Various collaborative apps allow users to work online simultaneously on a document, code or track. Besides new tools that create compositions in collaboration with artificial intelligence, established digital interfaces synchronize devices, instruments and apps through collaborative data exchange.
The project explores what happens if two or more users create a piece of music together in real-time, listen to it at different speeds and in different keys. On this basis, various experiments were carried out to investigate the interaction and behaviour of several collaborating users, as well as searching for solutions and parameters to represent music in a multi-perspective approach. The work is based on the Masterthesis of Stephan Kloss, Halle 2019.
The app focus is the tesseract – a four-dimensional geometric shape, that serves as a metaphor for multiperspectivity. Its eight cells stand for eight different perspectives on the same piece of music, which differ in key and speed.
The players can freely switch between these cells via a navigation system. In this way, people can interact in different cells and accordingly from different perspectives.
Instruments and Controllers
The central cube of the tesseract has six surfaces. Each surface comprises one instrument: synthesizer, strings, bass, arpeggiator, drums and percussion.
Every instrument include four control layers. These are used to record tones, to change their dynamics, to deform the sound and add diverse effects.
inside of the tesseract
Each of the eight Tesseract cells has its own specifications in the way how the instruments sound and in which tonal environment the piece of music takes place. The navigation system allows players to enter other cells by rotating the tesseract. According to defined parameters of the cell, the basic tones and tempo will change and reproduce the same recorded notes and values with different characteristics. The recorded melodies and rhythms can thus be heard and developed from different musical and tonal perspectives.
For a more complex, in-depth editing each cell can be edited in, musical key, pitch, tempo (bpm) and reverberation. The cell editor includes as well a metronome, a mute button for the background ambience and additional visuals.
Loop-Recording and Data-synchronization
Similar to musicians who work with loop machines, all touch interactions are recorded and played back via loop recording. The devices, which are connected via a local network, exchange the recorded data as data loops. Each loop has a fixed clock length and resolution and can be written and played back at different speeds.
Data exchange via OSC (Open Sound Control) takes place in two separate steps:
In the first step, the interaction of the respective participant on the other device is moment only visualized for the time being.
In the second step – after completion of the interaction – the recorded data will be transmitted. Afterwards – and only then – the other players can hear the changes. The subdivision of the data exchange into these two steps ensures clock-synchronous playback of the recorded melodies and rhythms at different speeds.
Mutant is an app in between an experimental composition experience and an interactive music album in which each song has its own mood and dynamics. It becomes audible through the user inputs and interactions and can be interpreted individually or together.
By the use of the stylistic figure “Tesseract” it offers the possibility to experience an individual composition from several musical perspectives and with different soundscapes. Because of its limited and subjective selection of seven environments (the cubes, including instrumentation, effects sets, background sounds) the application can be considered as a music album and its songs.
Based on the Mazetools core, the development process of Mutant started with a prototype in context of the master thesis of Stephan Kloss 2019. During the further development to an cross-platform app, passionate beta testers did give important feedback for the release of Mutant 1.0. The app will be updated continuously and beside the work on new functions, a virtual reality mode have been tested. The development of Mutant stands in close relation to Soniface and upcoming Mazetools.