20170805

Interesting experiment with mG2! Made a piano roll in Logic X which triggered samples (through midi) that I chopped from an interview of my grandfather. mG2 can play 6 samples per bank but it accepts program changes to access new sample banks (I think it can have over 60 banks). I wrote program change messages in the piano roll so I could access all of the interview samples through Logic X. I could experiment chopping an interview into samples (which I would keep in the synth) and edit the interview using some kind of (partially automated) drum system. Instead of editing an interview this approach would synthesize the voice of a person. As discussed with Pietari editing an interview can be approached as some kind of narrative-granular-synthesis.

Succeeded in building an almost functional midi clock sync between Automatonism and external midi gear!

20170803

Omar Souleyman’s Björk – Crystalline remix (2012) is the future. His new album To Syria, With Love is available on Soundcloud. Es Samra is my favorite so far.

A new episode of Somewhere I’ve Never Been by Steph Kretowicz & Kimmo Modig is available on Mixcloud. Apparently they are publishing each episode through a different channel. I guess it’s fitting to the theme of the book. I’ve enjoyed the episodes so far and I think they should translate it into Finnish and sell it to Yle. The Ableton Live automations on Kretowicz’s voice could be easily used for an actor speaking Finnish. Sari TM Kivinen would have the perfect accent.

All of the episodes of Pietari’s podcast series Pietari K. kävi täällä for Yle are now online. The episode on Kalle Päätalo as a cyborg is particularly fun. Lawrence Lek’s Sinofuturism (2016) is mentioned.

Returning soulfully to Soundcloud with a mG2 fuelled moods.

20170731

A long and interesting article about artist Mari Keski-Korsu Finding ‘skinship’ with trees (2017) from we-make-money-not-art.com. Some of her recent animal related works are mentioned.

Should America’s Tech Giants Be Broken Up? asks Bloomberg mag (Long story short: Yes. Economy stagnates when tech companies develop into monopolies which fail to circulate their profits).

Found an interview in Elavä arkisto about my grandfather’s Göstä Lindholm’s PhD dissertation (He also has a Wikipedia page which I didn’t know about). Apparently he studied how personal preferences and the formal layouts of questionnaires affect surveys results. He used telepathy experiments as his material and proved that some symbols in Zener cards are more liked then others.

He also suggest that there are some biological rules in play when we make decisions. Judging from the interview he comes of as a semi-postmodern thinker who is confused about the result of his study and turns to biology to patch his world views. My mother disliked his thinking and believed him to be a nazi.

I always thought my belief that technological structures define the limits of our imagination (and responses) echoed my mother’s Marxist worldviews. But it seems that some of her favorite arguments on “how capitalist have rigged the game” are rooted on her father’s research.

I chopped the interview into samples I can play with my mG2. It would be poetic to get the Bastl GRANDPA (the pimped up eurorack version of mG2, available as a DIY kit) and have it play the samples through some sort of self generating modular patch (Krell?). A simple fake artificial intelligence of sorts.. An artificial idiot (vähä-äly kone) as specified by Otto Karvonen. Perhaps I can test the idea using Automatonism/pd. Es-ow Diato’s Kandiadiou on My Mind is online. I helped in the production (cam. / edit). Found a promising article on Granular synthesis on audio file with Pure data.

Es-ow Diato’s Kandiadiou on My Mind is online. I assisted in the production (cam. / edit).

20170725

Selected 36 samples from the SOW: Blacksmith sound pack which I think are fitted for granular synthesis using the microGranny 2 (Found a good guide for mG2 sample workflow on Muff Wiggler. Also discovered a decent macOS utility NameChanger). I plan to prepare a horse sound selection which I can use as an acoustic element during Trans-Horse lectures (as seen in Pori 2014). Made a some small updates the SOW site.

Edits with FCPX are progressing slowly. Navigating between the viewer and timeline using keyboard shortcuts makes me feel like a pro.

20170724

Managed to build a working microGranny 2.5 unit. Messed up a connection ribbon but other then that the build went decently. I got the midi working (with a Novation Circuit) but I don’t have a usb-to-midi dongle so I can’t test the units midi CC parameter changes (I trust it’s ok). The midi-clock synced “RANDOM SHIFT” for grain playback direction is great! The unit came preloaded with Slavoj Žižek samples, which the unit can run as automated drum-like stutter. Unfortunately the file menu browser is slow and sometimes the faders behave oddly. Judging from the forums this is because the unit is based on an Arduino. It’s rather noisy too but I like it a lot.

