Nth World Problems

nth world problems

nth world problems

To anyone who has paid even the slightest bit of attention to what I'm doing, I want to say Hapy Holidays & Happy New Year.

As far as Staggered is concerned, this has easily been the most frustrating and humbling year of work since year one. In a lot of ways, it was worse. In 2013, I was working in total abstraction and didn't know for a fact that live, generative MIDI was even possible. As far as I knew, nothing like it had been attempted before. It was an amazing moment when my code generated those first rhythmic pulses of white noise. It wasn't music (or was it!?), but I knew that I was onto something.

In a lot of ways, not much has changed. Musicians are dipping their feet into generative techniques using software, the same as they were before I started working. However, in the realm of music, two facts placed Staggered on an island in 2013 and still do:

  • Code is my primary instrument
  • My output is ephemeral by design - I do not aspire to be a recording artist

The second point cannot be overstated. Since I am streaming live 24/7, I have infrastructure concerns that even another musician working primarily in generative MIDI would not. Availability, fallbacks, recovery, etc. In this space, there is no one for me to defer to...no known blueprint. I'm still working from scratch.

For this reason, I deployed the minimum viable product in early 2014 as Facets, which is still what you hear on this site. Before I can move forward, that prototype must become an application with all of the features I need to create the desired output. This is what I've been working on all year, and it has not been easy. The work itself has been painstaking and tedious, with no real gratification until recently.

Starting in the New Year, I will be posting test runs from Static Void. This isn't some sort of planned release...it's just coincidence that I've been able to complete the implementation of some of these features over the last few weeks. These include:

  • Changing drum kits from one composition to the next (currently only one kit)
  • Changing chords on 8th notes (currently only done on quarters)
  • Lead melody playing 16ths (currently only 8ths)
  • 4+ note chords (currently only triads)

While these might not seem like a big deal and might not even be detected by a casual listener, the mathematical component of the changes made them exceedingly difficult to debug, especially in my spare time. That's really what happened to 2016. I had nothing to disclose on a given day other than what specific algebraic hell I had sunk into.

I will be transposing my notes to XML, experimenting with new presets and doing some test recordings (gasp!) for you guys in the coming days just to pull you in on the process. You know, the fun stuff. The reason I started doing this in the first place. There's still some low hanging fruit in terms of features (for example: varying the instrumentation instead of having all instruments always playing), but I need a break form dev for a while.

As I move forward, please post ideas in the comments or tweet. Thanks again for your interest and again, Happy New Year!