Laptop Music - the book

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
mindlobster
Posts: 127
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2002 3:32 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Laptop Music - the book

Post by mindlobster » Tue Mar 18, 2003 11:09 pm

I've been commissioned by a well-known publisher to write a book about laptop music. The book will be about 400 pages in length, and will cover composition, recording, but most importantly PERFORMING with laptops. A large part of the book will cover hardware and software that's good for laptop use, without bias towards a particular OS or budget. The rest of the book will be interviews/comments/advice/feedback from laptop musicians (I am a long-time Live user myself). Anybody who is interested in taking part in this should email me: laptopmusic@btopenworld.com

Thanks, I hope to do this subject justice!

::mic-minimal::
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:32 am
Location: behind you

Post by ::mic-minimal:: » Wed Mar 19, 2003 12:04 am

as long as you don't end the book with " as you can see you can make any choice you want, there really are no wrong answers and everything has it's advantages and disadvanteges, blah blah blah" I hate that kind of crap. If you avoid that nonsense it should be a great book and I'll definitely buy it when it comes out.

that's the problem with sound on sound, or computermusic or any zine these days. these writers are confusing the concept of being objective with
with trying to please everybody. It really sucks. and they just give us consumers and musicians enough to keep us hanging on, instead of giving us the truth so that we can get on with what we are trying to do.

that is why nobody knows whether macs or pc's are better- stupid
or whether logic or cubase is better- again stupid
nobody wants to tell the truth, and instead of listing facts and information, they are trying to distract and to detract, anything to confuse the issue and keep things from being clear. but they don't do this with the subject of automobiles, or even with computer programing languages. just when music is involved.

so tell us which is better for music- a mac or a pc, and don't worry about hurting it's feelings, it's just a machine and has none. Most people answer that question like you asked them "which computer would you personaly prefer?" but that is not the question. The question is which computer by itself, without an owner is best for the job of music. that should be easy to answer if you stop thinking about peoples personal opinions about platforms, and look only at the machine minus the human. which is more powerful, which is faster, which has more storage, which has more memory, which has more programs, which is more economical, which will last longer, ????????????? so on and so on. ... these are just simple facts to be answered and the person posing the question should assume that the people using the machine will be well educated, and able to configure their machine for optimal performance. because of course someone who is
not will not have the best experience no matter what kind of laptop they choose. you never see reviews on automobiles where the reviewer assumes that the person purchasing the car is going to be a terrible driver
without a license right?, of course not, but computer music issues are plagued with just those type of stupid assumptions about people. I wish someone would write from the standpoint that the user knows what they are doing, because that's the way its suppose to be, and if they don't then they should learn.

tell us which music programs have the most features
the programs that take the least amount of button/menu clicks to get those features implimented.
the program that executes those features the fastest
the program thats the most features for the least amount of money, you get the picture i'm sure.

nobody is writing about these things from this perspective, that's because all they are talking about is opinion, I'm so sick of that. It's time people learn that resolution, floatingpoints, # of features, and the like are not opinions they are facts, its math and hardware. maybe you'll be the first to
get it right. I'm looking forward to finding out because if you do, your book
will be an indespensible tool for the rest of us, instead of a reflection of our
own useless biases.

recap/ end of rant
tell us what are the best machines
the best programs
and don't be afraid to pick winners and name names. so if logic has 10 features and cubase has 10 features and they both run the same resolution, and speed, and then logic gets one more feature to make 11, at that time that would mean that logic is the winner. not whether bob likes
this or that, or whether bill likes this or that. just the facts, period!

Guest

Post by Guest » Wed Mar 19, 2003 12:18 am

Congratulations mindlobster!

Great deal.

My input would be to make sure that you look at the past, and research institute's work to have an idea how laptopping will be in the future. Look at the work of IRCAM etc, and realize that a lot of their concepts and technology will become the future as proccessors get cheaper and electronic music intergrates more with acoustic and electric music.



I saw some books on "build a home studio" in a local book store, and even at a few years old they seemed VERY dated, and not very useful, as most people move to DAWs, virtual instruments etc.


