C-C-Combine is a corpus-based audio mosiacing application, built in Max/MSP, based on concatenative synthesis. Concatenative synthesis is a technique for synthesizing sounds by concatenating short samples of recorded sound. It is essentially a type of granular synthesis that, instead of playing back grains based on position/windows, plays back grains based on analysis of incoming audio. In order to do this you must have a corpus (the pre-analyzed body of sounds) and an input sound source (either incoming audio or file playback).
Here is a video of it in action.
Back when I started programming what would eventually become The Party Van, I envisioned building something like C-C-Combine. It was very much out of my programming reach/understanding at the time. C-C-Combine is my first exploration into “full on” concatenative synthesis, that uses a pre-analyzed corpus of samples. I was originally inspired to do this by collaborator Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, having heard his Sandbox #3 in action, which is based on CataRT, an open source concatentative synthesis application written by Diemo Schwarz. (You can read more about PA Tremblay’s concat setup/exploration in this paper co-written by him and Diemo Schwarz.) I also came across Mogees instrument, by Bruno Zamborlin, which sounded very exciting to me as, like in PA’s setup, was based on real-time audio analysis.
Aside from the desire to learn and code something that did exactly what I wanted, the impetus of creating C-C-Combine was that this type of synthesis and sound production is difficult to get into. CataRT is freely available, but it requires installing a large framework/extension on top of Max/MSP (FTM&Co). It is also incredibly deep/powerful, but not especially tailored to live performance. Mogees, as far as I can tell, is not available at all. C-C-Combine is freely available to download (link below) as a Max/MSP patch, so that you can edit/view the code (or use it as is). It only uses a few externals by Alex Harker, which come included with the download. Harker’s externals handle the audio analysis (both real-time and offline) as well as data storage/lookup.
I made every effort to make the application as user-friendly as possible with a thorough “quick start” guide in the ‘info’ window and ‘hints’ when you hover over anything. Corpus analysis/storage/loading is no trivial task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult either. The program is primarily made for real-time concatenative synthesis, so most of the features are built towards that end, but I do plan on expanding the program, as well as building an adaptation of it into The Party Van.
Here are my own personal corpora (multiple corpuses) that you can download and use with the patch right away. Just drag the audio file onto the main window of C-C-Combine, then select the analysis file when it prompts you for it.