Working on my first proper FCPX project. Added keywords to clips and marked favorites/rejects. Learning keyboard shortcuts and how to sync video to external audio. Tomorrow I’ll add the clips to the timeline.

20170719

My Bastl microGranny 2.5 kit arrived. The assembly looks very challenging.

I succeeded in installing Pure Data (Pd) on my RasPi 3 and I’ve been playing with Automatonism 1.1. It works great and even got my Novation Circuit to work with it! Automatonism is a virtual modular audio system. It’s the successor of XODULAR (both systems have been written by Johan Eriksson). Automatonism is a great way to learn both Pd and audio synthesis.

While fiddling with Pd I figured our that I can use it to write a midi CC modulator/translator which will change the CCs Novation Circuit sends over midi into CCs which the microGranny understands. The Circuit synths CC values can be automated using the inbuilt sequencer. The combination should make for very interesting results. Much like some Elektron sequencers with parameter locks. I guess I could run a Raspberry Pi Nano which only works as a Pd midi CC modulator/translator: ctlin (isolate CC) -> values -> ctlout (to desired CC). Or something.

I’ll try to learn Pd by making a midi clock input for Automatonism. Also discovered the Piz MIDI plugin collection which seems very useful. The plugins have been updated earlier this year. By the looks of it midiForceToKey can be used to make microtonal stuff.

20170710

Pippin Barr’s new game It is as if you were doing work v1.0 spices up the rest of your workday (on a computer).

To learn more about granular synthesis I pulled the trigger on a microGranny 2.5 DIY kit by Bastl. For 130€ it has a lot of features. Feeling guilty about the purchase.. The diy part of the project helps with the guild. Here is some tips on its advanced functions.

While looking at different kits I found Collidoscope, a two person granular synth.

20170309

Can I Get An Amen? (2004) & Bassline Baseline (2005) by Nate Harrison (Note: Bassline Bassline circumvents youtube copyright protection algorithms by randomly gate-chopping samples!). Both pieces are fuelled with technological optimism (which in 2004-5 was already nostalgia). Contemporary discussion concerning cultural appropriation are distant and sampling is presented as a expression of an pancultural youth movement which seeks to discredit capitalism, corporate record labels and mainstream artists (The dismay mainstream artist felt over sampling is well captured in this delightful extract from 1988).

Jon Leidecker’s (aka. Wobbly) podcast series VARIATIONS #1-7 (2009-2012) investigates the history sampling in more detail. In all VARIATIONS is a great introduction to 20th century avantgarde music. He begins the series by illustrating how musical notation and sampling are related. These technologies have enabled artists to extract tunes and forms from localized cultural contexts and to distribute them globally, make remixes, to store tunes/forms indefinitely and to re-listen to tunes/forms without social context. Musical notations is as intrusive as sampling!

Leidecker argues that recorded music gave artists, who didn’t have training in notation the opportunity to document and share their culture. He presents jazz as an artform which developed largely through recordings. Early jazz musicians developed new styles to play old instruments and these styles were shared globally through 78RPM recording (Musical notation struggles to capture the style instruments can be played). Recorded music and samplers returned power to oral cultures and traditions. Charismatic performers who were overshadowed by literary traditions could re-emerge and seek out global audiences.

He presents sampling and remixing as fundamental human rights. As methods for organizing like-minded people. I think he argues that the best way to fight cultural stagnation and alienation (under capitalistic conditions) is to embrace sampling full heartedly. Corporate record labels and centralized regimes will always find ways to appropriate subcultures and minorities – The only way we can overturn such developments is by sampling, sharing and remixing. By using technology to disrupt. The sampler is like nuclear energy – We are all affected by it and it continues to define the world according to its logic (as discussed earlier).

I think many contemporary discussions concerning cultural appropriation are steered by a negative reaction to the technology of the sampler. It’s a convenient adversary. It is technology which is designed to extracts cultural signs away from their native context and to remix samples according to a fixed logic (wester time signatures and scales). But when we are discussing cultural appropriation, it is important to understand the difference between the global impact of the technology of the sampler and individual artists who use samplers. Herbie Hancock believes that samplers are tools which allow users to choose if they are used for good or bad. There is nothing intrinsically bad about technology or appropriation for that matter. Copying successful techniques from other could be considered is a human right and we can’t turn back the clock.

