JUCE, tox, Euclidean beats

Things I’ve learned today:

  • tox is a Python library designed to “standardize testing in Python” – including testing a given project across Python versions (so you could use it to create a library for both Python2 and Python3, and test in both environments.) I’m working on such a library right now; I am using two shells, two directory trees, two virtual environments… which is a pain. tox looks like a library to help me get around that.
  • JUCE is a library designed to help delivery music … applications. It has the ability to generate UIs, VSTs, AAX plugins using C++. One of the things I keep thinking I want (although I’m not sure I actually do) is a Euclidean beat generator; I also wouldn’t mind doing a cellular automaton to generate music, so JUCE looks interesting. I haven’t done C++ for real since my Alcyone project (my MIDI foot controller hardware) so I might have to approach this slowly.
  • I like this format of data capture more than I enjoy sites like Twitter. Sure, Twitter’s probably fine for simple assertions, but I don’t like simple assertions; there’s no room for nuance, and in the real world, there’s… nuance. So far, this allows me to make an assertion and explain it without worrying about incomplete, piecemeal consumption. I just have to build the habit, and work on classification.
  • Since I mentioned it earlier: Euclidean beats are apparently found in real world musical forms, and that’s kinda awesome… but every time I’ve played with them, I don’t care for the output much. Euclidean beats tend to be regular (therefore, well, Euclidean) and my own percussion approach, when I focus on it, tends to focus on the unexpected hits rather than regularly timed hits. Euclidean beats spread out hits over known periods; I cluster hits inside those known periods instead. Which approach is better? Well, you can find famous percussion virtuosos who use Euclidean approaches, and I’m neither famous nor a percussion virtuoso. Hmm.
  • Wildwood Guitars has amazing prices on Rickenbacker guitars, and from what I’ve been able to tell from asking Rickenbacker players and from community reviews, they’re quite well respected. And yes, they carry the basses – and have used equipment as well.
  • While I’m thinking about Rickenbacker basses – which happens a lot more than I expect it should, really – there are two main products, the 4003 and the 4003S. The 4003 differs in the fretboard inlays (the 4003 has a sharktooth inlay, the 4003S has a dot) and the 4003 has two outputs (“Ric-O-Sound”, where each pickup has its own output jack) and the 4003S has only a single mono output. The 4003 also has a bound body and the 4003S is unbound; apparently some people find the unbound body more comfortable. I have not done this comparison myself… but if I were to figure out my ideal Rickenbacker bass, it’d be a Midnight Blue 4003, although the others are pretty too. I do not have a Rickenbacker bass, nor is that likely to change, as I’m not a working musician and I don’t need another bass to replace my Jazz… I’d just like a Rickenbacker just because.
  • I find it extraordinarily difficult to trust Donald Trump. His wife shouldn’t trust him, and his ex-wives clearly shouldn’t have trusted him either; why should I trust him, when the people to whom he owes trustworthiness most can’t rely on him? And he employs “the best people”… and doesn’t trust their expertise when it suits him to counter their opinions. Yeesh. We elected this guy. I hope we deserve better.

The LinnStrument looks awesome

Geert Bevin pointed out the LinnStrument this morning. Color me jealous – that thing looks awesome.

It’s basically a MIDI controller built on a pad, largely on a grid – much like a stringed instrument’s notes are, except providing expression and note control and you move your fingers around. There’re demos of using it to play slide guitar, expressive saxophone, violin – I can imagine it being workable for drums but it’d probably be underusing a lot of the LinnStrument’s power for expression.

And it’s based on the Arduino – and the software is open source, at that! (Or the site claims – I didn’t see a reference offhand to the source repository. Geert told me it’s going to be available when the instrument is available, which makes sense.)

At $1500, it’s not cheap (nor has it been released yet, as of September 9, 2014) but it looks really nice – it’s a little like the Eigenharp in providing a different and unique control surface, while being a little less intimidating for people like me.