Max/MSP

     “I’ve always felt uncomfortable having to use other people’s software to make music. However limitless sequencers, audioeditors, and plugins claim to be, you still ?nd yourself being forced, however subtlely, to work in certain ways. My copy of Emagic Logic insists on looping the first four bars whenever it can (although it’s good software in lots of ways)… With Max/MSP I finally got to think about sound and MIDI, and their manipulation, in a much purer way… I felt that all direct contact with computers had been taken away from me, until I found Max/MSP.” - Jonny Greenwood

     Radiohead’s first major use of Max/MSP was on their sixth album, Hail To The Thief. Due to time constraints during the recording of that album, the band actually programmed the patches used in study, figuring them out as they went.

     Though it is generally associated with Jonny, everything in the band takes part in designing the patches used on each song. It is true that Jonny takes the forefront, however. Live, he takes total control, managing the software from his laptop completely by himself.

     Probably most famous use of Max/MSP on any of Radiohead’s recording is for the “stutter effect,” which Jonny uses from the solo of Go To Sleep. He has also used it live on Airbag, 2+2=5, Feral, and a few others.

     A less famous, but more prominent use of the software is for The Gloaming, on which Jonny actually uses Max to sample the entire band, and the song ends without anyone playing, just the patch playing back a processed version of the band.

     For In Rainbows, Max was likely used to generate the sounds for the beat of 15 Step, though its use on other songs is unknown. For the King of Limbs, the band actually programmed their own DAW in Max, which they used to record the album (Jonny mentions this during a BBC radio show with Colin and Adam Buxton, filling in for Jarvis Cocker).

     Jonny uses a Metric Halo Mobile I/O 2882 to feeds his guitar, or any other instruments, into his Mac laptop. The laptop, which is running the software, then manipulated the sound before sending it to the PA. To adjust the actual parameters of the software in real time via midi, Jonny uses a Kenton Electronics Control Freak SE. Live, Jonny uses a Boss LS2 to choose between sending his guitar’s signal to his laptop and to his pedalboard.

     Jonny runs the software off of his own laptop, which live he keeps to the left of his keyboards. In 2008 he used a Mac PowerBook G4, but in 2011 he had switched to a 13” Macbook Pro.

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Pictures of Patches

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Almost certainly the infamous stutter patch.

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15 Step; Source: taytotim.

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Codex.

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The Gloaming.

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Idiotque(though probably open after use on a previous song).

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In 2013, Jonny Greenwood posted this patch on his twitter account.

This post was edited on Oct 5th, 2013.

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