Think ‘generative music’ and the words ‘Eno’ and ‘Koan’ will probably pop into that noggin of yours. The latter is an interesting one, because Koan has now become ‘Mixtikl’.
The beauty of generative music is that its goes beyond “expect the unexpected”. ‘Unexpected’ always describes a ‘known’ entity. I could say “expect the unknown”, but that sounds rubbish, so I won’t. Where the software excels (for me) is when you throw it into a random mode and see what it chucks out. You never get the same thing twice, and you can be pleasantly surprised at the results. Tweak the ‘result’ a bit and you’ll be more than delighted with what you’ve got.
Mixtikl is available for OSX and Windows (Standalone, VST/AU, Browser plugins) and I believe they’re working on an Android version too. I have the OSX standalone version plus the iPhone 4 app too. Both astonishing in their own right, and quite unlike most music software on the market, it won’t break the bank. It’s currently reduced on the Intermorphic website at $29.99. You can get the iPhone version on the App Store for £1.79.
The idea is a simple one. You have a blank grid on the UI and you ‘drop’ sounds and loops onto it. As far as composition goes, that’s about it! The menu lets you choose to create either a brand new mix to which you add preset sounds and loops, or make a totally random track. Mixtikl has a number of sounds built-in when you purchase the software, but you can also add optional ‘Tiklpaks’ which give you much more creativity from extra sounds, loops and FX. Right now, these are half price – check out the Intermorphic Store link I posted in the last paragraph.
Each track is made up of four blocks. Here you can put sounds next to each other and then decide whether each sound will run into the next, loop, or just play once, for example. The first two columns provide track volume, pan and mute. With the last column you can add FX, which you can chain together; FX include delay, reverb, distortion and chorus.
You can create your own sound ‘paks’ for entirely personal compositions. I haven’t had a go at this yet but I’m working on it. I did, however, throw together a quick string sequence, which I called ‘Goodbye’, and you can listen to at the following link:
Your final mix content can be time stretched or pitch shifted. Soloing and muting tracks is a doddle, you can also randomise tracks and columns. Mixes can be exported to .wav or .au with many configuration options open to you. The program can be used in conjunction with other Intermorphic programs, such as Noatikl and Partikl. The former is a generative music engine, while the latter is a wavetable synthesizer.
You can export tracks to a Forum post, where a webpage is displayed, and you can see the program UI in your browser. Here’s a little track called ‘Touchy’ that I put together to demonstrate:
This quick review just gives a basic overview of what the software does. As I gain further knowledge about the complete working of the program, I shall update this page. If I were you, I’d have no hesitation getting along to the Intermorphic site and downloading the 30-day trial. It’s a full-save version (except for iOS devices) so you have no excuse.
UPDATE – 8 November
Mixtikl has a HUGE update today for the iOS and Mac OS versions! Here are the iOS changes:
- In-app purchases for add-on content and power features, like AudioLoop Collections
- 3 try-before-you-buy Generative Tiklpaks are included and can be unlocked via the App Store
- Document sharing via iTunes to easily copy recordings off your device and user loops saved to a User Content Pak folder
- Audio can now be copied to Apple’s clipboard
- New Miktikl and Partikl file formats (about 10% of the old file format size)
- Improved, cleaner UI (see image above)
- Revised/simplified Import/Export menus
- Slider behaviour improved
The chaps do say that mic recording isn’t working properly in the iOS version, but they’re working on it. New desktop icon for the MacOS version too. The iOS app is currently £1.79 HERE. I demand you go get it. Congratulations and thanks to Tim and Pete for this great new update.
*Update: 10 November 2010*
*Update: 21 December 2010*
iOS & Mac/Windows Updates:
Here’s your updated link for the new version. LINK.