The evolution of ZS-1 Amen

This Thursday we chronicled the evolution of ZS-1 Amen. From an experiment in instrument design, to a dynamic live audio visual experience.

Originally written by Ziad in 1998, Amen started as GUI design experiment. In 1998 most music software was written to emulate existing hardware. Ziad’s aim was to start with a prevalent compositional technique, then design software around it.

The compositional technique chosen was the beat making popularised by the Drum and Bass genre. Here drum loops are chopped into smaller parts and resequenced. Originally this was a laborious process as there was no dedicated software for it. Amen was designed to remedy this.

Algorithmic composition is a major part of Amen. In our presentation Ziad explained the motivation for and approach behind this functionality. Algorithmic composition is also a great catalyst for experimentation and can produce some very surprising results.

Amen was left in the public domain. Several years later the project was picked up by Daniel.

Amen was redesigned and rewritten for the Nintendo DS. The Nintendo DS inspired a generation of audio hackers. Daniel was one of those hackers. He re-imagined Amem, reworking the GUI to take advantage of the DS’s unusual hardware configuration. Notably the touch screen.

Daniel went on to implement Amen’s most requested feature; a live performance mode.

Daniel walked through his realtime-focused changes using a new Flash version of Amen, made specially for this demonstration. Often he got sidetracked, filling the room with funky beats and delighting the audience. Daniel’s Amen is a dynamic live audio and visual experience, multichannel sequencer and a ton of fun!

The future of Amen is exciting… watch this space…

 

Daniel Lopez and Ziad Khouri

http://www.sonicspot.com/zs1amen/zs1amen.html

http://www.samplestation.net/forum/zs-1-amen-rearrangement-de-boucles,topic27807.html (in French)