For my art I produce audio-visual software to work with music and visuals at the same, in one unified creative process. My software turns professional music software into audio-visual software. This way, it is easy to work with visuals in the same way as audio on a professional level. In 1995 I created my first instrument like this.

Since then I produced many audio-visual instruments pushing the limits of computer hardware. I work with a very skilled, talented and fun team to realise this dream. This quest affected my work as an artist heavily, but resulted in a wonderful product: EboSuite. Below I tell the story of EboSuite showing different prototypes and link to project pages with more detailed information.

Beginnings

Before 1995, I used separate software programs to make music and visuals. DPaint for visuals and trackers for music. With friends I made AV Demos, I made the visuals and music and my friends software to play them together as a slideshow with transition effects and music.

I was not able to work with video yet. The school of Arts had an analogue VHS video editing system available, but this system was much too slow and imprecise for musical editing. I had to imagine the visual part of my compositions in my mind, for example Tragic eRRoR and Mo’TV.

Amiga video sampler

That all changed in 1995 when I created an audio-visual sampler together with a classmate, Armin Dröge. This set-up consisted of a Roland S760 audio sampler and an Amiga computer, triggered live with music software or with a MIDI keyboard. This enabled me to work with audio (S760) and visuals (Amiga) at the same time, live. In the same way I produced my music I could now produce audio-visual tracks.

In 1996, I scored an international club hit with Donuts with Buddah and I was invited to do much more live shows. The tracks GarbiTch and NoMo cLearance, created with this Amiga/S760 set-up, became instant hits during these shows. This success enabled me to invest in better equipment: an Apple computer with video editing software. This enabled me to use many different videos, audio-visual effects and to work in color, but again there was no software available to work with music and visuals at the same time. I had to develop my own software.

EboNator

I produced the EboNator together with two schoolmates, Keez Duyves and Gideon Kiers in 1997. With the EboNator I could pitch and trigger videos on the fly on multiple computers and synchronize them like a DJ with turntables. The output of the computers was mixed with an analogue video mixer, because affordable computers were not able to mix videos in real-time at that time.  

SenSorSuit + Image/ine + XPose

In 1999 I developed the SenSorSuit with my father and Chris Heijens. I used metal door hinges in my armpits and elbows, DJ faders between my fingers and buttons on the ground to track my body motion. With this motion tracking suit I was able to control audio-visual effects and videos live on stage. I used the EboNator software and Image/ine to perform with this suit on several screens simultaneously. 

Steim’s Image/ine and Arkaos’ Xpose were fun tools to play with video live, but both didn’t support audio properly. Xpose didn’t support audio at all. Image/ine supported audio, but had a considerable latency and choppy playback when scrubbing through video. That made it hard to use for musical triggering.

I synchronized Xpose with a SampleCell audio sampler to create an audio-visual sampler like the Amiga/S760 set-up. A nice set-up, but the creative features of Xpose were very limited (Image/ine was much more creative) and file management a mess.

Nato.0+55+3d + Max/MSP/Jitter

Max is a great development platform to make creative applications. I had been using Max since 1999 to time-strech audio in real time and to create fun audio glitch effects. When Nato.0+55+3d was launched (an experimental suite of externals that added extensive real-time video control to Max) I made some experimental video applications. But when ‘Jitter’ was launched, an official suite of visual externals for Max, the time was ripe to make more complex audio-visual applications.

DVJ Mixer + skrtZz pen + Frame Drummer Pro

In 2002 I started to permanently employ people, so I was able to make more complex software. With Aart Muis, Thijs Koerselman and Rob Donkers, I made many creative audio-visual instruments. The first application was the DVJ Mixer. I used the DVJ Mixer for many DVJ shows. Computers were powerful enough at that time to play and mix multiple videos (without advanced triggering) and use real-time audio-visual 3D effects.

The skrtZz pen was the first instrument that enabled me to improvise freely with the timing and pitch of audio-visual samples and to play with audio-visual effects live. In a glitchy, hip-hop-scratch-style I was even able to battle vinyl turntablists.

The Frame Drummer Pro was the most advanced instrument we made in 2003. It turned Logic Pro (music software) into an audio-visual instrument. Version 7.0 supported advanced video triggering, skrtZz-ing, audio-visual effects, composition assistance and live sampling. Another cool feature was the ability to ‘render’ a video composition. Due to hardware limitations only one single video could be triggered at a time and it had to run on a second computer.

SenS

In 2004, I made my first attempt to develop a fully functional audio-visual software system, called SenS. SenS combined the creative possibilities of the DVJ mixer, skrtZz pen and Frame Drummer Pro. Because hardware in 2004 was not powerful enough to play, mix, distort and skrtZz multiple videos and run Logic Pro at the same time, SenS I ran on serveral laptops controlled by a ‘master’ computer. It could also be controlled with an updated version of the SenSorSuit. 

EboStudio

To develop complex software like SenS, I was dependant on my technical team. To keep this team together and to create a solid basis for them to experiment, learn and develop themselves into audio-visual technology specialists, I founded EboStudio (called SmadSteck initially).

