20200726

Ducking effect with what I have: TTLFO Clock -> Turing Machine Clock, Pulse Out -> Divider 1&2, 1 -> Rampage IN A, OUT A -> Inverter IN, OUT (This inverts the Ramp. positive env.) -> Sense (V)IN (preamp low & DC, set “ducking amount” by toggling OFFSET and preamp), CV OUT + (This lifts the volume to desired level in VCA, which inverted Ramp. signal pulls down) -> Skis VCA CV IN (Signal IN for the drum sound to be ducked). Divider 2 -> Skis TRIGGER IN (Signal IN for the sound which moves above ducking). Other: Ramp. RISING OUTs work great for vactrol LPG controlled hihats (White noise), TTLGO OUT (with square & Ramp. controlled SHAPE) -> Floating GATE to TRIGGER -> Multicassa Trig IN works great for dynamic percussion. Short experiment with the setup.

20200716

Build a floating passive low pass gate with tone control (followed tips from here) but added 1k resistors to all inputs/outputs. Assembled my own vactrols, following a Animodule guide (I think I used a VT935G LDR and a Kingbright L-424IDT). Made a few passive floating attenuverters and passive gate to trigger plugs, following a partial schematic by Ken Stone. Might go for a Voltage combiner next. Yan Proefrock has published collection of passives. I wish I had learned of The Klangorium by Elliot Williams five years ago, build it and resolved my curiosity with electronics. It’s a Lunetta style system which seems to fit my desires.

Minua ei kiinnosta valkoinen etuoikeutesi [I don’t care about your white privileges] (2020) Sean Ricks. A great responce to the wave of reactive announcements of solidarity Finnish culture organizations published during the first waves of the Black Lives Matter movement. As Ricks points out many of the announcements are hollow because people working for these organizations are not actually willing to denounce their privileges. I would take Ricks critique even further and argue that many of the announcements are preemptive manoeuvres aimed to deflect further enquiries.

20200531

Muzak: On Functional Music and Power (1992) Simon C. Jones & Thomas G. Schumacher. A straight to the bones text on the ideology of functional music. The text offers a good overview on how Muzak is designed and how it effects people who are subjected to it. There are even some statistics on how it effects worker efficiency.

For Adorno, one of the functions of popular music was to distract workers from the monotony of increasingly rationalized and mechanized work. It treated the symptoms of alienation and subordination, alleviating boredom and fatigue but without removing their causes. Popular music was, in the end, little more than “social cement,” reinforcing existing social relations and power structures – entertainment as containment […] The stylistic regularity and harmonic simplicity of Muzak suggests a secure, private, domestic world that signifies the comfort and security of home in terms of a particular, bourgeois conception of domestic well-being. Its aim is precisely to make one “feel at home” whether in an office, factory or airplane.

I remember reading that Muzak is used in shopping-centers to make the violent experience of moving with an elevator from a level of where fur-hats are sold to the floor where butchered meat is sold more coherent. Muzak removes the post- from modern. A contemporary application of the text would be a critique of ambient-music and earphone-culture as processes were individual wellbeing is build by enforcing technologically segregated private spaces. With the emphasis on audio quality as a class signifier: Headphones which boost bass tones are deemed working class. Interestingly personalized ambient spaces are disseminated into public trough shared curated playlists.

A trajectory from Muzak, 90ties World Music, Vaporwave (which I recognize Skweee as) to Ambient would be interesting to explore. I think each genre responds to political detachement and cynicism. New march-music for the welfare state can be sought from: How to Kill a Zombie: Strategizing the End of Neoliberalism (2013) Mark Fisher.

Neoliberalism consolidated the discrediting of state socialism, establishing a vision of history in which it laid claim to the future and consigned the left to obsolescence. It captured the discontent with centralized bureacratic leftism, successfully absorbing and metabolizing the desires for freedom and autonomy that had emerged in the wake of the 60s. But – and this is a crucial point – this isn’t to say that those desires inevitably and necessarily led to the rise of neoliberalism. Rather, we can see the success of neoliberalism as a symptom of the leftist failure to adequately respond to these new desires.