The arrival of samplers have changed our cultural ecology and artists who use them for remixes are trying to adapt to the change. Naïve users get blamed for what our sinister technology enables. It is the sampler in its self which subjugates and quantifies cultural signs accross classes and continents. Everyone touched by its logic has been tainted. #ॐ

We cannot stop sampling as a technological approach to culture – But we can use samplers to connect to each other. Acceleration is the best route for action. We should confront each others and not allow fear to hinder our efforts. Gianni Motti’s HIGGS, looking for the anti-Motti (2005) is a cynical artwork. He should have run together with someone, so that they would have collided and exploded into previously unseen particles.

Samplers are not against local cultures. They are against the world. In the wrong hands samplers are paving way for a granular future, where we cease to form relations to other cultures and only form relations to technology! As Topi discovered, people who use Tinder are actually in relationship with the application and the casual human encounter they engage in are irrelevant for the application developer and the emerging Tinder-culture. Sampler technologies are here: Embrace the possibilities they offer.  

I hope the SOW: Blacksmith will manage to build bridges between new and old professions and classes. Designers make techno on their free time… By using samples extracted from the sounds of work of the craftsperson, they can alling their (rhythmically moving) bodies to the the reality of the labor force. We are in this together.

20161202

First test of “Sound of Work: Blacksmith vol 1” sample-pack and sound archive detailing the acoustic work environments of blacksmiths. Played live using simple Notation Circuit groovebox and tweaked using Kaoss Pad. Went for reggae, so that smokers get work. 

Visiting Samir Bhowmils dissertation: “Deep time of the Museum – The materiality of Media Infrastructures”. In short he claiming that the museum is a technological black-box, filled with smaller proprietary driven technological black-boxes (info screens, archival systems etc.): “Museum is a mediating device”. He argues that the specialisation required to maintain and advance these museum/medias is dependent on proprietary technologies, outsourced specialists and economically unethical waste management systems. I think he’s using ecology as a leaver to question the ethics of museums – Black-box specialisation is unethical, in lines of all poststructural trails of though. 

But I wonder… What is the difference between a painting (a black-box made from eco-harmful materials that becomes understandable only through a specific cultural reading) and a computer displaying texts (a black-box made from equally harmful materials which depended on temporary techno-sphere). Both artifacts require specialist. I’d argue that the computer is the lesser evil as it can be used (hacked) for some other use. A painting can be used to build a fire, but it is really poor source for energy. Samir also discusses Critical Making in the book and made a good critical argument about recent open source data-dumps executed by our national museums. He asks for openness in regards of community involvements instead of data. Openness will challenge the institutions, open source data-dumps only succeed in making the institutions appear foggy and formless. 

20161128

Visited Hybrid Matter symposium at TeaK last Thursday. Jennifer Gabrys gave a talk concerning animals as sensors. She referenced projects that had embedded animals with sensory technologies to collect data on weather conditions, migration routes etc. The approach is of interest for our Trans-Horse project. We’ve investigated the possibility to set the horse’s views and environmental requirements as a premise of urban planning in hopes of crafting more environmentally engaged and versatile environments. Gabrys approach was critical and she argued the majority of animal aided data is used to confirm human perceptions. She is currently working in a project called citizensense.net. Her talk gave me the idea to use the horse care-journals of the Mounted police of Helsinki as data to study city development!

Steen Rasmussen gave an interesting talk about BINC economics (bio-, info-, nano- and cogno.). His talk was a useful reminder of the historical importance of the middle class: The empowered, wealthy and democratic middle class of the last century was a unique historical glitch and automation of labor is it’s biggest threat. He was optimistic about 3d printing and other “new” manufacturing technologies and urged the audience to engage with new technologies open mindedly. Unfortunately many new technologies categorically renunciate agency of the makers. This renunciation is embedded in modern worldviews – Factories and 3d printers are equally bad! There are no new technologies.. New tools fuel the same old colonization. After the symposiums I came across the concept of Critical Making which I’ll have to study more. Critical Making seems to fit many Ore.e Refineries projects neatly.