This had a huge impact on my artistic work. It became an important task for me to hold my team together and facilitate them. My artistic choices had always been heavily influenced by technology, but since 2006 also by my entrepreneurship. Fortunately, I managed to maintain an environment where my team could focus on the development of SenS solely, without having to deal with the daily stress of other deadlines.  

SenS II

In 2005 Mattijs Kneppers and Bas van der Graaff joined the team. They were new to Max and building video instruments, but very talented developers. Together we created SenS II. This system worked with its own sequencer to loop and mix MIDI loops on the fly (a bit like Albleton Live’s Session View). This system ran on one computer (which made it much easier to operate) and supported 3D video mixing of two individual video tracks. SenS II was made for live performances primarily.

SenS III

SenS III was able to play and mix four videos in 3D and was equipped with 16 audio-visual 3D effects and proper editors, like the AV Meta-Data Editor and the Decor Builder. Seamless integration into music software is very important to create the optimal audio-visual instrument. Dedicated SenS VST plug-ins integrated SenS as seamless as possible into Logic Pro. 

SenS IV

SenS IV introduced AV Block, a flexibel audio-visual effects editor in 2007. Timo Rozendal and Nenad Popov joined the team and I invested heavily into its real-time motion graphics and 3D video mix capabilities to be able to do more commercial projects to finance the development. With SenS IV I did many live video sampling shows for different brands and creative agencies. It is also used as total show control software to mix live camera streams, graphics, music and videos for conferences, a fashion show, an award show and two interactive narrow casting installations.

SenSei + Augmented Stage

SenSei (2011) turns Ableton Live (popular music software) into an audio-visual instrument. It is the final prototype before the development of EboSuite. SenSei consists of a set of ‘Max for Live’ plug-ins to control the SenSei application from within Ableton Live and a set of editors to edit different aspects of a SenSei project. The creative features of SenSei remained mostly the same as SenS IV, yet more user-friendly and reliable.

This was the first attempt to fully integrate SenS into Ableton Live using the new possibilities of Max for Live (very important for an audio-visual instrument). We did this even better with the development of EboSuite. SenSei could also be controlled with a 3D camera (super cool!), I call this concept Augmented Stage.

DVJ Mixer 3.0

The DVJ mixer 3.0 (2013) is a simplified version of SenSei, made for my DVJ shows. It is the first basic version of EboSuite. The DVJ Mixer 3.0 consists of two plug-ins for Ableton Live. When a plug-in is added to an Ableton Live project the video mixer application automatically launches in the background. The application runs in a separate instance from Ableton Live to maximise performance and reliability.

Interactive Tracks

In 2011 it was time to take things to the next level. The main purpose of starting EboStudio was to create the ideal audio-visual instrument, and to make that instrument available for everybody. During the development of SenSei it became clear that the time was ripe to turn this prototype into a release-worthy product (that is now EboSuite). To do this, we had to re-write all the prototype software (written in Max) into rock-solid code (like C++ etc.). But building rock-solid, releasable software is a slow and costly process. That is one of the reasons I started the Interactive Tracks project.

Interactive Tracks are interactive audio-visual compositions (iOS apps) with integrated creative functions to remix and personalize them. Tips and instructions, integrated in the track, help the user during this process. The resulting personalized track can easily be shared on social media. This is a new way for artists/brands to promote their work/product. The template tracks are made with SenSei and Ableton Live. I used this project to convert the prototype software of SenSei step-by-step, app-by-app into release-worthy software and to finance this process. This software formed the basis for what is now EboSuite.

EboSuite

In 2017 EboSuite was launched! I had been looking forward to this moment for a long time. Finally the instrument I had been working on with my team for many years was available for everybody to use. EboSuite is a collection of plug-ins that turns Ableton Live (popular music production software) into an audio-visual instrument. The aim of my software is to create the ultimate audio-visual instrument that merges the creative processes of making music and making visuals into one, unified creative process. Ideal for audio-visual and visual music artists like me. You should try it out yourself!

EboSuite 1.5

april 1, 2019

EboSuite 1.0

december 1, 2017

Real-time Interactive Tracks

oktober 1, 2015

Interactive Tracks

juni 1, 2014

DVJ Mixer 3.0

augustus 1, 2013

Augmented Stage

december 1, 2011

SenSei

september 1, 2011

Senna – AV instrument for children

oktober 1, 2010

SenS IV

september 1, 2007

SenS III

augustus 1, 2006

SenS II

mei 15, 2005

SenS I

september 1, 2004

SenSorSuit 2.0

augustus 1, 2004

FDP-7

mei 1, 2004

skrtZz pen

mei 1, 2003

Interface Band

mei 1, 2003

Frame Drummer Pro

april 1, 2003

DVJ mixer

februari 15, 2003

SenSorSuit 1.0

oktober 1, 1999

V-skrtZz

augustus 1, 1999

Ebonator

augustus 1, 1997

Video Sampler

december 1, 1995

Mo’ TV

juni 1, 1993

VFX

november 1, 1992

AV demo’s

november 1, 1989

Tragic eRRoR

mei 1, 1988