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ORCΛ Live Coding Sequencer


auxien
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Intro video should give an idea of how it works. Lots of stuff to talk about with it but just wanted to start this up for now. I’ve been playing with it intermittently over the last couple months, still very new/learning still.

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Oh no no no, I can’t code or write programs. Developed by the hundredrabbits team, I think mostly by the one guy linked below. There’s resources for learning and examples and some explanations on github and via itch.io if anyone wants to download and play. There’s definitely some limitations to the program but also has a ton of promise and a really interesting and simple way of crafting some insane complexity. Search and check out some of the twitter and YouTube stuff posted by various people. Good start down the rabbit (get it, cause they’re ‘hundredrabbits’??) hole: 

 

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I kind of thought so at first given what it looks like, but it’s not really writing code. At least so far, very much just using letters and numbers graphically to generate events. Feels a bit more simple and easy than Max, tho obv much less powerful and not trying to be that sort of a thing (I think). After watching a few videos and reading the basics of the documentation I was really getting the idea of it. But that’s obviously just level 1.

Edited by auxien
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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

I finally gave this a try after grabbing it months ago, with renewed interest thanks to norns (there's a port for it), and it's awesome. Made a simple little nanoloop-style sequencer with it paired to Pilot (a suggested companion synth which I still don't fully understand) and got some dark industrial techno stuff going pretty quickly. Pilot seems very much geared towards the music Devine/Aliceffekt makes, which is fine by me because I love his stuff ?

My only minor gripe is that the documentation is very obscure, missing some information, or the information is spread across various forum threads and github docs (e.g. keyboard shortcuts). I think I'm gonna have to make my own little "pocket" guide or something, with all of the information I've collected on it. Actually might do that now.

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^yeah that was a pretty big issue with trying to get my head wrapped around it, the missing info/documentation. and i get that it's a work in progress but it was a contributing factor to me not really latching onto it better. i played with it a bit more after i posted in here about it last, but haven't really touched it in the last 3 months probably... would love to spend more time with it at some point but i got a Squarp Pyramid a few months back so my sequencing brain has been dedicated towards. ORCA is unique and powerful and i really really hope it continues and expands, but it really needs to lock the basics down with some good documentation and expand from there. Pilot seems a good companion to it, but barely touched that really

On 6/27/2019 at 6:36 PM, Stickfigger said:

Still playing with this aux?

not in a while no :/

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Yeah Pilot sounds great, but again the lack of documentation is a bit weird. I've managed to figure most of it out, except for the 4 "membrane"/drum channels, which don't respond to envelope commands in the same way that the other channels do.

The Norns build has a few weird bugs, so I may actually stick to the desktop version until they're fixed. I'd love to get stuck in to lua scripting and build my own squarp-alike but that's for another thread ?

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  • 2 months later...

Apparently they're doing all that while something like living on a boat off the coast of Japan (or maybe some other country by now) and it made me insanely jealous so I stopped trying to get into Orca just out of spite. I wish I was 1/100th as productive... :catcry:

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On 3/3/2020 at 6:46 PM, auxien said:

interesting interview with Devine about the ongoing development process on this. lots of bits of music scattered throughout as well of course. 

https://futureofcoding.org/episodes/045

Yeah was listening to this today, really interesting.  Got Orca downloaded today, can’t wait to give it a go!

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How different the workflow / overall experience compared to Tidal ? I've always been genuinely intrigued by ORCA.

Edited by Nil
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4 hours ago, Nil said:

How different the workflow / overall experience compared to Tidal ? I've always been genuinely intrigued by ORCA.

I only played a couple of hours, but I was definitely happier with ORCA. Reasons:

  • easy to set up - you just run the app and select where you route the MIDI. TidalCycles requires a full Supercollider stack, a Real Programming Environment and some manual configuration to get started. However, TC also has Live Link (which did not work ideally the last time I remember, but still worked) and can do audio synthesis through SuperCollider. I was only always interested in sending MIDI to Live.
  • programming language is more limited. This is a personal thing because I find Haskell as a programming language infinitely complex, and I spent a lot of time with TC just to figure out what the hell is the syntax doing so that I could have a mental map of "I need to write like this to achieve that result". For ORCA it's fairly straightforward to understand what is going on once you get the hang of it.
  • patching different pieces of code together is easier. I could set up a sequence in ORCA and then set up another sequence which modified parts of the first one quite easily. In TC it's also probably possible but eugh (see above ? ).
  • better visual feedback. TC does not actually show you what is going on, ORCA blinks and displays the notes being played or values being passed and that for me is much better than keeping a hugely complex mental model of what is doing what.

I should actually look into learning haskell so maybe I would become better at TC after this.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been playing about with this all week - barely scratched the surface but it’s a load of fun.  Need to play with it more but already getting some cool little sequences going with very little effort (well, apart from figuring out how to get started with it that is, once you’re up and running ideas flow out of it but getting sounds out of it in the first place is a steep learning curve).  Worth the effort.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So I’m totally loving Orca ?. Sat there tonight with a Raspberry Pi running the C99 version of it controlling my home built 808, initially just to see if I could get it working.  Then lost a couple of hours ?

I think part of the appeal for me is that it’s so powerful but you can still run it on a Pi, admittedly because they’ve taken any kind of user friendliness out of it ?.  But then you get used to it and then the challenge of getting it all to link up is a lot of fun.  I like programming though, so I like the challenge of getting it to do what I want it to do.  And then once you’ve figured out a trick you can use it again and again.

I think what I really like is the random tweaks you can add in - so set up a basic pattern, then add a random amount of velocity to some of the drums, add a cymbal with a bit of Euclidean randomness to it and suddenly it’s a whole lot more interesting than normal grid based stuff.

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very nice! is there different functionality to the C99 version? last i've paid much attention it seemed to be forking some of the functions based on the platform, at least partly. 

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I think there’s maybe some limitations around the stuff you can do in the menus, but as far as I can see the basic functions you can use are the same (or at least anything I’ve learnt how to use in the main version is also in the C99 version).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I demo’d Orca at a Raspberry Pi jam last night - they were having a Star Wars special so I got it to play the Imperial Death March through my Yocto 808, Sammich SID and Preen FM.  Was a lot of fun.

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