Living Room Rehearsal series – Part 2

BAGEL here! In our previous blog post we explored the cross-fade setup. In this post we look at area triggering!

Our goal was to play a different sound (either on loop or oneshot) depending on where you stood in the space. The basic patch in Max4Live was completed with help from none other than Tommy from the comedy act Jollyboat! Thanks Tommy 🙂 With the device loaded in we were ready to rock. Since we had a few sound inspirations from the team in the USA we thought we’d incorporate these into the rehearsal. We split up the first few words of the Queen song Masters Of The Universe. Each word was played gloriously when the player entered a predefined area. I made a satisfying tool that allows you to upload a simple JPEG file with four different colours mapped to trigger areas.


Check out this video of the test!


Making this map of the room in terms of triggers was as simple as:

 > going into Microsoft Paint

> scribbling some black, blue, red and green shapes

> loading the image into the device

> opening the Pozyx client

> triggering sound clips using midi notes that play when the position data of a tag first enters a new coloured shape

I used a fantastic custom Ableton device from Tom Cosm to do the mapping of midi notes to playing clips – an essential tool for interactive work like this! Didn’t want to have to write my own patch to do this so his worked just perfectly! Check out the MIDI Note to Any Clip Slot Trigger 1.1 device here:

However, this being the first time we were playing with this in rehearsal there were some BUGS to work out. Thanks to a little ‘ghost’ dot that was related to a time issue, our data stream was getting interrupted with bizarro data! We tried for many hours to eliminate this extra data travelling through the MaxMSP cords. The final exorcism relied on syncing data from the Pozyx to the qmetro object in Max that was driving the visual processing of the player’s position on a map of the room. We were very glad to have it sorted out in time for more play. 🙂  

 This enter-a-space-then-trigger-audio interaction could be very powerful in a multiplayer setup and Ryan’s (our wonderful sound composer) work with tempo and repetition would have a great impact here. Perhaps vertical movement, instead of controlling volume like in cross fade, could control tempo changes!  We started thinking of all sorts of combination games that could be played with this interaction and once again prop ideas started to bubble. Can you only move onto spots that sound a certain way? Can you find a ‘secret’ spot? Is it about putting pieces in order? If two sounds are triggered in a pattern does something new happen?

 Oh BALLOON has some thoughts about our process. What’s up?

 Sometimes it feels like a very stop and start process, because naturally we’d love to turn to Kat and ask ‘what if we stuck the tag in a top hat or a cat monster head?’ or Ryan ‘let’s grab some more fog horns and then we’ll really be at the ocean!’. But the fact that we can do  any of this remotely, share videos and chat once a week, was something we couldn’t do ten years ago. I feel we are all treating the 2 weeks we’ll have together July as special, carved out time, and the more we can prepare to share together, the better. Its like creating little tools, little vignettes, little pieces of a fully fleshed show, notes and sketched our scores of an album – these rehearsals, though frustrating at times, highlight the joy that arises at every little discovery, and the even greater joy once we, and our creations, come together 😀

Thanks BALLOON! I experience the same moments of awe (it works!!) and of frustration (argh bug!!!!!!) as well at times! All part of the process! Ultimately it will be the combination of all these little tools that provide fertile ground for our July explorations!


Stay tuned folks for more news on our next adventures into… TRACKING ACCELERATION DATA WITH THE POZYX – NO ANCHORS?!?!!