Nice to meet all of you.
Alex, Québécois living in Ottawa. Sax player and ethnomusicologist. (Also: ethnographer and technopedagogue.)
While going through music school in Montreal in the late 1980s, had some fun experiences in a MIDI studio: DX7, Ensoniq EPS, Proteus, Performer, etc. We were also learning (about) electroacoustic composition. It was a great time to be adjacent to that scene.
Later on, friends introduced me to Csound, Max (pre-MSP), Turbosynth, Passport Alchemy, Music Mouse, etc.
Kept dabbling in several of these things. Bought a Yamaha WX-11 Wind Controller and TX81Z rackmount tone generator, as well as a Korg Poly-800. Tried them on occasion but never really got into them in any serious way.
On the software side, kept trying Pure Data, never getting the hang of it, for whatever reason. Very recently encountered Automatonism which was a real ear-opener. Been having a blast creating patches based on the overall modular synthesis concept.
Also started doing all sorts of musical stuff with iOS devices (first an iPod touch in 2008, then an iPad in 2010, then an iPhone in 2011). Followed blogs and podcasts about “mobile music making”. Had quite a bit of fun with a number of apps but, again, nothing which really stuck.
It’s really the Raspberry Pi which changed the game, for me, a little while ago. Was working as a technopedagogical advisor for Quebec’s higher education system and my colleague got the #RasPi bug, reconnecting with a background in electronics. My colleague went on to found Club framboise, a Raspberry Pi club in Montreal with antennas in Cameroon and Quebec City.
In my own case, the Raspberry Pi has reconnected me with my MIDI studio past. Sonic Pi was a key part of this. And now that the alpha version on macOS supports MIDI and OSC I/O, it’s really become my preferred tool for digital musicking.
Oh, and speaking of which, “digital musicking” is an important concept, for me. Even wrote an academic article about it (my first in, like, forever). It’s basically the audio side of digital making, so the Maker movement and all it entails. It also refers to all sorts of music-related activities as described by Christopher Small and Gilbert Rouget. Though “musicking” has existed as a word for a while, these scholars have used it to describe a broad range of behaviours associated with music. My way to put it is that if music performance is about playing music, musicking is about playing with music. Tapping your foot while music plays, singing in the shower, building playlists, and circuitbending are all musicking.
Which brings us back to Axoloti. Decribed my key Axo-related project Digital Wind Instrument. But it should be obvious from my little intro here that the patcher and Core are likely to teach me a lot. Thinking of it as a hardware version of Pure Data is pretty useful. Backed the pisound campaign and should receive a Raspberry Pi HAT which will represent another approach to the same overall idea. Truth be told, the Raspberry Pi may be more of my thing, partly because of my learning process with Sonic Pi and Pure Data.
But my Axoloti Core is here now and it’ll be fun to play with it until the pisound HAT arrives. Afterwards, will probably use it as a dedicated device for my aforementioned project.