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Who is using the power of MIDI....

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  • Who is using the power of MIDI....

    Hello my fellow "e-drummers"! I just got done reading the BS in the "wish me luck" topic! Let's move on to some real stuff!!!

    MIDI!!!!!!!!!! MIDI!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Let's get this topic going strong for all the MIDI virgins out there. So they will really understand what those wierd looking jacks on the backs of thier modules are really for.
    Calling all midi powers users! Lets fill this topic up! Newbies.....the Midi timid...Read and learn.

    Lets Start!
    Is anyone out there have thier own Akira Jimbo or a Kenwood Denard solo performace thing going on? Or how are you using midi in you performance? Details please!

    [This message has been edited by MattSDP (edited April 11, 2001).]
    Matt "The Gladiator DP" Saunders

  • #2
    You can easily e-mail your midi peformance to another end of the globe and the receiver simply loads your jam into his sequencer, and trigger and number of drum machines, samplers, or modules...I know, I've done it..

    I like to take rough mixes and masters from people and lay down drum tracks in midi, audition scores of drum kits from various modules and samplers, find the right one, then burn an audio track and ship it back...

    I'll admit its older technology, but very convenient for my applications....


    • #3
      I have some nutty MIDI stuff going on in live performance with BENTMEN that you might find interesting:

      A major new component of our show is interactive video and graphics that I am triggering and controlling in real time, directly from my Roland V-Drums via my Powerbook. For example, the harder I hit a particular drum, the more or less translucent it's corresponding image appears on the screen.

      This is all accomplished through scripting in object-oriented Lingo in Macromedia Director. For those of you familiar with Director, I'm using a MIDI Xtra which parses the incoming information and sends it to a bunch of child objects that are instantiated in an array of behaviors (drag 'n' drop scripts I authored in Lingo which are truly modular and reusable). These are attached to various sprites around the screen. The sprites could be any type of Director cast asset -- simple bitmaps, vector shapes, Flash animations or even QuickTime video.

      I also have some routines going with two or more superimposed full-screen images, where the layers change their level of translucency and/or "color cycling" based on MIDI input, which looks outrageously psychedelic. Flash animations can jump from scene to scene or respond to the input as self-contained objects with their own "DNA" as it were. Sort like arc-welding Lingo and Actionscript together (although I prefer Lingo -- it executes 100 times faster). I can also futz with the bezier curves of a vector based on note values. In sum, any aspect of any MIDI message can be parsed and mapped to any aspect of any type of multimedia asset, be it audio, visual, text, database, links to CGI scripts on the web -- WHATEVER!

      Most people think multimedia is buttons that light up and go "ping" and take you somewhere. My definition of multimedia is that any aspect or attribute of any media type can be used to control or change any other aspect of any other media type.

      I had a major breakthrough a few weeks ago, using MIDI to control full screen QuickTime video loops. I wrote a little test algorithm to make the frame jump to a random location in the video loop whenever it detects an incoming MIDI note. The *massively cool* (and unforeseen) thing is that it doesn't just jump to the frame, it FAST FORWARDS!

      The effect is similar to certain scenes in THE MATRIX (and some recent TV ads) where the camera slows down and speeds up really fast as it's zooming in on something. It looks *awesome!* I can also make it run *backwards*, rotate, stretch, paint trails, etc. -- all completely seamless, all completely hi-quality full-screen video and all driven dynamically in real time from the V-Drums!

      The organizing principle here is that this is the next step in using multimedia technology in live performance -- rather than slapping a bunch of crap together and letting the proverbial chips fall where they may, there's some actual thought and composition to the images that accompany the music. I now have our entire set visually orchestrated as well as musically, right down to the verses and choruses, etc.

      But it's more than just that: those ingredients are then triggered and controlled *directly by the performer* on stage, in real time. This allows for an unprecedented level of improvisation. The goal is a fusion between light and sound, between science and superstition (ahem), to create something that's more than the sum of it's parts.

      Here, the performer is making music and simultaneously painting with light as a direct result. A natural feedback loop is created, in the mind of both performer and spectator, where no one can tell where one ends and the other begins.

      It's sort of like film scoring in reverse -- the music comes first, then the images. In short, a Fantasia machine. Yeow!

      Sound interesting? This is just one aspect of our show. For more, check out http://www.bentmen.com

      I'm going to freely publish the code as soon as I get a chance to clean it up a bit.


      F R A N K C O L E M A N
      new media ninja


      • #4
        WOW!! That sounds great!
        TD-30 / SPD-SX /Alesis Strike Multipad


        • #5
          that sounds like someone has finally come up with a good idea in how to use MIDI creatively. I'd be very interested in that code!

          PS. Great site, by the way, you guys should come play New Haven some time.

          [This message has been edited by mcconaghy (edited April 22, 2001).]
          "Fry that sound effect, Moriarty, we're having it for breakfast"


          • #6
            Very impressive Frank and welcome aboard. You're the 1st that I've heard of doing this, but then, I don't get out much. Shucks, a major MIDI accomplishment for me was just getting my TD-10's and synth working together. Someday I'll get a computer (sorry gang, I can't believe it either) and perhaps give your ideas a whirl. Sounds like a lot of fun.