Depends how long you want the book to be around I suppose.

and I agree with mic-minimal.
-Keith

Alex Reynolds
Posts: 989
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2002 5:48 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contact:

Post by Alex Reynolds » Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:14 am

::mic-minimal:: wrote:so tell us which is better for music- a mac or a pc, and don't worry about hurting it's feelings, it's just a machine and has none. Most people answer that question like you asked them "which computer would you personaly prefer?" but that is not the question. The question is which computer by itself, without an owner is best for the job of music. that should be easy to answer if you stop thinking about peoples personal opinions about platforms, and look only at the machine minus the human. which is more powerful, which is faster, which has more storage, which has more memory, which has more programs, which is more economical, which will last longer, ????????????? so on and so on. ... these are just simple facts to be answered and the person posing the question should assume that the people using the machine will be well educated, and able to configure their machine for optimal performance. because of course someone who is not will not have the best experience no matter what kind of laptop they choose. you never see reviews on automobiles where the reviewer assumes that the person purchasing the car is going to be a terrible driver without a license right?, of course not, but computer music issues are plagued with just those type of stupid assumptions about people. I wish someone would write from the standpoint that the user knows what they are doing, because that's the way its suppose to be, and if they don't then they should learn.
Myself a music journalist with an eye for brevity, I would guess the above diatribe could just as easily be whittled down into a chapter with one sentence: "Macs suck, Windows rules".

Objectivity has its strong points...

-Alex

Alex Reynolds
Posts: 989
Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2002 5:48 am
Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contact:

Post by Alex Reynolds » Wed Mar 19, 2003 1:28 am

That being said, a section on the variety of controllers and their interfaces would be welcome.

Seems most laptop artists use either a mouse, joystick or a collection of MIDI controllers to do mostly one- or two-dimensional parameter control.

I'd be interested to see how laptops/software can be controlled with more cutting edge controllers that operate on more degrees of freedom. One thought off the top of my head would be gyroscopic or VR gloves, but this is still simplistic.

Its not really the software so much as how people use it, I think, in a visceral sense.

A large complaint about the laptop scene is that it can be mostly a yawn, because live shows lack that critical element of performance. Any monkey can point and click (some of them anyway).

It gets back to the laptop-as-instrument concept that hasn't yet beared fruit. We're all waiting for some piece of technology to evolve out of this scene with the near-infinite acoustic flexibility of a piano or guitar, but has an equivalently simple interface.

-Alex

::mic-minimal::
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2003 8:32 am
Location: behind you

Post by ::mic-minimal:: » Wed Mar 19, 2003 3:19 am

all do respect Alex, but that's exactly what I'm talking about:


That being said, a section on the variety of controllers and their interfaces would be welcome.

Seems most laptop artists use either a mouse, joystick or a collection of MIDI controllers to do mostly one- or two-dimensional parameter control.

I'd be interested to see how laptops/software can be controlled with more cutting edge controllers that operate on more degrees of freedom. One thought off the top of my head would be gyroscopic or VR gloves, but this is still simplistic.

Its not really the software so much as how people use it, I think, in a visceral sense.

A large complaint about the laptop scene is that it can be mostly a yawn, because live shows lack that critical element of performance. Any monkey can point and click (some of them anyway).

It gets back to the laptop-as-instrument concept that hasn't yet beared fruit. We're all waiting for some piece of technology to evolve out of this scene with the near-infinite acoustic flexibility of a piano or guitar, but has an equivalently simple interface.

