“So,” you say, “I’ve got a … and I want to connect it to a … to make music. How do I do that?”
One strong answer to that question, if you’ve got a Mac, is junXion. Developed by the landmark audio research laboratory STEIM – a hotspot in Amsterdam that for years has been imagining new ways of making music by connecting things to other things – it got a big update recently.
It takes lots of the inputs you might imagine (joysticks, mice, touchscreens, MIDI, OpenSoundControl, audio, Arduino-powered hardware and all of its sensors, and video sensing) and connects it to a lot of the outputs you might imagine (using MIDI or OSC). You can set up rules in between the input and output to make that connection musically meaningful.
OSC input and output wasn’t entirely optimal in past versions; a total rewrite now makes it work with useful OSC sources like the iOS TouchOSC and Lemur apps. You get nifty new Actions, like remote mouse control. You can use a Nintendo Wii “Wiimote”‘s infrared-sesnsing capabilities and vibration support. If you’re using video, you can now support multiple “blobs.” And the whole app promises to run faster and look better, with more help tags in the UI, and added stability.
75 € for the full version. You need Mac OS X 10.5 or later, including the latest 10.7 Lion. (Upgrades for version 4 are free; Lite users can upgrade for 60 €.)
Of course, talking about this doesn’t really make much sense; it’s better to see it in action. We have a whole bunch of videos from the folks at STEIM showing features like Wii and joystick control and video sensing from a camera – plus a couple of fascinating demo/tutorials submitted by users.
Let’s watch, shall we?
Far from the walls of STEIM, though, intrepid users have concocted their own demos. Here’s a look at controlling Reason with a Wiimote:
Here’s a live performance, also controlled by Wiimote, in the modular live environment AudioMulch. The creator writes:
A basic soundscape in AudioMulch controlled by two Wii remotes via JunXion IV.
Buttons in Wii Remotes control: start and stop buttons, presets of the main mixer, transient parameter of the granulator, frequency of the pulsecomb_1 (processing the drum), a junxion-timer controlling the volume of the granulator.
X-Y-Z accelerators control: 10 harmonics of a frequency generator, parameters of the rissettone
And yes, a camera can be a Theremin:
Got your own solution using junXion – or another tool? We’d love to hear about it.
See also two fine Mac-only tools:
Osculator [Much like junXion, supports nearly anything as an input, adds advanced OSC routing]
ControllerMate [not music-specific, but very powerful modular game input utility]
In fact, what’s largely missing is easy solutions on Windows and Linux, though you can roll your own with a free tool like Pd, which also supports HID, Arduino, video, and the like.