There are two basic ways to approach computer music making: work with a system that’s already built for you (think traditional sequencers), or build your own, modular, unique way of working. Both approaches can be valid, but for a small but dedicated band of hard-core computer musicians, only the latter will do. The Buzz project for Windows attempted to merge modular capabilities with a tracker-style sequencer. (Buzzmachines.com isn’t working for me at the moment; see also the Buzz Wikipedia entry.)

There’s a new hope, however. Linux-native but build-able on Windows, free, and intensely powerful, early versions of the new Aldrin software for Windows look very promising. Formerly called Mute, Aldrin offers tracker capabilities, modular features, planned “1:1 compatibility with Buzz,” and integration with the Freesound creative commons sample library.

I can do better than a static screenshot here. The developer has just posted a video of the program in action. Let the techno commence:

Heck, you can even use DSP sources directly in your projects. Andy Selby writes with more:

… You should mention Aldrin (another clone of Jeskola Buzz – but only for Linux), because the latest version shows off its potential really well. It’s already been Computer Music’s [Linux] software of the month. It’s now got the promised Freesound integration and does many of the things that are difficult or impossible using Buzz under Wine [Windows emulation] on your Linux setup (audio input, MIDI control, JACK…)

To top it all off, you can extend the interface using Python and it lets coding-people include DSP sources in their song modules. The only downside is not many Buzz plugins are ported yet (for generators there’s only one synth and a tracker so far). I haven’t started using it in place of Buzz as some of my favorite plugins for Buzz aren’t ported yet (not many plugins are so far) but I’ve been testing it for quite a few versions and the host is developing really fast.

Looks interesting; as more modules appear, this could be reason to boot into Linux.

Aldrin wiki
0.10 Release Announcement, which could be considered the first major mainstream release (beta-wise, anyway)
Leonard Ritter blog [developer]

Elsewhere:
The Buzz About Aldrin [Linux music guru Dave Phillips, in Linux Journal]

  • radian

    It no longer builds on Windows, but see it's sisterBuzz RMX instead.

  • alex

    Aldrin is the one to check if you want to see the new and best stuff. BuzzRMX is able to handle real buzz-machines but isn't using the latest stuff. It should be possible to get Aldrin running under Windows although there aren't any prepared binaries for it yet.

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  • Jon

    OS X?!? Please??

    This sounds awesome. I've been trying to conceive something like this for a month or 2 now as i learn MAX/MSP. But a patch like this would be an insane undertaking.

    mmmmmmm modularity.

  • John

    Hey Jon, I don't know for a fact. But maybe you can install fink with gcc and the gnu dev tools and requisite dev libs and get it to compile successfully on OSX?

  • dark.nowhere

    Jon, I have a feeling that's not priority, but a likely eventuality. I don't really know… why don't you ask Leonard about it? He loves feedback.

  • http://www.myspace.com/6ixafter7even sixafterseven

    Aldrin rocks. Especially for users of the new eepc a small portable computer by asus which uses the linux os.

    Buzzers can now perform live like never before. I am surprised there is not more "buzz" about this program.

    I guess linux scares some people because they thing of the old days with no gui.