Software News

The SOUND of MONEY Algorithmic Max/MSP experiment based on the Price Of Gold 1957-2013

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 | Building Things, Max/MSP, Music!, Software News | No Comments

This is a work in progress but I thought it might be interesting to some of you. The Max/MSP patch below tracks the price of gold between 1957-2013 and uses the data to control parameters of an algorithmic composition.

It’s a mess but it works!

Here is the price of gold between 1957-2013 expressed as an audio wave

You can clearly see it’s general upward trajectory, it’s a bit like a upwards ramp but with lots of extra harmonic content. This waveform is used for much of the percussion in the piece which you can hear below….

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.

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

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.



Tags: , , , ,

Forester 2 is getting closer to release.

Monday, April 19th, 2010 | Building Things, Forester, Max/MSP, Software News | 7 Comments

I’ve finally had chance to work more on Forester 2. You can see my progress in the video below. I decided to ditch the 2D forest in favor of a 3 dimensional ocean. The idea is that you’ll be able to drop sound-files directly into the interface which will then be carried around the environment by the oceanic currents.

The software came from an idea i had tried out in processing (look) and later implemented in Max/MSP/Jitter.

In line with my growing philosophy of keeping choice and expectations down and being happily surprised with the results you will have very little control over what happens to your sounds. I plan to implement limited control over the the nature and directions of the currents but as in life you’ll pretty much have to let nature run its course.

I recommend watching the following in full screen 720 HD mode if you can.

Take care,

Leafcutter John.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Gigs this weekend and project Updates.

Sunday, June 14th, 2009 | Forester, Graphic Scores, Live Shows, Software News | 1 Comment


I’ve been super busy the last few weeks hence the complete lack of posts here. I have a couple of gigs coming up this week (sat/sun) which I’d like to let you know about. I’m also involved in some great projects at the moment which i’d like to share.

1. The first gig – Sat 20th June – is at the Cross Kings Pub, York Way, London N1 0AX. I’ll be doing some new tunes, old ones and some improv bits. Also playing: Liberez, Benjamin Wetherill & the Trumpets of Death, B¿Layachi Cousins Duo. Cost:£6, adv £5 

2. The second gig – Sun 21st June – is an early one 6:00 > 7:00pm, Royal Festival Hall ballroom, London. This event is on the closing day of Meltdown 2009 and is before this years curator Ornette Coleman takes to the stage. I’m really looking forward to this, I have managed to get a group of amazing musicians together to play some of my animated graphic score pieces. We’ll be premiering a new one where the audience suggest words and phrases which will make up the score. It’s a free gig too! 

3. I just finished a BBC commission for Radio 3, I was asked to work with Shetland poet Jen Hadfield on a new work. I’m not sure exactly when it airs but i’ll let you know when I do. It should be available to stream from the BBC website so you can have a listen even if you miss the original airing. 

4. I have spent some very pleasurable days with my friend Tom Haines playing about with hydrophones in a little pink paddling pool. We are working on a new piece which will actually be performed (and listened to)  in a public swimming pool using an underwater sound system combined with a regular air speakers.

Paddling pool, hydrophones, and sound objects

Paddling pool, hydrophones, and sound objects

If you want to come and experience the first and probably only performance of this piece it will take place on July 22nd at Clissold swimming pool 63 Clissold Road,London, N16 9EX. Bring your swimsuit! More Info.

5. Last but not least I have been tinkering with Forester II and have come up with the beginning of a lovely new interface. Here you can see audio files rendered as circles.




I’m still some way off having finished software for you so please be patient. 

See some of you this weekend!

take care,

Leafcutter John x.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Merry Christmas from Leafcutter John

Sunday, December 21st, 2008 | Building Things, Processing, Software News | No Comments

This year I sent my friends electronic cards made with Processing. Processing is a language based on Java, It’s free to download and fairly simple to learn the basics (I’ve been learning for about two weeks). Anyway I hope you like it and I hope you have some festive fun in the coming week.

All the best,
Leafcutter John.

Tags: , , ,

Nodal Rhythm Developments

Sunday, December 14th, 2008 | Building Things, Forester, Max/MSP, Software News | No Comments

An experiment using Max/MSP playing a circular pattern of sounds. The distance between two nodes determines the time taken to go from one to the other.

A couple of things make this Vid a little confusing to watch. The frame rate can’t keep up with the position a lot of the time – take it from me the pattern remains the same: 1>2>3>4>5>6>7>8>repeat… etc. Also the tempo sometimes changes without the nodes changing position. This is because there is a master time multiplier off screen which i’m using to scale the speed. The relative times of the nodes stay the same. Also it’s hard to see the connections between the nodes on the video, that’s youtube’s video compression. Oh yeah and then there is the yellow marker who just sits there doing nothing, that’s my lazy programming.

Anyway if you like the sounds of machines starting up or spinning down you might like this.

Leafcutter John x.

p.s. and i nearly forgot to mention that if you want to try out some nodal music there are several free applications available to do this. I’ve not played with them much so i’m not sure what they are like to use.

Tiction Is quite similar in appearance to my program though it’s more fully developed. Mac, Win, & Linux.

Nodal is a fairly deep “generative software application for composing music” Mac only.

Tags: , , , , ,

Social Links


For you YOUTUBE VIDEO pleasure