-Alex

if he does that, then his book will be based on opinion again. and to put it simply that kind of stuff is just not worth paying for, I'd just assume leave that book on the shelf because I could just go to any chat forum on the net
and have impassioned conversation/debate with everybody. I don't have anything against macs, you'll find me posting on sonicstate just yesterday while giving someone advice and telling them that I'm saving up money right now for a mac, that's not the point. Your suggestion while being 100% valid is not something to build the foundation of a book with because
it's subjective, like art itself, of course if that's the kind of book he's after then more power too him, but I hope one day that some one focuses on the building blocks of the concept of using laptops and music applications in a comprehensive detailed manner, everybody can figure out if they want to use gloves or joystics for themselves, especialy when there is this empty void of knowledge and certainty facing anyone contemplating using
a laptop for Music production. I think it's very sad that the closest thing anyone has seen to useful published information on the subject has been the infamous "laptop Tech page" on the RME website. After all of these years, that is a shame. We all know you can make music with a mac or a pc, so now it's time to get on with the facts of each. Now someone is about to tackle the subject, hopefully they will leave all the stuff about music styles, music scenes, and
electronic music asthetics for the last chapter, and a small last chapter at that. let most of the book be straightforward, direct, unadulturated substance on the part of the author. you won't find this problem with business software, you won't find this problem with graphics software, but we just love our ambiguity when it comes to music. I don't need another coaster for my coffee table, I've got tv guide for that.

Guest

Post by Guest » Fri Mar 21, 2003 2:40 am

::mic-minimal:: wrote: Your suggestion while being 100% valid is not something to build the foundation of a book with because it's subjective,
Aren't most things though? Your proposed focus for this book is subjective... You objectively want to explore answers to a certain subset of questions which you have subjectively selected as having importance.

Personally, I don't think we can remove the human from the equation. Remove the human and there is NO music making on any machine (or the book becomes about algorhythmic self-generating compositions...). So for me, there's definitely room for the typically vague comments like "of course you should choose the system that works best for you... (blah blah blah)". A cold hard look at the figures and features of certain pieces of software and hardware would be useful, but would become dated extremely quickly.

Some topics I'd like to see covered (but by no means the basis for a whole book!):
1) brief history
2) some theory about laptop performance
3) examine current laptop hardware
4) examine current software (feature lists, performance specs were available)
5) examine current hardware interfaces/controllers/audio+midi io/etc.
6) examine issues regarding performing/touring with a laptop. Also exploring some travel concerns (theft, voltage differences in other countries, etc)
7) putting together a system. optimizations, etc
8.) examine a range of current artists and what they are doing
9) examine current research
10) the future of....

yeah yeah. pretty formulaic.

and I'd prefer the book to cater to both beginners and experienced users.

scotty

Pitch Black
Posts: 6444
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2002 2:18 am
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Contact:

Post by Pitch Black » Fri Mar 21, 2003 3:49 am

Please include a section of keeping your laptop alive in the most hostile possible environment -ie a club.

heat, humidity, massive vibration, magnetic fields, operator sweat, cigarette smoke, fog juice....EEEWWWW

not to mention human error: out-of-it punter, theft, spilt drink.

Shit, while I think about it, bring on the cryogenically-cooled hermeticly sealed laptop case.....

-paddy
MBP i5 2.53GHz | OSX 10.12.6 | Live10.0.4 | Fireface800 | Push 2
https://soundcloud.com/paddyfree

::mic-minimal:

Post by ::mic-minimal: » Sat Mar 22, 2003 7:48 am

Scotty you're confusing the issue. All of those things are covered already, in every magazine and book that's being issued. If this guy wants to write a book that's already being written every other day. Your right in that I'm subjective in that I don't want to see another book like that, or zine, or article.

I want just the facts, and yes they become dated, but doing books on the fact that most electronic musicians in the current and past scenes use macs, is an even more dated Idea, that I would'n't want to wast money on
Now if I just want to read about how my mac is so cool or that this artist uses a mac or that artist uses a mac, well then fine, but there's so much more than enough of that crap already. Even a book that is full of facts, that becomes dated a year from now is far more valuable. Also you are missing the whole objective point outside of my subjective one (all things being subjective)
some one needs to write a book about the subject, laptop music. assuming that people know what they are doing and assuming that those who don't want to learn without regard to a platform or paticular manufacturer. and if it gets out dated a year later, fine write another book, update it. but those of us who don't buy a computer every year will find it still useful, very useful in fact, and it will serve people looking to buy
non-current equiptment and programs too. we need a refference that teaches, not another good read. pick up computer music or future music if you want to read about who uses what. I want to read about what is available, what it's specifications are and what it's capable of first., and about what my favorite artist use second.

