The M Machine

From NFC-connected festival wristbands to 3D stage projections, the live music sphere is full of high-tech offerings. One band stands above the rest, however, when it comes to using technology to transcend the typical concert experience: The M Machine.

Since 2011, this electronic music trio from San Francisco has been winning over music fans with their genre-defying blend of dance and indie music, all backed live by cinematic visuals. Unlike many “just-push-play” electronic dance music acts whose neon lasers and bright lights can begin to feel monotonous by the end of a set, The M Machine’s visuals are manipulated in real time by band member Andy Coenen, which means each performance by the trio is unique and tailored to suit the energy of the crowd.

Created using Ableton Live, Max/MSP, Resolume Avenue, and TouchDesigner, these visuals have wowed audiences at some of the nation’s biggest music fests, including Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival, and South by Southwest. The group recently unveiled their latest live show centerpiece, the virtual “M,” which Andy created using TouchDesigner, a real-time, node-based 3D and visual composition software. Unlike the group’s previous centerpiece, the LED “M,” which could only display sequenced light patterns, the virtual “M” can display video as well, adding an entirely new dimension to The M Machine’s live show.

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Visit iQ by Intel to find out what Andy Coenen had to say to me about the creation of the virtual “M,” the process of collaborating with his partners in the band, and the artists whose live shows inspire him to keep pushing The M Machine’s performance visuals to the next level!

This is another is a series of articles written by LAmb co-founder Kristin Houser in conjunction with the iQ by Intel series to explore the link between technology and music.