On February 25th, the Ensemble delivered a rare 5 hour long performance of Music in Twelve Parts to celebrate Glass’s 75th anniversary. This musical marathon also marked the first public run of their new live rig based on Plogue Bidule. Michael Riesman gracefully shared with us his experience with the Philip Glass Ensemble and their migration process to Bidule.
Maxime Deland (PLOGUE): You’ve joined the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1974. I guess the live rig has changed a few times over all these years. Could you share with us how your setup has evolved until the latest pre-Bidule setup?
Michael Riesman: When I joined, the keyboards consisted of 3 Farfisa Mini-Compact organs. That was it.
Finally, the last pre-Bidule rig, initially set up in 2004, ended up consisting of a TX-816 rack, 2 TX-802s, 2 Matrix 6Rs, 5 Matrix 1000s, and a PC hosting Synthogy Ivory for piano sounds, all fed into a Pro Tools 5 system running on a Mac G4 4-slot computer housing 2 Pro Tools cards, 2 Samplecell II cards, and an instance of Soft Samplecell. The Pro Tools rig was just for mixing (no sequences or other virtual instruments or audio playback), with the hardware fed into 3 888 interfaces and the Samplecells fed directly into the TDM bus and showing up as inputs (cards) or Rewire instruments (Soft Samplecell) in Pro Tools. Performer 5.5 was used as the front end for MIDI, because Pro Tools had a problem with our Aphex trigger-to-MIDI converters, which did not (by default) send any note offs. In Pro Tools, the MIDI buffer would eventually fill up and crash Pro Tools because it was keeping track of all the note-ons without note-offs. This drove me nuts in rehearsal until I finally figured out what was going on and took Pro Tools out of the MIDI equation and all was well. I still to this day don’t use Pro Tools for any MIDI. Read More… »
A unique characteristic of Portal 2′s soundtrack, apart from its sonic grandness, is that it’s generated in real time by an adaptive music system that react to the player’s actions. This dynamic music was also designed as a reward for successfully completing puzzles inside the game.
David Viens (Plogue): Your resume is impressive to say the least, having worked on special effects in movies, to video game soundtracks and audio/dsp programming as well, what is it about game soundtracks that brings you back to your first love?
Mike Morasky: I am and have been a home recording enthusiast for a long time and have always been writing and recording music regardless of what I’m working on publically. I’ve got boxes of cassettes and hard drives full of studies and experiments that stretch all the way back to when I was a young teen. I often wonder however, why it took me so long to focus on game audio. I’ve been a gamer since Pong and have had various opportunities to explore this space but somehow the stars never seemed to align. The real shift I guess was finding myself at Valve. Working with broad-minded people exploring combinations of various disciplines really helped me to connect many of my disparate dots into a whole. Suddenly the idea of creating audio/musical experiences for and in the context of our games made a great deal of sense.
“Plogue chipsounds is used throughout Portal 2 and the game wouldn’t have sounded the same without it. I am a big fan.”
Here’s the list of new features and bug fixes:
- Test versions of VST and AU for OS X 64bit
- Added basic version of Arpeggiator, Echo and Quantizer
- Added basic version of Graphical Envelope
- Added MIDI Note Dynamic Filter
- Added hidden preference switch to mutate over entire range instead of current value (see forum post)
- Arpeggiator, Echo : added some missing durations
- Added override per instance for the main window title
- Added Monitoring key shortcut for selected bidules (CTRL/CMD-8)
- Audio File Player: added number of frames in file parameter