Why don’t DAWs let you do this?

I was teaching recently and one of my students had a patch with lots of effects in it. They were all routed to a central matrix~ object. It was really powerful but let down by the fact that controlling the matrix~ can be quite confusing esp when performing live. Personally I don’t like having to think in rows and columns when I just want to put the delay after the gate instead of before it.

This is the solution I came up with in Max/MSP, Have a look at Mr Matrix in action…

Lots of fun, I really wish I could do this in Logic Pro!

Download the patch

If you don’t have Max/MSP you can still play with Mr Matrix by installing Max/MSP runtime. Just make sure you put the Mr Matrix folder within the runtime patches folder!

Creative Commons Licence
Mr Matrix by Leafcutter John is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

New free software coming soon…..

Thursday, February 28th, 2013 | Building Things, Electronics, Max/MSP, Software News | 1 Comment

Follow me on Twitter &/or Join Mailing List to find out when it’s released.

Tues Feb 12th Cafe Oto.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 | Live Shows, Max/MSP | No Comments

Leafcutter John concert using new DIY light interface at Cafe Oto Tomorrow.

Wednesday 4th April 2012: Door Times : 8pm Tickets : £5 adv / £7 on the door

The BEAM Festival presents BEAM NIGHT, a special one-off taster event held at café OTO. BEAM is a playground of homemade instruments and sonic installations and was devised by Artistic Director Sarah Nicolls to explore the physicality of electronic music.  The focus on electronic music being created LIVE is explored through a programme of performances, demonstrations, installations and workshops.

The acts tonight all use unusual and/or homemade interfaces to perform. Atau Tanaka & Adam Parkinson play iPhones as sensitive, handheld controllers; Bruno Zamborlin performs café OTO’s wall – possibly for the first time?! – with his invention, Mogees, which read gestural language on any surface; Marco Donnarumma’s Music for Flesh is a visceral sensor performance using his instrument system Xth sense, which has just been named “the world’s most innovative new musical instrument” and awarded First Prize at the Guthman Musical Instrument Competiton in Atlanta ( Tom Bugs (maker of Bugbrand synth products) appears in a rare performance using his Modular synths and also sets up a mini-installation for the night, whilst the beguilingly creative Leafcutter John conjures up soundscapes with his new explorations in light and sound.

More information, videos & sounds on the BEAM NIGHT website

Beautiful Dawn Chorus.

Sunday, March 25th, 2012 | field recording, Max/MSP | No Comments

Bit of a late one last night, hit the sack at 5:45 and heard the most beautiful dawn chorus. Had to get back out of bed to find my portable recorder. Opened the bedroom window and was greeted by what sounded like thousands of birds waking up in the cool crisp morning. The misty sky was glowing and ominous red, It was intensely wonderful. Here is the recording plus some layered and pitched treatments I made with it. London can be so beautiful.


J x.

Some more light controlled music….

An attempt to play something a bit more musical on the light controlled audio system I’m currently working on.

Announcing my intention to do a Weekly DIY Music Thing…

Err yep, I’m going to post a new project that you can make at home, every week starting now. My last post about making Piezoelectric crystals at home seemed to be something of a hit getting featured both on and so I thought I’d give you more of what you like while building a sample library for my own compositions.

I thought of covering:

  • Contact microphones – construction and creative usage
  • Simple electronic music circuits – warm up your cmos chips
  • Prepared instruments
  • Max/MSP usage – Maybe some generative stuff?
  • Arduino
  • DIY music controllers
  • Studio techniques

If you have any ideas please comment here and I’ll try and cover them. Keep your ideas simple and doable in a 5 min video!

Next time you see the soldering iron logo there will be a tutorial under it.

Take care,


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Forester II, a complete re-design… Again.

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 | Building Things, Forester, Max/MSP, Music!, Software News | 19 Comments

Forester II

For those of you who don’t know Forester, it’s a quirky audio software application I made several years ago in which the user imports soundfiles and then navigates through the ‘forest’ of coloured discs which creates a changing soundscape. It’s actually very simple to use and quite mysterious as you never really know what the output is going to be.  Forester was actually a big hit, and is still used by lot’s of artists and crops up on numerous albums since it’s release in 2006.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

ahh Forester 1.4 looking cute

I’ve been trying to make a follow-up pice for several years, and have demoed several approaches, which up to now have all lacked the special magic that Forester the first possessed.  I think finally I have found a way of making Forester II work so here are a few pictures and a little video of my interface so far.

You’ll notice from the video above that the main thing about the interface is that there appears to be no interface. I want the visual aspect of the software to be very filmic, almost like interacting with a music video maybe… I like this idea a lot, and hopefully, when the software is ready, so will you!

Here’s another video, this time in ‘Bad Video’ mode, somewhere in-between a worn-out betamax and a crashing ZX Spectrum.

Take care,

Leafcutter John.

Boxing Day Java Script in Max/MSP

Monday, December 27th, 2010 | Building Things, Max/MSP, Software News, video, video tutorial | 3 Comments

Hope you are having a good Crimbo. I’ve been thinking about making some video tutorials covering Generative and Algorithmic music in Max/MSP. Have been sidetracked somewhat by learning Javascript within the JS Max object, which as it happens is very useful for Generative music making. So far I have made a patch which essentially documents me learning JS. I’ll be making this available soon with an accompanying video. Then I’ll be moving on to a comprehensive Algorithmic Music Tutorial.



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Generative/Algorithmic max/msp patch programming….. Starting to yield results

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | Building Things, Max/MSP, Music! | 8 Comments

rahehA little output from a software patch i’m working on to make music out of user input. The input in this case is any number. All the patterns are generated from this number, there is no randomness used in the software, so if you enter the number twice you get the same output. These examples also use one source sample which i was changing throughout. Still lot’s I want to do with this, the melodic parts could do with a lot of work for example…

I’m wondering if I should make this into Forester 2? And if there is any interest I could do a generative music video tutorial of some sort… hummm…

J x.

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