War Water by Mutian, Jake, Steve

Our idea is to trigger MIDI notes with audio using trigg.me (4live.me). We use contact mics on floor tom, snare and kick drum. Steve shared his guitar sample and Jake added a lot effects on it. We spent some time figuring out the best threshold for each mic, so when Steve plays kick drum the sound won’t trigger MIDI note for snare drum. We were inspired by Little Flowers.

The general idea is: War about to happen -> really intense fight -> war ends, silence. Based on the idea we decided the order of how we gonna perform this piece: start -> Modulation sound from light tracking -> pad sound triggered by snare -> pad sound fade out -> floor tom -> guitar sound -> kick tom and more guitar sound -> modulation on guitar sound and pad sound fade in -> speed up -> end.

Technologies used:
Max for Live

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First block at the left is Trigg.me plugin and we can use that to adjust the threshold. ‘Altered Scale’ block in the middle is used for designing pitch pattern. We use guitar sample that Steve recorded and pad as our source sound.

We tried put mics on ride cymbal and hi-hat, but they all have a very long decay time and hard to control. So we decided to use only tom, snare and kick.

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Jake also uses Brainwash plugin to trigger the video. Video image changes with overall volume.

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We tried different sound effects and modulation. Jake connects Ableton with MIDI controller so he can manipulate those sounds while Steve is playing.

We discussed about adding some interactive part and Steve talked about the idea of using flash light to control sound effects. Steve worked on Processing program for light tracking. It plays FM synthesizer developed by Roger Dannenberg. Download the code.

Mutian also worked on max patch for light tracking and track the position of flash light. It works well.


Watch light tracking test video (Max). We decided use Steve’s program for light tracking because it generates some really cool sound.

After setting everything up and our first practice we found tom drum and guitar sound like a ‘War theme’. So we tried different sound effects and modulation to fit in our theme. Jake connects Ableton with MIDI controller so he can manipulate sounds while Steve is playing.

First rehearsal video.

Team Roles


  • Light Tracking & FM Synth w/ Processing
  • Drums


  • Audio & Video Effects
  • Music Production Controller (MPC)


  • Flashlight
  • Light Tracking w/ Max
  • Research
  • Song Arc / Order
  • Documentation

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