for instance, did you know that there are many, and I mean like 30 or so types of laptops in japan that have digital ins and outs. doesn't sound that spectacular now because there are laptops in the uk and elswhere popping
up with these features. but what is spectacular is that the ones in japan are half the weight and size, and have been out for over 4 years, but have you read anything about it? no, because we've been to busy reading about what blank blank uses, which is always a mac.

and I can't believe you want to read about laptop theft, c'mon man give me a break!, let's be constructive here. All you need to know is if your laptop gets stolen you don't have one anymore. you can look in any laptop
magazine and get the gamut of laptop locks, this is also the kind of stuff not to be wasted on a real laptop music book that's planing on being useful

astromass
Posts: 276
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2003 1:11 pm

Post by astromass » Sat Mar 22, 2003 10:33 am

i like to read the back of my cap'n crunch box while eating my cereal in the morning....
sorry for this dumb post, but i won't be buying a book about laptop music..

good luck on the book. i'm sure a lot of spoon-feeders will enjoy it.
nyquist theorem and nyquil...

Guest

Post by Guest » Sun Mar 23, 2003 3:42 am

"and I can't believe you want to read about laptop theft, c'mon man give me a break!, let's be constructive here."

That's pretty much how I feel about you mentioning laptop weight (any manufacturer's website would have that info anyway). For me, the weight of my laptop will have very little effect on my performance. However, if my laptop gets stolen it could quite possibly have a huge impact on my performance. So for me that is important...

Regardless, any book on the subject of laptop musicmaking could easily address both of our interests.

"All you need to know is if your laptop gets stolen you don't have one anymore."

When I plan shows I try to take as many precautions as possible. I want to play the shows I've arranged, and I want people that came or that are planning to see us, to be able to have that chance. For us to be effective laptop musicians/artists/performers we need to take preventative measures against show-stoppers like laptops being stolen or dying... And if those things (theft, mechanical failure,etc) come to pass we need to have a backup plan. I would like a book covering the subject of laptop music production/performance to mention some of the snags a performer might possibly encounter and how to avoid or overcome them. I try my best to be prepared (I have multiple cdr backups of our sounds, instruments, etc. that travel with me... as well as any disks and serial numbers needed to install the software and hardware that I need for my shows) but I can't anticipate everything... If a book can get me to think of a few more bases to cover or a better way to do it than it will be that much more useful to me.

Anyway, theft was just one thing I threw into a tiny list of concerns in my other email. It wasn't meant to be a proposal for a major point of focus for the book (it just happened to be one of the items that popped into my head). I'd be happy with just a few paragraphs, or a sidebar about theft.

-scotty

p.s. As a side note... I've heard of bands who have had to cancel their shows because of equipment theft. And as for general preparedness... I'm always a bit surprised when I see established acts fumble in their planning... I can recall going to see one european band at their first performance in the states and they couldn't get their computer to boot because they didn't bring a voltage converter... They ended up not playing that night. arg! I have since bought my own step up-down
voltage converter for the eventual day I play in europe, and I will occassionally bring it to shows featuring artists visiting from overseas. It has already come in handy once. Maybe a book could have helped those people too.

Guest

Post by Guest » Sun Mar 23, 2003 9:21 am

point taken, and I think those things are great as long as they come in the back of the book under troubleshooting, and as long as the rest of the book is full of mac/pc propaganda and interviews with a bunch of artist telling us how intresting collage is. not that people don't want to hear about it but simply that it's been done to death and is still being done to death so how about the facts. There we go Scotty I think together we've come up with a name for the book. hows about:

Laptop Music
A Factual Guide and Trouble Shooting and in caption
no hype no fat no pipe dreams

Guest

Post by Guest » Sun Mar 23, 2003 10:02 am

AHHH Look guitar bands are coming back anyway..................
WOO HOO HOO HA HA HA HAAAAAAAA
:twisted: :twisted: :roll: :lol: :lol:

Post Reply