20160510

It’s incredible that some electronic components are so rare. We can’t reach a post-scarcity economic utopia (where we only trade services) as long as specific resistors are so hard to find. I saw a dozen of Yamaha Electone organs for sale 10€ each at a local recycling center. Each device has components inside them which cost more. I should start a component upcycling business. Some info on the Electone organ chips is available online.

Tried my best to get the WSG working again. Sanded the paint away from the case (under the potentiometers) to create a stable ground connection, added a ground wire from the “-” power lead to the case and replaced the audio jack. Results: Only sound A Osc.2 is working. Bought new components for a second unit. I’m determined to build a working noise box.

20160509

We met with the “In the Flow” reading circle last evening. Quotes to remember: “…Russian avant-garde art was not directed against the status quo, against the dominating political and economic power structures. The Russian avant-garde of the Soviet period was not critical but affirmative…” Groys on postrevolutionary art in Russia and “Only dull and impotent artists screen their work with sincerity. In art there is a need for truth, not sincerity.” by Kazimir Malevich.

I’ve wasted another day working on the Weird Sound Generator. Replaced every capacitor, added ribbon pins to the wires and resoldered them on board. Double checked the resistor values and pulled out some resistors for testing. Eventually replaced the CD40106 chip.. This returned the voice B Osc.2 but voice A Osc.2 is still missing. I had two chips to begin with and I might have damaged both. During the resoldering session I noticed that a capacitor had been missing a connection from the beginning (because the double sided circuit board I’ve etched is missing connections between sides) and I might have short circuited both chips at some point. I’ll acquire a new chip at some point but I’ll start working on the case now. Working on the board is addictive.

Contacted the Theatre Academy of Helsinki concerning our “Horse and Performance” course which is planned for next fall. They seem excited about our course and apparently students are eager to join register.

Idea: Attach a piezo mic (with a preamp) to hammer and broadcast the audio through the Raspberry Pi radio transmitter (on FM 99.0).

20160507

Swapped nearly every component on the Weird Sound Generator board but I’m still missing Osc. 2 on sounds A&B. The problem has to be with the potentiometers or wiring. After a week of intensive soldering I’m ready to settle with what I have. I’ll fix the casing next week. I’m dissatisfied even though I learned a lot about electronics and found inspirational projects like 3TrinsRGB1. I still have a board left and I’ll buy new parts for a second unit. Given that I have most of the tools (and spare potentiometers) already new parts will likely cost only 10-20€.

I could start saving for something easy to use and fun like an Novation Circuit or a Korg Electribe 2 but they feel boring. Even as this WSG working in 50% capacity it still sounds more alive then digital synths I’ve played with. Particularly the low sounds manifest raw power. During this debugging phase I’ve heard every sound imaginable from the device. Touching the wires can wield surprising and painful results. Knowing that the sounds are present in the circuit builds respect to the device.

20160505

The Weird Sound Generator is running. Got a hang of the etching process, sorted the components and soldered them on the board. Working with the potentiometers took the longest as the wire I’m using breaks easily. Next time I’ll invest in Molex connectors. At first the sound B was broken which I traced to faulty top circuit connections. After some re-soldering it worked swell for a while but now I lost osc.1 from A sound. I pretty sure this is due to the wires.

It sounds interesting.

Then I got the sound B osc. 1 working again but lost sound A osc. 2. There are some issues with the filter too. Every voice in the build has worked at some point so I guess the issues come down to solder joints. I’ll re-test them later and package the generator tomorrow.

Met with Blanca Victoria Lópezia who is visiting Helsinki in search of Nordic nuances for the upcoming Havanna Biennale. The meeting was organized by Frame Finland. She’s working for the Wilfredo Lam Contemporary Art Centre. We talked about performance art being the art of our generation. It combines theory and practice and artists have to have a relation to it (like past generations needed to form a relation to painting).

Also chatted about the relation of crafts and art and I used Ore.e Refineries as a reference. In an effort to explain our multidisciplinary group I argued that “When artists work together they generally agree on what is art and find a constructive tone for collaboration but when artists work with professionals of other fields they have explain what they are doing and have to allow deconstructive approaches to their practice”.

20160502

Failed with my Weird Sound Generator circuit etchings. Had 4 plates to try out and made 4 different kinds of mistakes. Had to acquire new parts. I’m now 120€ into DIY synths. A few more mistakes and I would’ve afforded a used synth instead. Or a controller like the Arturia Beatstep I’ve been reading about… Or a upcoming Ericasynth nano module.