M 2.5

M 2.5

Composition Software

Cycling `74

You have to be a bit of an old-timer to remember Joel Chadaby’s company Interactive Music, which specialized in unique algorithmic composition software that greatly enhanced and expanded the way one could interact with a computer when creating music. One of the brightest minds in Interactive Music’s stable of software designers was David Zicarelli, who was responsible for developing the first graphical patch editor for the Yamaha DX7 (Opcode, 1985) as well as other music related software programs such as M, Jam Factory, Ovaltune, UpBeat and Max.

Zicarelli has recently updated M, with the release of M 2.5 (available from Cycling ’74 for $74). This could very well be the best $74 dollars you’ll spend on music software given the complexity and depth of the program. The original M was groundbreaking, allowing the user to shape musical ideas in literally thousands of new, unique and surprising ways in a live performance style.

The M 2.5 introduces a new generation of musicians to these features as well as to provide M’s original users from the 1980’s with a new version that improves its stability and adds compatibility with OMS and Quicktime Musical Instruments. Minimum requirements for the program are an Apple Macintosh (68K or PowerPC) and the installation of Quicktime Musical Instruments, OMS 1.2 or later or Apple MIDI Manager. You can download a trial version from Cycling ’74 at http://www.cycling74.com, and then purchasing a fully-functional copy by purchasing an authorization code on-line for $74.

Some of the features offered with M 2.5 include a variety of sophisticated recording and note editing techniques, controls for the selective re-ordering and randomization of musical material, a variety of algorithmic changes including MIDI velocities, note densities, rhythms, accents, etc., slideshow sequencing of scene snapshots and a real-time conductor grid. This is without a doubt one of the most intriguing and creative music software programs from the 1980s and with the new additions in version 2.5, should become the same for the 1990s and beyond. Cycling ’74; http://www.cycling74.com/

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