For the past week I’ve had time to do a little bit of tinkering with Max 7, the newest version of Cycling 74’s powerful programming environment. Originally written as a tool for composing interactive audio, recent updates have expanded the creative possibilities available through Max, particularly in 3D graphics and animation. At a recent presentation at Huddersfield University software developer David Zicarelli commented that the majority of Max’s current user base was in fact visual artists. Despite this fact there have been a few key developments in the audio department. One of the most significant for me is the inclusion of a new time-stretch engine and dedicated pitch shifting functionality.
I recorded this brief electric guitar improvisation by routing the guitar to four separate patches, each containing pitch-shift processing object and a signal delay (there is also one non-shifted delay and dry guitar signal in the mix). I have built similar patches using older versions of the Max software, however they were slightly more complicated affairs requiring fourier transform sub-patches. Whilst it is quite clear Cycling 74 are attempting to increase their user base with Max 7, it’s nice to see composers/sound designers haven’t been left behind. On a personal level I also feel these new additions will certainly increase my efficiency and creativity within the software.