Announcing “9 Box" Method
I’ve been working away at a big project I call “9 Box”. 9 Box is a Method for performance, improvisation, and spontaneous tribal jams with music, sound, and light. 9 box offers a consistent and transportable method that overlays commercially available components such as Ableton Live, Percussa AudioCubes, and Novation Launchpad. It's also a set of templates and patches that will allow players to spend more time making music and sound than configuring hardware and software.
I'm sharing this information under Creative Commons so that others can adopt and extend these concepts. I soft-launched a microsite on all this earlier this week at http://9box.modulatethis.com where I started posting some some behind-the-scenes development notes, documentation, and kits. I’ll offer a brief summary of the project below but if you want to follow along as things progress you subscribe to the microsite here.
"9 Box" refers to a 3×3 matrix of 9 clips – hence the "9 Box". Why 9 clips? After much research I've concluded that 9 is a perfect number of clips for mapping to a single AudioCube and a small enough number of clips that it's easy to keep track of the different musical or sound phrases. This number also works very well with Launchpad.
First Template – AudioCubes Edition
The first edition of 9 Box is be based on 6 Percussa AudioCubes and I just posted the beta kit tonight!
The method is intended for applications in social musical jams, music education, music therapy, installations, and festivals and supports 1-4 players per instance. Without changing any settings, or having to reconfigure controllers, the system can organically scale from 1-4 players. Players simply decide what role they will take and re-arrange the cubes accordingly.
A Backpack-Ready Laptop Based Near Infra-structureless Jam Station
The system is very light on the infrastructure side and only requires a laptop (MAC or PAC) running the latest version of Ableton Live and – for the first edition – 3-6 Percussa AudioCubes, a few free APPs and a powered USB hub. So backpack ready. Once you understand the system, you can set it up in about 5 minutes.
Adaptable, Extensible, Endless
The 9 box system makes it easy to change the sounds and musical phrases on-the-fly by dragging refills to a 9 Box. This happens without stopping the music making this an endless musical system with no limits other than your imagination. In my first template, I'm arranging 9 box clips so each box has a specific role, one for Tone, one for Rhythm. Clips get more complex as you move from 1-9. I've designed the 9 Boxes this way to support clear user roles for those learning the system. You are not locked into this structure of course, and can do anything you like with the 9 clips. Light Refills are also in the works.
As I mentioned, I’ve been posting a lot of raw info out to http://9box.modulatethis.com including posts on how all this work. I’ll get more formal about the documentation as things progress.
Performance Videos Coming Soon…
I hope to record some new performance videos soon and will post some highlights here on Modulate This actual in the near future.
Electronic Music Artist, Boulder, CO