The Box from Mike Todd on Vimeo.

Knobs and faders, we love you on hardware. But when it comes to the unlimited possibilities of the computer, we know how to get the party on:

“Add some physics bodies.”

(See below; that’s really a quote.)

Mike Todd, whose work we’ve seen before on CDMotion, sends us a physics-based sequencer/synth built in Max/MSP and Jitter. It’s a quivering, humming three-dimensional world of sound, in which visuals and noise are entangled in a single design. (Ableton Live acts as a sound engine.) As Todd says, he’s “not sure which CDM site this would go on (a good thing, right?).” Good, indeed.

Lots of tools now let you add physics easily, but Max 6 is uniquely well-equipped – and a set of tutorials get you started.

Find a whole mess of tutorials – with “patch-a-long” video how-tos – here:

And yes, unlike the abysmal track record I had with physics labs in high school, here even mistakes can be fun.

I’d love to see more of these experiments, so do send your work our way.

  • Evan Bogunia

    Very cool implications here. When I was poking around max 6 a few months ago, I had an idea of making a Physical Modulator – something that tracks the position in a physical world, to modulate parameters in live. I think that would be a good addition to the musical collisions and sound generation in this example. I need to get to patching!

  • Samuele Cornell

    sort of Lemur, but way more advanced.
    Infinite possibilities in sound generation, envelopes , filters , modulators.
    And its included in Live 9 Suite ! M4l is probably the only thing worth for the upgrade except maybe push.

    • cassiel

      You can use Max’s physics modelling without doing any graphics, so yes, it’s possible to imagine control interfaces with some sense of weight and momentum a la Lemur.

    • cassiel

      Oh, yeah: Live 9. The clip-level automation is actually pretty cool, although the gains here are most apparent when attached to Push. The new browser is pretty nice, although it’s a bit Marmite: some people love it, others hate it.

  • cassiel

    Max physics + MSP is turning out to be a sweet spot for algorithmic or autonomous sound generation – I remember Darwin Grosse demoing this kind of system a couple of years ago at the Max Expo, but it’s good to see something with a strong visual aesthetic. Quite by coincidence, I’m running a workshop in this rough topic area on Sunday in London:

    • kerosene

      excellent + very interesting! I’ve booked a place, see you there