2 issues with mlr... (is it too easy to sound good + do all compositions have the same feel?

  • ok - first off, i love MLR.

    i really love the simplicity of the whole thing, but i have 2 issues with the program...


    1 - MLR makes chopping samples (ala DJ Premier) super easy. It almost seems too easy - like i could give it to a 6 year old and he could bang out a beat with ease...

    could this just be the quantizing?


    2 - to my ears all mlr creations seem to have the same 'feel'... not a bad thing i suppose - just identifiable.



    and btw - i suck at the monome and mlr.

  • for some reason, MLR just isn't for me. I can't seem to get things right, though I've never been big on using loops. I prefer Monochrome personally, but maybe I just suck at MLR too.

  • Almost all the clips I've seen lately feel very MPC styling, DJ Premier or RJD2. Obviously you can do more with the location of the chop then an MPC. The quantizing does make it easy in my opinion, it still takes practice but it's not very hard to get the hang of it. I was having a good time using ambient type loops and getting interesting harmonics by chopping and stuttering each clips start times or setup a different drum hit for each loop. I feel it does lend itself to a particular style though. It's a great performance setup and I think that's where I find it's strong points. I create my tracks and then later chop it up for the MLR remix treatment.

  • i absolutely think there is a very "obvious" approach to mlr, and it produces a "mlrish" sounding result.

    however, i'd say there are numerous ways to use the tool musically that very much separates the 6 year olds from the practiced performers.

    also "too easy" is a creepy idea. it's not automatic. there is still much choice to be had. in terms of modernization, should we go back to splicing tape? (the answer isn't always no.)

    just for comparisons' sake, think about how other software/hardware tools create similar sounding music. remember buffer-override? gah.

    adaptability is the key.

    do realize that many many musicians protect their patches, because the patch often contains the idiosyncratic elements associated with the artist.

  • 1. who cares if it is too easy, isn't the point to make it easier to create and be imagianitive? the workflow is what makes you get a song more organic or too your true intention.

    2. so does most 4/4 music, or any other time signature for that matter. heck most piano ballads have the same feel.

    we all suck to certain degrees, so keep at it and suck less.

  • buffer-overide? Was that a mac issue or a band I'm not familiar with?

  • Most well-known symphonic music from the past 300 years uses essentially the same orchestra, with instruments (for the most part) of the same design they have always been since the birth of the orchestra. Even modern symphonies generally use the same structure, and Sonata form for the movements.

    All rock music has essentially had the same four instruments for some 50 years, including a drum kit that has really not changed since around the turn of the century. Generally it's all in 4/4 and has the form of the blues, and involves western harmonic structure and relatively simple chords based on the same 12-note scale.

    Most dance music these days has a 'four-on-the-floor' kick drum, snare on 2 and 4 and hi-hat on the upbeats, and synthesizers.

    I know, I'm totally generalizing like crazy, but my point is that while there all lots of elements of all types of music that are very standard and potentially 'same-sounding', folks have always managed to inflict their own style and keep it interesting.

    I agree that 'too easy' is kind of an odd phrase. Would you rather it be more difficult? Feel free to do it in a more complicated way, if you must, but everything is just a means to an end when you get down to it.

    *Never mind me, I could talk about this all day :)*

  • Just to chime in... Mlr can very easily be played in "unconventional" ways.

    My first performances with the 40h included mlr as a noise generator.

    I'll try and post a video and/or audio later today of how I use mlr.
    (if I can figure out how to make a video of that.) maybe just some screen shots and audio.

    not to be lame, but its certainly easy to use a patch, such as mlr or any other for that matter as it seems easiest, but there are certainly anomalies in any program that can be exploited to create new possibilities and forms.

  • buffer overide is a vst ftw! instant glitch, even more than the dblue glitch. both of those plugins are awesome imo. even if they got cliched.

