[chuck-users] what a nice guy...

Stephen Sinclair radarsat1 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 7 23:58:11 EDT 2008

On Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 10:30 PM, Arne Eigenfeldt <aeigenfeldt at gmail.com> wrote:
> 2008/10/7 Peter Todd <chuck at xinaesthetic.net>
>> Seriously, though; this guy writes 'music AI' software and then resents it
>> when people think that implies he might be interested in other experimental
>> computer music programmes...
> This guy is almost laughable the way he situates himself.
> Firstly, I don't see how probability distributions equates to 'music AI'.
> Claiming his drum pattern generator is somehow 'revolutionary' underlines
> how out of touch he is with contemporary music research. That sort of stuff
> was done in Max in the 1990s.
> Secondly, his presentation to the Ruby community on his software suggested
> that he, and they, are all part of 'the fringe'. I don't see how creating
> 4/4 drum patterns that emulate drum 'n' bass, using Reason, is in any way
> 'fringe'. Seems quite mainstream to me.
> But then, I went to university.

Well, it is definitely laughable on many levels and really not even
worth discussing here.

But one thing that I do find interesting and legitimate about it is
his reaction to people telling him what software to use.  I'm sure, of
course, that he took it out of context.. a 'hey you might be
interested..', repeated too many times, to the point where it becomes
misinterpreted as, 'hey there's this other software that does what
you're doing but way better'.. and then i can see how getting annoyed
would become reasonable.

I used to talk to people after performances about what tools they are
using and even making suggestions sometimes, but I've since learned
that many people are happy with what they have, and like to stick with
what they know, so that they can stop 'learning' and actually get
artistic work done.  There's something to be said for that.  Now I
more often just observe what people are doing and how they are using
their tools and I try to learn from it, or think about what my take
might be, and why it is that they like that particular interface.

The 'dream' of creating a general interface that is perfect for
everyone who makes electronic music is naive.. diversity in the music
software ecosystem is key.  Special tools for particular purposes can
be just as useful as general-purpose tools like an audio programming
language.  And combining them is fun!  That's why I like to use things
like ChucK as the basis for custom interfaces for specific paradigms
(i'm currently writing a chuck-based sequencer).

I'm not all convinced this is what happened here, since that rant is a
bit crazy, but I can see it.  I don't actually think that rant is all
that serious anyway.. if you look further in his blog he's got a quick
post about how easy it was for him to write a quick drum machine in


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