In Films on French Pd Event, a Reminder: You Can Always Make Your Own Tools for Music

By ajcolores

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Pure [creative] Data / Stereolux Nantes (29-30 mars 2012) from stereolux on Vimeo.

A personal note from this editor: I like to start my weekend with a bit of inspiration, so it seems good habit to leave you with the same. Looking through my story inbox, I almost posted a studio video of an artist who will at this moment go unnamed. (He or she may make an appearance when the time is right.) But, while I adore gear and a healthy tingle of gear lust now and then, something today felt wrong.

Yes, of course, this artist has a lot of wonderful gear. But even music technology can be about more than that.

Then, I remembered this video from a Pure Data event I joined at Stereolux in Nantes, France in the spring, with everyone from Pd creator Miller Puckette to artist Onyx Ashanti.

What’s special about this video for me is not the geeky application of musical patching skills, or even the fact that Pd is free and open source. It’s that everything we saw and heard at this event – covering a gamut of styles, idioms, and ideas – sprang from people’s heads onto this blank canvas. And everything we did, in turn, sprang from the tool that came out of Miller’s head (followed by a long parade of researchers and community contributors).

Open Pd, see that blank window, and something can happen there. (Don’t worry – you can also turn to some free building blocks; no need for writer’s block.) Or use Csound, or Max. Or a new window in Ableton, or Cubase, or GarageBand. Or pick up a microphone and a tape recorder.

We’re blessed to have tools that even a generation or two ago would have been difficult to imagine. And the next idea is a record button away. Watch the video and let us know if you have a similar feeling.

Bonus: Miller detailing the history of Max and Pd – in French.

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