randy's Recent Posts

Hey @shadowmusic, thanks for your patience. I don't usually work on Sundays but I was at the computer today so I'm glad I was able to help you out.

Not sure why I missed the above message... Sorry about that, I hope you found the way by now.

interview by Geeta Dayal

At age 29, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is a rising star in the world of electronic music. Her music was shaped by her years spent exploring the pastoral landscapes of Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, which led to a chance encounter—via a neighbor—with a Buchla 100 modular system. This, in turn, led to an affinity for the Buchla Music Easel, a unique, portable synthesizer invented in the 1970s. After several experiments with releasing her own material, her first full-length album, Euclid, was released in 2015 on the label Western Vinyl. Her new album, EARS, is receiving major acclaim; NPR recently raved that it "elevates the warm pulse of the Music Easel into the realm of the divine" and Spin wrote that Smith's album is "startlingly, richly fulsome, commingling the mysticism of Smithsonian Folkways LPs, IDM’s furrowed futurism, and the free fall questing of Laurie Spiegel’s 1980 landmark, The Expanding Universe."

What drew you to composing electronic music in the first place? Can you talk about some of your early inspirations?

I studied orchestral music and composition in school, and my first introduction into making electronic music was on a Buchla 100. Immediately I felt like I had a personal orchestra at my fingertips with only my time to worry about.

In the beginning of my experience with electronic music, listening was my inspiration. Taking time to listen to one oscillator and then adding another and hearing how they interact. I spent a lot of time with the Buchla 100 trying to learn what It seemed like the machine wanted to do, rather than what I wanted it to do. I found this approach to be more enjoyable and less frustrating.

You’ve talked a bit in interviews about the natural environment of Orcas Island in Washington, and the profound effect it had on you. Can you briefly describe the landscape, for people who have never been there?

There are endless evergreen, aspen, madrona and cedar trees. The ground is lined with thick pads of moss. Lots of mushrooms. It is an island in the Puget Sound, so it is surrounded by other islands that look very similar. No poison oak. Lots of deer, rabbits, hawks, eagles. A lot of moisture in the air.

I was struck at how you are able to coax beautifully tonal music out of the Buchla Music Easel. It’s not an easy instrument to play in the way that you do. Can you talk about why and how you use the Easel? Some of your techniques and tricks?

Thank you. I approach the Easel in a similar way that I did the 100 but with a bit more intention now. I have spent enough time with it that it feels like an extension of my limbs, like how an acoustic instrument does. When I am composing, I use a mixture of intention and happy accident to guide the intention. If I could, I would use a Buchla 200 but since I don't have access to one, I am more than happy with the Easel. When I compose electronic music, the electronic part is always secondary to me. Composition is first.

You’ve used a combination of hardware and software instruments. Can you talk a bit about how you’ve used Aalto?

I love Aalto; it feels like a software version of a Buchla. Very intuitive to work with. Inspiring interface. It has a very complimentary tone to the Buchla. I like to map it to a hardware device and compose with it in real-time along with the Easel.

What’s your setup like at home for making music? How do you work?

My setup changes a lot depending on the project. Sometimes it is just a piano and sheet music; sometimes it is notation from Finale sending MIDI to the Easel; sometimes it is really elaborate with many synths connected to each other using the same clock, and a vocal mic so I can make everything in real time.

I find that I create best when I experience novelty, so I tend to not stick to a routine or similar setup when I create.

 

What are your plans for future projects? What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

I have a new album that I am very excited about — it combines synthesis with orchestral instruments and voice. I will be touring a lot over the next year and making more music.

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s EARS is now available from Western Vinyl and at bandcamp.com.

If you want to get the same effect as the bug, you can add a square wave at half your sampling rate to the output. That is really all that was happening. I don't doubt that you found some kind of magic in it somehow, but there is no way this will become part of the instrument on purpose.

You can also continue to use the version with the bug, if you so desire!

Hi, no I haven't sent out an email about this. I have been waiting to finish something else I'm working on so I can combine the two news items into one message. I'll send it out soon in any case. best.

No worries... Audio CPU use should be more or less the same in 1.8.5. I've changed a lot of interface timer code so UI stuff may feel snappier, which I don't have a good way of quantifying but it does feel better to me.

