Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Reverse Podcast...

So I generally am known for doing a podcast, so it's a little funny when I'm the subject of a podcast. I did a little evening improve with Terry Schubring, the developer of the Chromaris system, and a dude with some cool gear. After jamming with Terry and Paul Berglund for while, I sat down and did a bit of jabbering for his podcast - talking about everything from playing to Kurzweils to being super-cheap. A nice chat and an interesting evening...



Sunday, May 7, 2017

A New Bit (w/video)

I spent a little time this afternoon combining a recent FM/attractor modular piece with a low-res video process I'd done; I like the combo, and the modular patch continues my line of blippy, loopy mono synth pieces.



Friday, April 28, 2017

Modular On The Spot gets an LA nod!

(image from the laist:

My friend Bana Haffar shot me a not about getting some coverage of the Modular On The Spot performances by the LAist online news site?  It was one of the more thoughtful and interesting non-geek interviews and overviews of the MOTS performances, and seems to be from something that might, in some future time, become inspired to get into modulars too!

Read it, enjoy it - but get involved! We need more MOTS' in the world!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Art Code Time

(self portrait, 2017)

Did something different last night - got out of the house! Whee! I went to an 'Art Code' meetup in the Cities (Twin Cities - Minneapolis/St. Paul for the WTF crew), reengaged with Processing a bit (which reminded me to touch base with Casey Reas for an interview), and hung out with "my people": art-tech folks.

Nothing much modular, but a fun time. If you want to have a blast, check out the GenerateMe github for some easy-to-use and easy-to-modify scripts for weirdo graphics!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Music Conference Tooling

(Note: I'll be doing an actual conference review for the Cycling '74 newsletter in a week or two; here's just some simple notes from the front...)

It is important to prepare for a music conference - especially one that will be dealing with modern (and especially computer-based) music. The main thing is to get yourself into the right frame of mind, and to have goals that you wish to achieve during your time there.

Goals like meeting great people, or being inspired to make new work, or catching up on your reading.

But it helps to have some grounding material. To that end, I provide you with two bits of reading that have always helped me:

1. David Zicarelli's Keynote for the 2001 ICMC Conference

If you know David, you'll understand the wry humor in full bloom in this speech. What you may not know is that he didn't give it - it was read by Richard Dudas in his place. And maybe rightly so, since it threw some tomatoes at some of the work being shown at ICMC. Nevertheless, it is a great think-piece about the place of all this stuff within the framework of what we actually need.

2. Bob Ostertag's Discussion about Computer Music Submissions to Ars Electronica

Referenced in David's piece is this discussion by Bob Ostertag, which is maybe even more pointed about the sameness and sheep-like herding toward a 'goal' that is rather vague and completely useless. Also a grim reminder of what it is like to be part of any 'competition' when it comes to music.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Circuit Macro Normalization

I was exchanging some notes with my friend Mark Mosher about the Circuit, where I vented a little bit about the thing I dislike about the Novation Circuit: the eight knobs are 'Macro' knobs, and there is no consistency that I can discern from patch-to-patch on the synth voice presets. Since this is a completely software-hackable machine, I've been going through patches, reassigning the Macro knobs, and making it a lot more of my own machine.

So, in order to have consistency of use, you need to make decisions about the use of the knobs. I decided on 'families of control', meaning that each knob would be a control for a certain type of function. Here's what I'm using:

Row 1 (top):

Encoder 1: Oscillator modifier (detuning, waveshaping)
Encoder 2: Pitch modifier (portamento/glide, pitch LFO)
Encoder 3: Filter modifier (resonance, filter LFO, filter env amount)
Encoder 4: Output modifier (level LFO, chorus effect depth, phasor depth)

Row 2 (bottom):

Encoder 1: Envelope attacks (amp and filter)
Encoder 2: Envelope decays and releases (amp and filter)
Encoder 3: Filter Cutoff Frequency
Encoder 4: Level modifier (output mix, output level or sustain level)

In parentheses you see details and/or examples of the functions, and this breakdown helps me build some muscle memory in using the synth settings. Not that the bottom row is much more preset (envelopes and filter cutoff) than the top (modifiers in general), nevertheless, I test obsessively, and am finding this to consistently work well for me.

Macro knobs in general can be problematic; what do you do on your Circuit, Live Rack or other macro-filled devices to help you come to grips with their use?


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What's Shakin' at Berklee?

This is what's happening at Berklee! The above image is the 'standard' modular that is used in the B51 studio/classroom where I gave my Voltage Connect workshop, and where I also saw a performance by the Berklee Modular Ensemble. It was a great performance, and featured four people (one on each of these machines) sync'd together and putting out a beautiful bit of improv.

And who do you think is responsible for this?

Yup - my ol' friend Matthew Davidson! Dude is rockin' it at Berklee, and has really got a great group of students hard at work. You are gonna see some of these people in the near future...