Today I opened up my old Max patches for the first time in years and was transported to a wonderful time of electronic creativity.

The first patch above was a performance-based sample player for my Max-MSP final project where the input was controlled by a USB gamepad. In 2003 I wrote a paper “How Interactivity Adds Depth to Electro-acoustic Performance” where I explored how electronic musicians can connect their musicality with a crowd and not just press play and twist knobs. A year later I attempted to create my own Max patch that did a sliver of that…or at least create a fun method to manipulate samples. Patch overview:

  • Load sample
  • Sample gets processed and sliced into x # of steps (16 by default)
  • Steps are played in normal or random order; samples are played in forward or reverse
  • Effects can be added – reverb, filters, delay, playback speed, and gating
  • Some functions turned on/off by MIDI via USB gamepad

The second patch was a control panel for the MIDINes – a custom cartridge that gives access to the NES’ internal 5-channel synthesizer – with an Aleatoric spin. Patch overview:

  • Each channel has multiple parameters controlled by CC
  • MIDI generated by input or randomized
  • Randomization set by ranges/duration/intervals/modes/octaves

Here’s an example of how it sounded:

Fun videos about the NES sound chip:

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