Bass Drum, Saxophone and Laptop: Real-time Psychedelic Performance Software

Jonathan Weinel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Taking a performance by Z’EV and John Zorn as an inspirational starting point, Bass Drum, Sax & Laptop is a piece of software designed with Max/MSP which facilitates improvisational real-time performance for live instruments and electronics. This software and the music produced with it are a continuation of my research regarding compositional techniques that elicit altered states of consciousness. DSP effects are incorporated which process the live instruments, while a sampling module, the “atomizer”, produces sound which is mimetic of visual patterns of hallucination. An integral feature of the software is the ability to automate control parameters temporally so that they respond to the live performance. This facilitates a system of interactivity in which the performers respond to the software and vice-versa. The resulting spontaneous interactions and temporally shifting effects are intended to create an analogy between the sounds produced and the complex biological processes which produce dreams and hallucinations. In this article I will discuss the development of the software and its realisation in performance with Sol Nte on saxophone and myself on bass drum.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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