Musicians and composers have long dreamt of computers and mobiles playing music that changes on its own, rather than playing static, pre-determined scores. But to actually pull it off, you need a number of pieces. One solution for putting those pieces together is finally here, with desktop-to-mobile delivery and an interesting combination of a generative engine with synths and effects that can work in real time.
We’ve been following the work of Intermorphic for some time: this team, experienced in generative music (as popularized by the likes of Brian Eno), has been building a portfolio of software for music making using generative and other techniques. At long last, their anticipated Mixtikl V1 suite is here. The idea is to combine a set of complementary tools for making and delivering music on computers and mobiles, with a particular eye toward interactive, generative tools. The components of the suite:
- Partikl, the synth: Modular synth, DLS (DownLoadable Sound) MIDI playback, and effects “network,” Partikl works both on desktops and on mobile devices (currently PocketPC/PDA). There’s even a “particle generator.” Make tones, create modular synths and effects you can modulate live, or play back sample/loop content.
- Noatikl, the generative engine: Here’s the good bit. Based on the evolution of the same Koan system employed by Brian Eno, Noatikl is a scriptable “hyperinstrument” that can generative musical structures. Partikl is designed to work with it, so part of your musical structure can be modulating your synths, effects, and samples. The full Noatikl doesn’t run inside Mixtikl, but a runtime does, so it can play back generative structures instead of limiting you to static MIDI files and the like.
- Static content support: Even the most rigorous advocate of generative music will likely concede that some pre-determined content can be useful. So the suite supports static scores and audio files (OGG, WAV, AU, MIDI, MOD).
- Apps to use them together: Remixer, Performer, and Player let you combine these elements for live use.
- Packs: Tiklpak content are generative packs that show off what the thing can do.
- Desktop support: Mac, Windows. And having the ability to use plug-ins means authoring should be much easier.
- Mobile support: Windows Mobile at launch (for almost any resolution currently available, even including Windows Mobile smartphones). Coming soon: Symbian, iPhone/iPod touch, and the multi-platform Antix Game Player (have to admit, hadn’t heard of that one).
Mixtikl Download Page [Desktop, Mobile]
Pricing: US$9.99-29.99 for Mixtikl; Noatikl $79.99+; various bundles and limited-time coupons available – but you can get up and running with quite a lot for around ten bucks
It’s good to hear the iPhone is back on the list after some doubts from Intermorphic earlier this year. (Apple easing up on restrictions may have helped!) The Intermorphic crowd note that:
If you do get a chance to play with it, do try out some of the Noatikl generative items in the Tikpak Cinematic 120d, which is one of two Tiklpaks that comes embedded with Mixtikl. The generative items show up as red in the content list. As some of these also use Partikl to dynamically create the their sounds (they do a lot) and they also use FX, these ones can really slow up your device, as they do consume a fair amount of processing power.
There’s something appealing about being able to take a generative composition with you, whether it’s listening on the go or actually remixing or performing with it. So the mobile delivery thing is really important.
It’s taken some time to develop this, so it’ll likewise take some time for us to spend some time with Mixtikl. Stay tuned – and let us know if there’s anything you’d like us to specifically see.