Creative Coding with Adam Rokshar

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Many of us are either left-brained or right-brained. We expect the lefties to write software for the righties to create art with. It’s rare to find someone comfortable on both sides of this intersection, but Adam Rokshar pulls it off with style. He develops beautiful video software with Max for Live, teaches Max to other musicians, and performs a unique blend of future funk under the name RUWA – using the software tools he himself created!

Adam recently taught a workshop at the Electronic Music Producers Meetup in NYC, where he walked the audience through two of his newest creations. He recently released the M4L device RokVid, which makes it easy for anyone to create a pretty impressive realtime video performance – right inside Ableton Live! The device can load a series of video files that can be intercut and transformed all in time with a Live set, with little preparation. There are eight different video effects in RokVid; these can be blended together to create everything from subtle filtering to an electro-acid video freakout. All the transformations can be connected to elements of your musical performance. So, kick drums might crossfade between video clips, or maybe you’d like your video to get darker as the music gets louder. The possibilities are extensive!

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Next Adam showed off a device called GlitchPix. It works a little like RokVid, however it’s based on transforming still images. All you need to do is drop some images into the device, and it will generate live video in time with your performance. The device only has three sliders, but it’s surprising what you can get out of it with minimal effort.

While RokVid and GlitchPix are impressive bits of programming, what is REALLY incredible is that in addition to creating them, Adam has somehow found time to make amazing music and videos using his tools. His production on RUWA’s newest record “Science Fiction” is tight, soulful, electronic R&B that reminds me of early Prince tunes. There are also a number of videos for his songs, many of which have been made using his video devices.

I’m looking forward to another workshop with Adam and hopefully there will be a RUWA live show in NYC soon. Check out “Science Fiction” on RUWA’s bandcamp page! You can get RokVid from Ableton.com and Glitchpix from Winksound.com. If you’d like to learn more about creating cool things with Max and Max for Live you can get in touch with Adam through his website http://makeyourselftransparent.tumblr.com

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