how he makes music, to how he expresses himself and views the world, his is a very individual, a ‘bespoke’ outlook.

Long established (and sometimes derided) as an electronic producer with whimsical, jazz-like sensibilities, Daedelus often plays with genre, from the summery samba sweep of 2006′s Denies the Day’s Demise to the bubbly avant-hop of 2003′s Rethinking the Weather and 2004′s Exquisite Corpse (all on Mush records). In 2008, he’s tackling rave music — specifically the “zoo rave” and hardcore/pre-jungle styles of the early ’90s — which he calls “my little temple, my little altar.”

“I’ve been collecting these records since ’92, when I was too young to know what I was putting my hands on, but I just liked the sound. And I’ve been buying them ever since,” says Daedelus. “Finally, I feel comfortable enough after this many years of releasing records to make a stab at it.”

The result is a pair of impressive releases. In January, influential L.A. imprint Alpha Pup issued Live at Low End Theory, a document of a Daedelus’ performance at the popular Los Angeles event. Throughout the 60-minute disc, Daedelus tweaks a Monome, a small MIDI device designed by engineers Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, that’s connected via USB cable to a MacBook running a Cycling ’74 Max/MSP software program with the OSC protocol. The setup allows him to chop up dozens of tracks from his decade-long discography, remixing them into a furiously imaginative set.

Alfred was born in Santa Monica in 1977 to an artist mother and psychologist father. Musical from very early on, as a child he was classically and jazz-trained in a number of instruments, but his interests were broad and varied – less a prodigy than a renaissance boy whose obsessions ranged from Greek legend to the mountains of Wales. As a 15 year old he finally persuaded his parents to take him to the Principality. Whilst in a YMCA in London he flipped the radio dial, found a pirate radio station and taped some UK rave and hardcore. “It was my first ‘Eureka!’ moment in music,” he says.

Back in the US he joined local rock bands, jazz bands and ska bands, which he enjoyed but felt limited by,too. At home he was listening to Warp, Ninja and your harder electronic stuff. He started DJing out the more leftfield side of drum and bass and making his own rudimentary productions. They were meant to be drum & bass but they kept turning out different and from his outsider’s experiments his own style was born. He chose the name Daedelus as he had a childhood obsession with invention, and what was he doing, after all, if not tinkering and fiddling and experimenting like the “gentleman inventors” of old?

In 1999 he started DJing on Dublab.com for his “Entropy Sessions” and began dropping in his own early demo productions. Carlos Nino (of ammoncontact) had the show after him and usually pushed Alfred out the studio as quickly as possible as he was not so into Daedelus’ confrontational DJ style, but when he heard a tranquil Daedelus production he took, in typical Nino style, Daedelus under his considerable wing around the LA scene. Nino placed Daedelus tracks on two influential compilations and then persuaded Plug Research to release his debut album, “Invention” in 2002, Remixers included Madlib, who later took Daedelus’ accordian parts and used them on the Madvillain record, closely followed by his “The Household” EP on Prefuse 73’s Eastern Developments label.

In 2003, he was booked to play a show in San Diego by Brian Crabtree and Peter Siegerstrong and they asked him to test out an early prototype of the Monome box. “It’s a Non-traditional electronic instrument,” Daedelus explains. “Basically it allows for massive improvisation.” Since then Daedelus has continued to use this revolutionary box, bringing much genuine liveness to the sometimes static world of performed electronic/dance music.

In 2003 he did “The Weather” album with Busdriver and Radioinactive and the remix album “Rethinking the Weather” on Mush records (home of cLOUDDEAD, also on Big Dada/Ninja Tune). 2004 saw the release of “Of Snowdonia” on Plug Research, the album with which Daedelus says he first “felt true artistic confidence, finding a true voice. I was finally in the right zone.”

There was certainly no let up in his creativity. Also in 2004 he released the concept album “A Gent Agent” on tiny German label Laboratory Instinct. The 2005 album “Exquisite Corpse” on Mush album featured the likes of TTC, Mike Ladd, MF Doom. Ninja signed Daedelus for UK/Europe (a relationship which has reached its full expression on “Love To Make Music To,” his first album for the label worldwide and put together with the help of their team). In 2006 “Denies the Days Demise” came out, a record showcasing his love of Brazilian music. Last year he released his first live album, “Live At the Low End Theory,” and “The Fairweather Friends EP”. Later this year will see the release of his collaboration with his wife, Laura Darling, as Long Lost!

And while his reputation has grown internationally, his place in the LA scene has also solidified. The musician that many of the hottest names in the city turn to for everything from bass clarinet licks to advice on obscure electronics, Daedelus has worked extensively with Taz from Sa-Ra, the pair of them opening for the likes of DJ Assault, Justice and Two Live Crew as well as appearing in Erykah Badu’s most recent video.

As for “Love To Make Music To,” Daedelus says that this album is “the imaginary memory of a time that never was! It’s my drug/love record, harking back to that time in the YMCA in London, when I first heard rave…”

Daedelusis a flagship user for the Monome, a small MIDI device designed by engineers Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, that’s connected via USB cable to a MacBook running a Cycling ‘74 Max/MSP software program with the OSC protocol. The setup allows him to chop up dozens of tracks from his decade-long discography, remixing them into a furiously imaginative set.

series

myspace.com/daedelusdarling
daedelusmusic.com
discogs.com/artist/Daedelus

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