Aug 15, 2008 Gear
While I was lying in bed last night, I figured out the solution to some of my problems with the planar geometry in Nodal. I’d completely forgotten about wormholes and manually setting the duration of connective lines. Those will allow me to get around some of the problems that i’ve been having!
There’s one feature (the way you set instruments) that I need to play with to see if I can find a better way to do it. Right now, I’m setting an independent start point for each instrument. I’d love to be able to instead “fork off” a parallel process at any time and have it use a different instrument. That would make it much easier to introduce a new instrument partway into a song without having to count up the intervening beats to delay that instrument’s line. There may be a way. I have to read through the tutorial again now that I’ve used it a bit — there was a lot of information packed in a small number of examples there.
This morning it also occurred to me how Kore 2, which I’ve been pondering picking up, would complement Nodal quite well, by giving me a single “rack” which I would cable Nodal’s outputs to, which I could load all my plugins into.
I still think that it would be overly difficult (although not impossible) to write music in Nodal with lots of fluid, non-quantized passages, or with a whole lot of continuous controller data. And I want to find out what you can do with Nodal’s *input* route, which there’s no mention of in the Tutorial. Nonetheless, it’s pretty exciting stuff. I think even if I wind up not finding it any more powerful or more expressive (certainly it’s more tedious to work in and doesn’t have all the features of Logic — especially I’d have to wind up using another tool to record the output and then do the mastering, but I do have Peak for that purpose), just having a new way to compose will be inspiring and will allow me to write some different sorts of things than I might in Logic (Logic certainly can support many of these features, but some only with difficulty, and a few I don’t know if it does at all).
Also, when I posted yesterday, I completely forgot the link. If you want to check it out, you can find it here! Be aware that it doesn’t generate sound whatesoever — you need to have another program that you can “plug it in to”. They recommend a freeware one (with links) on their site if you don’t have one already, and they say you can use it with Garage Band. It just creates a Core MIDI device, so you should be able to use it with pretty much anything else (I could use it with Logic if I wanted to, I imagine). It’s Mac OS X only.
Aug 14, 2008 Gear
I’ve been playing with a freeware tool called “Nodal” tonight. It’s the first time that I’ve ever tried composing in any tool other than Logic. However, I was able to get it to drive Kontakt 3 just fine, so I thought I’d give it a whirl.
Holy cats, is it ever fun! I don’t know if I’ll ever get my brain around it *enough* to compose entire songs in it, but I suppose it’s possible. There are certain drawbacks — particularly, what you can compose is often quite constrained by the planar geometry of the notation — but there are also very powerful elements — fluid changes of bar structure are trivial and incorporating randomness is both trivial and fun. I can see myself spending a lot of time with it over the next while, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t at least one nodal composition on the next release, or at least something that was done partly in nodal.