It's the "master_tune" parameter. I wrote more about it with the 1.8.4 release. https://www.madronalabs.com/topics/7588-kaivo-and-aalto-updated-to-1-8-4

OK, the 1.8.5 release for Mac and Windows is posted.

I figured this out. Update today or tomorrow.

[EDIT: womp womp]

@datolar to go back to older versions, you may have to delete the newer DLLs manually before running the installer.

@datolar If you want to go back to an older version, you must remove the Aalto DLL files manually before running the installer.

Sorry for the trouble, I'm working on this.

Meanwhile 1.8.3 is still available:
Mac: http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/Aalto1.8.3.pkg
Win: http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/AaltoInstaller1.8.3.exe

Since they are newer you will have to delete your 1.8.4 plugins manually first, then install 1.8.3.

I still can't reproduce this crash. All my tests are passing.

Happy to rule out some VST3 weirdness.

It seems like all the Mac crashes are on High Sierra, so I'm going to try installing that.

Meanwhile 1.8.3 is still available:
Mac: http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/Aalto1.8.3.pkg
Win: http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/AaltoInstaller1.8.3.exe

Since they are newer you will have to delete your 1.8.4 plugins manually first, then install 1.8.3.

Also it looks like there's no released version of Live that supports VST3. If you are trying to use a Live 10.1 beta please let me know. I can't support beta versions of hosts, but I'll be willing to try running it to track down any issues.

All the updates are available from the main product pages as usual.

I'm trying in Windows 10 as well as Mac OS and have experienced no crashes. Sorry for the difficulty. I have no idea what is going on but I'll hopefully find out soon with your help.

When you report an issue, please please send also all the version numbers of your OS and host! Not just the names like "10 Suite" or "High Sierra" but the numbers e.g. "Live 10.0.6" and "Mac OS version 10.13.1".

If you got a crash please send Ableton or MacOS crash logs to: support@madronalabs.com

I do not make a VST3 version of either Aalto or Kaivo. If you are seeing that a VST is present, where do you see this information?

If you have Live 10 but less than 10.0.6, please upgrade to the latest version of Live because there are known issues with plugins in 10.0.3, -4.

It's working here for me in Bidule, Windows 10 x64.

I would make sure you don't have any additional copies of Aalto around. I'm not sure yet but it's possible the new Aalto may be causing a crash in this situation where the old one handled it OK.

Also please update to the latest Bidule (0.9761) if you can, so we rule out a difference there—I tried to make Bidule scan a duplicate Aalto VST but it is smart and won't allow it, so I can't duplicate this problem yet.

A place for Kaivo patches! Just select copy to clipboard from the patch menu, and paste here to share.

I've deployed the update to the main product pages now.

I've now deployed the release to the main product pages.

There have been some crashes that revealed themselves in more recent versions of Ableton Live and it sounds like you are experiencing that. Sorry for the frustration.

I'm just about ready to release an upgrade to both plugins. Currently squashing some final issues with Kaivo. Aalto should be fixed. You can try the Aalto installer:
http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/Aalto1.8.4.pkg (Mac)
http://madronalabs.com/media/aalto/AaltoInstaller1.8.4.exe (Win)

You are not hearing the triggers because you have 'x vel' on ENV1 turned on. This multiplies the output of the envelope by the MIDI note velocity. Maybe not intuitively, it also applies when the trigger is coming from the sequencer! So without any MIDI input you won't get audible envelopes.

I'm working on the Windows update and will release ASAP.

Yes it will. Sorry the beta is only on Mac this time because that's where I'm developing. thanks for your patience.

Yes it will. Sorry the beta is only on Mac this time because that's where I'm developing. thanks for your patience.

Great Journey, thanks for sharing! I like the feel of this stuff many people would do with sequencers but played live.

I don't think putting videos here is possible and I guess that's a feature.

Checked out AE modular a bit and that looks like a fun project.

...

Full support! I look forward to its development.

A bump so the beta is more visible. Kaivo and Aalto releases coming soon.

Good news! I'll get the full release out including a Windows version ASAP.

I think I have fixed this. A beta for Mac OS is available at http://madronalabs.com/media/kaivo/Kaivo1.8.4b2.pkg .