  • im not shure i understand the problem......
    any DAW can cut a loop into 8 or 16 pieces,
    any sampler (to degrees) can chop samples,
    that said, using mlr is a less exact and intuituve way to do this,
    as it chops automatically and unchangeably into 8 or 16,
    so you either have to plan for this ahead of time or go with the clicky glitchy radness that is mlr, i personally use both at different times (more planning i admit),
    but to say that a six year old could produce beats with mlr........
    thats selling YOURSELF short,
    you see when it boils down to it, we are all here to make electronic music,
    throughout history from the telharmonium to the lemur, people have tried different approaches,
    the tools in essence have no impact on the music, only the operator,
    i didn't have a midi controller for a couple years to start.
    still made songs that carried my sound into today,
    so i think its how you look at the program and what it can do,
    not how others do it,
    its an empty canvass homie,
    paint that shit!

  • The first thing to remember is that mlr/monome is a very new instrument and we're only just starting to figure out how to use it. Personally, I found that all my sample choices were informed by the fact that I've got a 16 button row to work with. And this definitely constrained the nature of the samples I made.

    But there's no reason for me to think that way, and I've discovered that ambient sounds, or rhythmic sounds that don't easily chop into 1/16ths can do very different, very interesting things when "forced" onto a 16 button row. And now the stuff I'm doing is evolving. And so is everybody else's, I've noticed.

    The stuff we're seeing on the more recent videos is a giant step ahead of what we saw 6 months ago. I imagine the same will be true 6 months from now. The point is that we, as a group, are learning how to play this thing, so while it's natural that there will be some uniformity to our experiments, there will also be regular examples of "thinking outside the box" that inspire all of us to move in new directions.

    I'm curious to see if you feel the same way about the "mlr sound" in a year. I'm willing to bet the range of what is being done will have expanded exponentially.

  • I just have to add that I think buffer override vst is awesome and I still use it to this day. as well as all the destroy effects.

    and the mlr sound.... I've sorta noticed a bit of that to be true, but not entirely and certainly not without acception.

  • @corporation

    Hi guy,
    have you been checking out the vids of people using monome/MLR in a live overdub styleee ?
    Those are my favourite, and besides the aleatoric nonsense I'm making now, that's how I'm going to be spending most of my MLR time...when my soundcard comes home


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR7qEd-jll0
    http://www.vimeo.com/295006
    http://www.vimeo.com/311236

    I dunno, if you've maybe hit a creative slump with MLR and you haven't been trying this discipline....it might give you a boost..

  • oh and just to add....
    we are a very SMALL amount of people who even know what mlr sounds like....
    you should exploit that thang!

  • i think there are some obvious ways to use it for sure. and its fun for everyone when they first crack open their monome box, fire up mlr and slice away. but eventually you realize that you've got to put some thought into what you're doing. otherwise, you and everyone subject to your music will get bored quickly.

    its the same as when you first played with a synth (or guitar, or drum kit, or piano, etc.) tho. you were completely amazed and convinced that everything about it sounded incredible. now you're quite picky about what sounds you use and where you place them. and you know which synths you like and which you don't.

    but it's all part of the process. you just gotta grab the tool and run with it. if you're inspired, something good will come from it, cliche or not.

    and yes, barely anybody knows what mlr is. barely anybody even knows what a monome is. i AM getting people asking me "it that a tenori-on?" tho. bastards.

  • i must admit i am disappointed that most monome vids feature either a banal jazz loop being glitched in a "is the cd stuck" kind of way that was already old hat 10 years ago, or what sounds like a cat on speed running up and down the piano keys really quickly. there's a lot more potential in the interface i think, but that's just my opinion, and i am a bitch when it comes to other people's music!

  • "what sounds like a cat on speed running up and down the piano keys really quickly"

    bwahahaha. I feel ya.

  • Don't forget that you don't have to do the whole song in the monome. It was pretty easy to add a chopped drum beat into a song by syncing mlr to my daw.

    I'd like to be able to have no quantize.

  • hmm... 1/32 is pretty close to no quantize, especially if the tempo is fast... you could double the tempo and halve the playing speed of your clips to get 1/64 quantization. and so on for 1/128. max tempo is 400 bpm, so the max quantization you could get at 100 bpm would be 1/128 i think (assuming 1/32 at 100 bpm)... that would be halving the sample playback speed twice and setting the tempo to 400.

    though, you're right, it would also be nice to just press a button and turn quantization off :)