On Friday I joined a dinner organized by the Union for Rural Culture and Education. The dinner completed my involvement with the Grey Cube Gallery project. I was seated next to Päivi and sound artist Petri Kuljuntausta. Kuljuntausta was kind enough to share field recording techniques and motivated me to continue with sonic experimentations. We talked about the Ihme audio-guide project I completed last spring and he had some ideas on whom to contact concerning the future of the project. I had to leave the dinner early as I rushed to Turku. On the buss I read some of Kuljuntaustas texts on sound art. He has used a KaossPad in his live setup.

In Turku I met with Jesse and we made 232 separate machine/tool sounds and two binaural recording at his smithy (The binaural equipment is on loan from Circus Maximus). The recording went as planned and we worked on site for eight hours. The majority of the sounds are high pitched and we’ll possibly make additional recordings next year. Jesse had the idea of fitting the smithys floor with piezo microphones, so that we could hear the bottom end sounds. We’ll likely call this sample-pack “Sound of Work: Blacksmith vol.1”. I’ll demo the sounds for Jesse next weekend.

I’m meeting students from the Kankaanpää Art School online this week to discuss their upcoming graduate exhibition and art projects. Also met with Antoine Pickels concerning possible Trans-Horse engagements next year.

20161107

Jesse was excited about the idea of making field and sample recording at his smithy. We’ll make a sample-pack of pre-industrial (aka. true-post-industrial) sounds. Our aim is to sample pneumatic tools, anvils&hammers, steel forging at various temperatures, grinders, welding machines, power hammers and other tools Jesse uses as a blacksmith. We’ll possibly use binaural mics for ambient sounds and I’ll use the Tascam dr-40 with an external Sony ECM-NV1 mic for mono (and the device mics for stereo) sounds. The recordings will be a bit noisy but I don’t mind.

The pack will be called “Ore.e Refineries – Pre-industrial Sample-pack” (or something) and launched trough our website. Samples will possibly be hosted at archive.org (as a .zip) and on freesound.org. The pack will offer creatives who serve the post-scarcity economy, laboring on intangible projects at silent office sites and generic cafeterias an opportunity to manifest their moods and express their desires making music from sounds of pre-industrial labor, tools and technology.

I’ll also make an edition of 64 samples (totalling 60s of audio) which I can use with my Novation Circuit. The device received an update (v. 1.4) which makes it possible to make polyrhythmic sample patterns. Youtube user loopop also shared a way to play samples using chromatic etc. scales (using custom pattern templates) which offers fun possibilities. I’m still conflicted whether to expand my newfound interest in sounds towards analogue synths (in an effort to seek out new tones) or if I should focus on working more with samples and recordings (in an effort to understand and possibly deconstruct contemporary soundscapes).

Minimal-Modular (Like Erica synth Pico line) vs. Roland SX 404sx.

20161018

Learning about choreographer Jérôme Bel after Pilvi’s recommendation (The Kettlebell Choreography I guided for her at NPTurku entitled me to call myself a choreographer, so I have to learn the ropes). “Step-by-step guide to dance: JB” on the Guardian gives an overview of his practice and in a lecture “About ‘The Last Performance’ (1998) 1-4” the artist discusses the development of his “The Last Performance” piece from 1998 in detail. The themes of sampling and recycling as a basis of artistic production (or un-production) are appealing and I comply with his thinking. In an other short video were he talks about his practice “Rehearsal Matters interview with JB” he comes off as a rigid and flamboyant artist persona. I don’t agree with his definition of improvisation being “an attempt to free oneself”. I’ve always seen improvisation as a tool to illustrate the confinements we forced to comply with: Improvisation is about articulating confinements and vocalising the ideological positions sites/situations encapsulate us into. Trough improvisation we can see the boundaries of the working body. His rigid view on improvisation is in alignment with conservative and craft orientated mindsets of orthodox-artist, who search for a canonised and mystical order trough styles and beats (I’ve come to understand that Hip-Hop is a conservative cultural movement. Sampling is a form of prayer).

Copying what others have done can be the most effective way to make something new. #ॐ

20160908

Youtube lecture of Herbie Hancock presenting the Fairlight CMI. Midway the video (7:45min) he says that new instruments are tools when they allow users to choose if they are used for good or bad. This is a really interesting way to describe what a tool is: It is something we can effect to world with, which does not limit how (and by whom) it is used! He compares the Fairlight CMI to an axe which can be used to build a house or slaughter a neighbor. The power of samples in a sentence.