Made a Manhattan style PCB for a FM transmitter. I used a LM7809 to stabilize the power input and even without an antenna the unit can cover our flat! The sound is really good and quirky. Bass tones etc. get broadcasted well and when I wave my hand over a receiver other FM broadcasts seep to the same channel. This emphasizes the pocket-like-folds the mini-FM makes to the radio space (which Kogawa’s texts underline). Interestingly when I broadcast simple waves in close proximity of a FM receiver and boost the volume of the transmission the sound feels like a wavefolder. Couldn’t get the Charles Kitchin FM receiver to work yet. It might be that the J113 is not a perfect replacement for the MPF102 or my coils are missaligned. Found a detailed tutorial on how to build the unit Radio Shack Special (2008) by braincambre500 and I’ll retry the build. Also sourced parts for The Simplest FM Receiver by Miomir Filipovic which uses two transistors and only one coil. Fitting the transmitter and received on the same PCB will be challenging as the Kogawa transmitter is so powerful. I might have to add a switch to the eurorack design to toggle the unit to work either as a transmitter or a receiver… I also think that the tuning capacitors should be lifted from the ground somehow. Cleared my workbench and I’ll try to build a working unit this summer.

ARRADIO by n³ is a CV controllable radio module, which works like I would like. Too bad the schematic isn’t available. The CV input option is something I might implement too. gnsk has build a Radio Sender radio transmitter in Eurorack format assemblage. Nice and simple. The builder is using it for feedback loops.

20200509

Designing Winterbloom’s Big Honking Button (2020) theavalkyrie. A solid rundown on how to design eurorack modules. The text is informative and teaches how to read schematics, how microcontrollers work and what goes into designing a module. The honking button seems fun but a little gimmicky. Build a simplified USB +/-12v&5v power-supply based on this discussion. Opted for the Meanwell DKM10E-12 and the palm size board I assembled offers ~ +/-420mA! I’m now sourcing parts to make my own USB A-B cable (all of the cables I had caused power drop issues). Planning piezo-amp units and dreaming of a complex ramp generator or LFO/SLEW/ENV 1.1 by Kymatica.

Some links on the site don’t work but the protocol seems usefull for haptic devices: “Buttplug is an open-source standards and software project for controlling intimate hardware, including sex toys, fucking machines, electrostim hardware, and more.”

Sourced parts for radio transmitters & receivers and learning of the strange world of radio. Wide-band WebSDR is an interesting online radio project, the purpose of which I don’t understand (for testing transmissions?). Spectres of Shortwave a 2016 film by Amanda Dawn Christie seems interesting. Also listening and reading more Tetsuo Kogawa stuff. Found two great performances of his which use radio as a medium (radioart). In Looking for the Silent Interference (2018) the artist stacks transmitters which are broadcasting on the same frequency to produce audible ripples in radio waves (I think this is what he means by “folds” in radio space, referencing Adorno). In A Simple Way of Radioart (2019) he uses a pair of transmitters and receivers to produce a feedback loop which tone is depended on how he plays the transmitter antennas. In some of his texts he talks about hands as instruments and both examples are very good examples of this: The shape of his palm sets the sound. I cannot reach him using the email on his site, I’ll have to reach out to his colleges. Here is a quote from A Radioart Manifesto (2008)

When does radio become into radioart beyond being a medium? For newspaper, for instance, paper is a medium. […] How and when paper becomes an art? It is when the material of “paper” changes itself into a different material. Whatever you write and draw on a sheet of paper, it remains a medium. Therefore such attempts create not paperart but art on the paper. And when you crumple up it, it becomes a garbage. Adorno argued that “all post-Auschwitz culture, including its urgent critiques, is garbage”.

