Sounds like the project is going well, according to the latest update (from two weeks ago). Too bad we can’t order the yellow board, but it’ll be nice to have enclosures ready when the HAT arrives.
But most of us have to.
In the meantime, been dreaming about a number of projects, several involving Sonic Pi and Automatonism.
As a reminder, the upcoming version of Sonic Pi (coming really soon, probably before most pisound boards are shipped) will have full support for MIDI/OSC and audio I/O. This can be pretty big. Been testing that on a Mac and it’s really rad. Just can’t wait to show it off to people during Raspberry Pi and Sonic Pi workshops.
As for Automatonism, as we’ve said in another thread, it’s a neat way to learn Pd. Not that the program is so difficult but it does require a specific approach, which might not be obvious to everyone. Got some small breakthroughs which really helped me appropriate it, Automatonism being the latest one. Since pisound gives such a central role to Pure Data, that level of appropriation really makes me dream of many projects to do with my board.
As my background is primarily as a sax player, much of my exploration has to do with instrumental practice and its limitations. Been using a Yamaha WX11 wind controller which affords a lot of expressiveness through breath control and lip pressure. But it still only sends a single note at a time and can require quite a bit of fiddling with external synths to find the right “formula”. My major “discovery” (something a lot of wind controller users have known for a while) is that much can be done by using breath control to modulate the cutoff frequency of a low-pass filter. So simple, yet so effective.
Was able to use that in the latest alpha versions of Sonic Pi and it’s a pure joy to play. In fact, sending lip pressure (normally interpreted as pitch bend) to an effect like ring modulation or distortion literally adds a whole new dimension to my playing.
Was also able to reproduce some of the same overall setup in Pure Data, using Automatonism. Haven’t been able to create a very satisfying base synth to work with this, but the effect itself is really fun. And having that on a pisound-enhanced Raspberry Pi connected directly to my wind controller through MIDI can make for a very nice setup for jam sessions and such. (Recently started using my wind controller plugged into an iPad, for local jams. Reactions are part of the fun. But the dynamic range afforded my wind controller setup also make for nice and smooth musical interactions. Still use my alto sax much of the time, but the wind controller is finally getting some action, over twenty years after landing in my hands.)
Going back to Sonic Pi, something it allowed me to do is reproduce what might call the “Michael Brecker Effect” after work done by Robby Kilgore with the well-known wind controller player. Basically, you get a system to accompany your monophonic line with rotating chords, based on diverse intervals which change in complex ways. There are many ways to get chords out of a monophonic instrument but this one has the advantage of producing diverse chords from the same note.
Also did some work to produce a very simple countermelody based on the harmony principle of countermotion. That effect can be really neat, too. And Sonic Pi code is so easy to use and tweak that it’s been possible for me to produce new things by just changing a few lines of code. Not really what people have in mind of “live coding”, but pretty much as much fun.
And very fitting for a sax player.
Apart from my current WX11 setup, been dreaming about other controllers, especially those which support MPE, Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression. So, the LinnStrument, Haken Continuum, ROLI’s Seaboard line, Madrona Soundplane… and Eigenlabs Eigenharp. As a sax player, been particularly taken by the Eigenharp Pico, which is eminently portable, relatively inexpensive, and features a (two-way!) “breath pipe”. Will most likely purchase one. Just trying to get a cooler head before making my final decision, which is relatively hard in Hottawa (the Summer version of the Canadian capital).
Huge thing with the Eigenharps is that they’re tethered to a desktop computer. Until recently, this computer had to be running Windows or macOS but Eigenlabs made their software Open Source and some people (especially Mark “The Technobear” Harris, from the Axoloti community) create versions for other platforms… including our beloved Raspbian machines!
No idea how the performance will be. It’s still very much a work in progress. Chances are that a single Pi can’t process all the data from the Eigenharp (it really sends a lot, it sounds like) and produce interesting sounds in Sonic Pi or Pure Data. But nothing prevents me from using two Pi boards, one running the Eigenharp software and the other, pisound-enhanced, driving Pure Data and/or Sonic Pi.
Again, it can make for a really neat setup for such occasions where space is an issue and you’d rather not focus on a screen. So, jam sessions but also workshops and demonstrations. Even thought about busking with such a setup. Not that my musicking is so busker-friendly, but people often get intrigued by the novelty.
So, these are some of my overall thoughts about using the pisound. Got several more specific ideas but they tend to revolve around those same things.
What are your pisound-based projects? Very curious to hear what people have in mind.
With this heat, it could help me wait for my HAT’s arrival.