20160517

If a band consists of only multi-instrumentalists it’s not a band. #ॐ

Found some tools and a tutorial (from 2013) to advance the idea of using Novation Circuit groovebox as an external controller for FCPX or Premiere Pro.

All sampling is a form of cultural appropriation. The technology used in sampling superimpose a worldview that everything can extracted from their context, scrambled and reused. Sampling has nothing to do with samplers – Sampling is an approach to others. It’s musical roots are in notation which was a technology used to appropriate gregorian chants and folk art, all for the service of centralized regimes.

Samplers serve the modernist status quo. They are anti-taboo and make a mockery of religious and cultural orders which maintain their ethos by disallowing remixing. Samplers serve capitalism. They flourishes on the idea that nothing is too holy to be chopped to bits and resold in new packages. Samplers are totalitarian, you are either all in, share everything or get marginalised.

The remix-culture does not give a voice to the oppressed – It is extracting voices and compiling them to samplepacks and styles that can be easily analysed and controlled. The profits gather to an elite which benefits from having access to a quantized, processed and simplified data.

The open source, copyleft movement only benefits silicon valley. Besides the big companies, only open source evangelists make profits from open source. Majority of the people making profits speak English. Technology is not shared for free, it is distributed to subjectivity users. Richard Stallman drafted his manifestos in the same universities that innovated the musical sampler technologies.

Samplers serve a conservative cultural movement which stores, categorizes, appreciated and remixed iconic sound. Samples are a mockery of nature because they cling on the past. The museum is the ultimate sampler.

20160514

As a celebration of the Grey Cube Gallery documentation gig and as a result of a manic WSG building phase I bought a Novation Circuit (A B-stock unit from Thomann). I feel a bit out of control. This month I’ve used a sum equal to a month’s housing maintenance charges (which is high where we live) and kindergarten payments into synths/electronics. In total I’m 800€ into music and I now have a electro-acoustic music production studio. I don’t expect this hobby to pay it’s self back (Even though Pietari confirmed that we’ll get a fee for the gig we made for Kontula Electronic festival).

Wonder if I could use the Circuit as a midi controller inside FCPX or Adobe Premiere? If it would speed productions up I could justify the spendings. I’m such a novice to music production that I doubt I can use my own music in the upcoming videos. The Circuit has a limited sampler feature which I plan to use in future lecture-performances (Together with the Kaoss Pad 3) and we’ve had the idea to make an EP with Ore.e Refineries. But we haven’t practiced enough or composed any songs yet (I do have some nifty ideas for that up my sleeve).

Revolutionary, Post-Revolutionary but Re-Revolutionary.

As a terrorist I’d pose as a performance artist, lure the decadent audience close to me and ignite the bombs.

Visiting Là-bas “Kuilu: Sirpaleet syvyydessä” performance festival at Kaapeli by recommendations and invitation of Janne Rahkila. A great evening! Even had to write down names of some performers in order to follow them on online. In particular I enjoyed Siiri Nevalaises presentation, Sara Kovamäkis trash-piece and Peter Rosviks pure comedy without joke. These self-confident performers re-calibrated me to the art and I feel assured that there is sense in delay, repetition and the audacious claim that artists can see the world as it truly is.

20160405

Post Ihme-days. Waiting for my talks to come online on their youtube and depressurising from the busy weekend by watching Tron Legacy and playing techno. The KP3 can only play 7s long samples which makes it limited as a sampler.

We got organized with Antti, Pietari ja Timo and formed a study circle where we’ll read “In the Flow” by Boris Groys. I’ve read the intro and first chapter (and build by talk for Ihme-days on that basis).

Called artist Jorma Puranen and interviewed him about a vinyl cover he made 1974. The cover shows the Record Singers group. He was excited to talk about his involvement and confirmed majority of details I had heard about the cover. The way he spoke was inspirational and I also learned how he got to study in Pentti Kaskipuros class. Kaskipuro is a key figure in the post-postmodern movement in Finland. Self-educated but traditional, crafty but spiritual. I had the pleasure to meet him a couple of times.