This “garbage” (Muell) is, however, not a worthless thing but a new material of art in Adorno’s critical perspective. In my interpretation, post-modern arts (arts after the modernism) starts with Adorno’s “garbage . His argument advocated “trash art”. But considering his critiques against the electronic mass medium such as radio and television we can argue that the most post-modern material as “garbage” would be airwaves.

Thinking about how airwaves as garbage become an art, the aforesaid example of paper might help us. When a sheet of paper is crumpled, it becomes garbage and at the same time it has many folds. They damage the material as a writing/drawing paper but change this material into another. Giles Deleuze provides an interesting understanding on fold although it is in relation to Leibniz’ monadology. A labyrinth is said, etymologically, to be multiple because it contains many folds. the multiple is not only what has many parts but also what is folded in many ways. [sic]

20200429

Oh.. What a weird and wonderful night. I was exited about assembling the walky-talky modules and went on imagining of scenarios I could use them in. An idea gloomed.. What if the module would work in FM domain? I’ve been making radio experiments with my raspi (see Hammeradio) and the itch to send wireless signals is an old one. The question led me on a frantic internet search stream and eventually I run into a website I visited years ago: Polimorphous Space by Tetsuo Kogawa. I learned about the site from Diego Cruz Martinez an activist/engineer who worked for/with Radio Oaxaca. I interviewed him when I was working for M2Hz and the interview in available Finnish: Ääni intiaanikylille (2009).

Kogawas site is fascinating. There are texts and interviews dealing with the work of Félix Guattari (whom Kogawa met in 1981), manifestos and poetry, bundled with technical notes and schematics. The radio art guides he offers are thorough and the radio transmitter builds seem very robust. Here is a quote from his Micro Radio Manifesto (2006).

Today, our microscopic space is under technologically control and surveillance. Our potentially diverse, multiple nad polymorphous space is almost homogenizee into a mass. Therefore we need permanent effort to deconstruct this situation. In order to do this, to use a very low-power transmitter is worth trying. Small transmitter can be easily made by your own hands. [SIC]

This is a direct call for action and aligned with the texts he offers, this sets a clear trajectory for critical radiophonic work! The looks of his builds are wonderful. He uses an adaptation of “Manhattan style” method in his circuit construction (some notes on the style on Parasit Studio blog). The name Manhattan style reflects the street grid and urban planning of Manhattan, New York and I guess it links to the era of the Manhattan project too.

I’m now dreaming of building an eurorack unit of “the standard model” transmitter in Manhattan style. Some components are rare (2SC2001 transistor) but he also offers plans with alternative components (BC337 transistor). I imagine that in a rack the transmission would cause a lot of noise and interference but the build is conceptually firm. I think that as a module it reflects and is a call for the “responsibility of speech”. I’ve come to believe we have a responsibility to make sound, to voice opinions so that we do not collide to each other. This idea is well drafted in a boating story I heard from Topi Äikäs. In short: “If everybody is silently looking for the truth, nobody is safe!”. I could etch this story on the PCB.

After an exiting couple of hours in the world of Kogawa, I realized that the module should also include a receiver: Whats would be the point in making noise if no-one can listen to it. After some search I found this Simple FM Radio build (credited to Charles Kitchin) which is simple and runs on the same voltage as the transmitter (the unit in the photo is also build in Manhattan style). This means both builds could be powered from the same supply! I’ll have to experiment if this will cause too much interference but the idea is clear. The module could have one input for transmitting and one for receiving. With two modules, two (or more) racks can be made to work in unison.

An additional bonus in the transmitter build is that I could use DIY mineral water capacitors (which I experimented with on the Simple EQ build) for setting the transmission frequency (it needs a variable capacitor between the values of 10 to 20pf). This is perfect because when working on the walky-talkies I felt horrible remorse for not continuing to develop/build modules I’m planning to use in upcoming mineral water performances. Suddenly a side quest to radio transmission domain proofs meaningful and everything makes sense for a while.