            Forge On,


            • #7
              Hi gang:

              Thanks for all the kind words. I really appreciate it.

              As I alluded to, there's more to the story than just this -- starting with the fact that I'm not the only drummer. Geoff Chase has been the BENTMEN's drummer for the last five years. I've been in for about nine months.

              Apart from being my soul brother, the man kicks some righteous a** (can I use asterisks here?).

              Geoff and I take a somewhat different approach to playing in general, as well as being in some respects 180 degrees the opposite of each other. Yet by all accounts we sound less like two drummers than we do one two-headed, four-armed, four-legged drummer.

              Geoff is ostensibly playing a traditional drumset, but with a certain primitive joie de vivre. I, as previously described, am playing a set of v-drums on acid. All of Geoff's cymbals are massively cracked and torn, his drums are big and primeval, I'm playing Interactive Television as if it were a percussion instrument. He literally has a garbage can lid for a cymbal. I am essentially playing a "Fantasia" machine of my own design.

              We are surrealists, we BENTMEN. And the essence of surrealism, as it's founder Andre Breton put it, is to bring together two or more distinct realities together. The more distant the relationship between those realities, and yet at the same time the more *just* their relationship, the more poetic friction results.

              The ethos of BENTMEN is perhaps best described as being both primitive and futuristic at the same time. Geoff and I see ourselves embodying that at the root-most level.

              Well, that's it, class is over for today.

              I'll let you guys know when I have some code posted and I'll do my best to fill you in on whatever discoveries I make along the way. I believe in the group mind -- let me know if you have any ideas, questions or insights, ok?

              Rock on.

              part-time contortionist
              BENTMEN http://www.bentmen.com


              • #8
                Dude, I'm checking out your show, the Providence one, if I can make it.

                You're living in Needham?

                I'm a little south of that, Great Woods/Tweeter Center area.

                I'll post a review, y'all....



                • #9




                  • #10
                    Hey! I think that is really cool hooking the midi up to a video screen, thats a great idea! Ive never even considered such a feat. but i just want to expand on musical uses of midi.

                    I currently play in a techno live pa, and use the on board sequencer for looped meliodies, or the ever too common house beat, (if you don't know it, four on the floor. kick on 1234. HH on the up beats This really free's up my arms. Now that a beat any drummer CAN play, is playing for me, alowing alot of room for texture. Sequencing high hat tracks, melodies, even entire beats, really open up the doors on what a drummer can do. Now we can play beats humanly impossible to pull off with four limbs.

                    What our band really needs is an AKAI MPC200. A sequencing, sampling, powerhouse. Basicly the Akai would send out time code that all of our instruments would pick up, so that whenever I trigger a drum track, and our keyboard player lays on the bass, they are perfectly in time.

                    Give you any good ideas?

                    The Sound Hypothesis http://www.evolbeats.com

                    [This message has been edited by Prototype (edited April 24, 2001).]


                    • #11
                      To BINARY:

                      Hope to see you at the Providence show! Say hi if you get a chance.

                      And yes, our guitarist Crazy Eddie is playing a Steinberger. Eddie is a _monster_!

                      I don't know if he's been playing Steinbergers all along or not, I'll have to ask him. He may have gotten the idea from our previous guitarist, Reeves Gabrels.

                      ersatz muffin man


                      • #12
                        Hi Frank. You've designed a very nice website. In my youth the term would have been "what a trip". What's the Bentmen outlook for a visit to our neck of the woods?
                        I'm in the northern part and the local "bent" emitter is out of a college ...

                        Unless you're already in touch with someone out here, let me know if I can help set up something out our way. Best of luck.



                        • #13

                          Contact me privately at [email protected]

                          Regarding Prototypes message about using MIDI for musical purposes, I neglected to mention that I also have hooked up as part this whole de facto shrine to Rube Goldberg the full complement of functionality enabled through Beatnik (http://www.beatnik.com), Thomas Dolby's software.

                          This basically gives me a discrete 64-channel polyphonic sequencer/sampler on every single drum and/or rim. It utterly, totally kicks butt, my friends. I'm using it to stash really long samples, fragments of dialog, etc.

                          There's also the soundtrack of the quicktime movies that gives one the option of embedding sound objects on multiple layers that can get enabled, disabled or tweaked via any specified MIDI parameter.



                          • #14
                            Great job Frank!!!!!!!

                            See!!! I knew there was more to this board than just arguing!

                            Thats an awesome setup! I am really interested in contacting you and discussing it futher. The visual aspect of it really turns me on because I am a cinematographer.

                            Lets keep this topic going guys!!!! Who has some more for us!!

                            Matt "The Gladiator DP" Saunders

                            [This message has been edited by MattSDP (edited April 25, 2001).]
                            Matt "The Gladiator DP" Saunders


                            • #15
                              Hey Frank, a very cool setup it sounds like you've got going! Wish I could come check out the live gig but alas I am on the wrong coast...

                              Great to hear that you are using Beatnik -- I've been working there for about three years and am happy to see someone putting our techology to such good use. Email me if you ever need anything.


                              Sal Orlando