: music, art, code

Ableton + Processing for real-time audio visualization (Part 1)

I’ve often felt underwhelmed by abstract or generic VJ material that borrows nothing from the music it supports and lends nothing back. It’s for this reason that I’ve worked over the last few years on a series of projects that create a tighter link between my music and the visuals that the audience experience.

As an example, see:

More Buttons No Problems – live @ gallery 263 from makingthenoise on Vimeo.

However, in many of these projects I’ve swung too far in the other direction in that the visuals are so hand-crafted for a specific set or song that they can’t be re-used as my audio set evolves. What I’ve longed for is a suite of modular visualization elements that plug-and-play with my live set in Ableton. I want something that’s generic enough to remain functional as my songs change over time, but tightly coupled to the music enough to demonstrate to the audience that the visuals are aware of the current state of the music. Continue reading →

January 4, 2014

Bike to the Sun Mix

A friend of mine is participating in the Climate Ride from NYC to DC this weekend.  That’s over 200 miles on bike! In her honor, I crafted the following mix with themes of speed, struggle, and sunshine.

Making the Noise – Bike to the Sun Mix

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September 21, 2013

Shakespeare and Ableton

Earlier this year, I was introduced to local comedian Marc Basch and we struck up a conversation about how everything on stage works better with a beat:  music, comedy, and acting.  Even if it isn’t a literal beat, there’s a time signature that most performances work under.

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September 11, 2013

One Sketch to Rule Them All (Part 3)

In my last post, I showed how you can flip between 2 Processing sketches within the same window.  This might be useful if you have a library of sketches you want to demo, but don’t want to close/open each sketch by hand.

Now I’d like to show how you can display 2 sketches at the same time.


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August 17, 2013

One Sketch to Rule Them All (Part 2)

In my last post, I talked about how you can load multiple Processing sketches from one master sketch.  However, the 2 techniques shown in that post had the annoying side effect of popping up multiple windows as each sketch was loaded.  In this post, I’ll show a way flip between sketches all within the same window.


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One Sketch to Rule Them All (Part 1)

In my last post about VJ’ing, I mentioned I was able to render graphics to an offline buffer in Processing.  Recently, some Boston Creative Coder friends were talking about how great it’d be to switch between different Processing sketches without reloading the application.  It turns out that these 2 topics are related, but first let me start with a simple way to load multiple sketches from 1 super-sketch.


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Vizzie Jockey

Last week I was invited to VJ at the Sonic Beating Summer Series party in Cambridge.  I must have given off some VJ vibes at some point previously because I’d never actually VJ’d before!  3 late night coding sessions later, I was able to repurpose some prior Processing sketches to work in a live environment.

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August 13, 2013 ,


Inspired by Traxman’s Da Mind of Traxman

August 5, 2013

Multi-Touch Helps the One Fund

I recently had a chance to install my multi-touch table at a benefit for the One Fund which supports victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.  I’ve used this interface for my own performances but I had never left it out in the open for others to use.  Initially I was nervous that someone would knock off the plexiglass or tear the contact paper but it survived and seemed to entertain many.

mtn multi-touch installation Oberon

Photo by Hans Wendland –

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July 14, 2013 ,

Geometric String Art Tutorial

I recently became fascinated with string art and decided to play around with some ideas that could eventually work for a large, open wall in my living room.  What resulted were a couple 2’x4′ wood panels with painted geometric forms and string outlines:

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July 4, 2013 ,