MusikMesse 2010

Going to MusikMesse was lot of fun. First of all, I have been able to meet my friends, the CopperLan team, who were showcasing their new developments.

CopperLan is a new protocol for music and pro-audio that makes it easy to connect and control software and devices. It is self-configuring, plug and play, backwards compatible with MIDI.

CopperLan, unlike MIDI, is very easy to use. You just plug things together, and play with them. It lets you access the parameters of compatible software and devices in human readable form, it is fast, reliable, and can be used to control MIDI devices with almost no effort. I really hope this protocol will become popular because it will help solving lots of trouble we have with current protocols: MIDI is not precise enough and requires some knowledge to know what you are doing, and OSC suffers from network configuration, which can be tedious to deal with. Hopefully, CopperLan makes all this a thing of the past.

I also had the chance to meet the Elektron guys. I have to say I am a big fan of their product since a long time. At its beginnings, my band Neïmo, didn’t have a real drummer. Because we just needed to travel light, and wanted something that had a modern sound, we chose the MachineDrum as our drummer. So it was a real pleasure to meet the ones who invented what gave the sound to our first album.

There was also a rather impressive demonstration of the Reactable Live. This is a touch enabled table, with a projector inside that produces sounds that are controlled by a set of “fiducial” symbols you put on the table. To better understand how it works, take a look at this video of Björk performing with the Reactable.

Laplace Tiger

Alexander Schubert has notified me of a new piece he wrote for drum kit, arm sensors, live electronics and live video.

The title of the piece is inspired by the “laplace demon” – a thought experiment describing a model using total determination. This is to evoke the question of how a system of this complexity is totally reproducible – which it is not in this case. The concept of the piece is a very structured progression of about 100 scenes, which are clearly defined – but within these cells there is a great amount of freedom for the performer on a micro level.

Don’t miss the part 2, there is some very very intense stuff …

Kyma sound workstation now supports Open Sound Control

My friends at Symbolic Sound have released a major update to the legendary Kyma sound workstation software. Quoting the press release:

Symbolic Sound Corporation has expanded the list of real-time controllers and software that can communicate with its Kyma sound design environment by adding support for Open Sound Control (OSC) to its Paca(rana) sound engine.

By connecting a Paca or Pacarana to the Ethernet, sound designers, musicians, and researchers using Kyma on Windows or Macintosh computers can establish bi-directional communication with OSC-enabled devices and software on the network to control parameters of Kyma sound synthesis and processing algorithms. Open Sound Control ( is an open communications protocol that delivers higher speeds, greater resolution, and more flexibility than is afforded by the standard MIDI protocol.

In addition, we worked in cooperation to bring support for MIDI over OSC to allow OSCulator to send raw MIDI data directly to the Pacarana on its Ethernet port. Carla and Kurt cleverly extended this protocol to allow bi-directional streams. OSCulator can also receive MIDI data coming from the Pacarana and re-transmit it on the MIDI bus of the computer.

For Paca and Pacarana users that means that you can send streams of MIDI events from your software directly to Kyma without need for a MIDI interface on your computer and without having to map each controller individually in OSCulator.

For everybody else, this means that you can send MIDI data over the network with simplicity.