20200826

Pasila district bicycle-routes are under development thanks to a spree of tweets by bicycle activists. In the aftermath of the station rebuild (a process which I don’t understand) a “penalty-lap” glitch in the bicycle route design came to light. It is a silly glitch, a monument to the top-down ethos of Helsinki planning. Cyclist who could previously speed along a straight and safe line following the train tracks were forced to take two hard turns on a hilltop below the station. A campaign started immediately after the route was reopened and heated complaints on the #penaltylap #sakkokierros were send directly to Helsinki City officials. Officials responded flamboyantly by announcing the development of a temporary cycling bridge which would restore the old straight lane.

This is the first time I’ve seen tweets develop infrastructure and it feels that the process was guided by the voter-market-logic. The bridge is a monument for social media influencer culture: The Influencer Bridge. As the penalty-lap situation is solved, the speed of the cyclists will now interface with the pace of pedestrians who are departing the Pasila station towards east, students of the Haaga-Helia school and visitors of the Helsinki fair center. The direct lane will benefit riders who are passing Pasila outside of rush hours.

Maybe a more sustainable option would have been to redesign the route leading to the Saparonpolku track underneath path (the tunnel facing the Haaga-Helia) so that cyclist approaching it from the north could reach it easily and pass the Pasila station underneath it (skipping the Ratapihantie hill altogether).

Build six AllFlesh Landscape clones using Neutrik jacks and 1mm fiberglass PCBs. Ultra durable and lovable! Using them to trigger samples from the Disting Mk4 and for touch control over filter parameters. Trying to workout the kinks of my Water Lab for NPTurku. I’ve wired up a side-chain style compressor to adjust the A-119 preamp output. The system has a weird volume drop issue which I’m struggling to solve. The performance planning is progressing steadily. I wish I had two more weeks to reorientate from a recent teaching gig and the workload from before. A speedy development phase is bad for building confidence on intuition as a creative resource.

20200806

A short documentary Serge Tcherepnine 6 23 2020, where the inventor/composer recalls learning music from his father trough “osmosis”. Tcherepnine describes a music composition exercise where he broke a score into small segments (which he calls “patterns”) and rearranged the pieces as a new collage. I recognize this as a technique for poetry popularized by the surrealists and its really interesting that patching modular synths can be approached from this angle.

Acquired a Doepfer A-119 module in hopes of getting more detailed sounds from sparking waters. Assembled a 16n faderbank, everything seems to work well and the SMT assembly (0603 size) was fast.  It felt faster then working with trough-hole components and the ALPS potentiometers feel sturdy. Still waiting for slider caps. Opensource hardware is great! I’ll need to make a Made a TRS adapter thing to toggle Disting mk4 settings with it but selecting algorithms is still really unintuitive.

20191025

Visited Monstera by Essi Kausalainen at Mad House. I liked the performance and particularly enjoyed a minimalistic stepping dance the performers executed towards the end of the show. It felt like a simplified version of cicapo or some other court dance. Perhaps something enjoyed by Carl Linnaeus in the ballrooms of his era. Linnaeus’ work in starting the modern system of naming organisms had inspired the performance and he was heavily present in a séance-like segment before the dance. In a talk before the show Kausalainen pondered if the act of naming a thing could be read as an attempt to show affection towards it. The step-dance also reminded me of compulsory or involuntary movements people perform when idling (while waiting for a bus etc). The dance informed me of a vegetative movement or motion, which is possibly intrinsic to all living things. The practice of the performers felt like an amplification of this auto-movement and when performed collectively by the group, it felt like a method of building solidarity trough the lowest common nominator (which for me is idling).

Etched and build a Bastl Skis Expander 1u and assembled a Lite2Sound PX unit by Rare Waves. I want to send audio across space using leds and laser beams. Tested it yesterday sending audio form my Disting Mk4 using a bipolar led thing I build and it works well. I’m looking for a red laser which I can use to draw on material surfaces, so that the Lite2Sound converts the shapes of the surface to sound (much like a vinyl needle). I want to hear textures. I used a fee from a wedding gig (manufactured mineral waters, read poetry and served as a bartender) to acquire a spring tank (Accutronics 9EB2C1B) and I’m making made a 1u expanded for the Spring Reverb mkII.

What does sending audio in a laser beam trough parkling water, spatialized by a spring reverb (which feedback agitates the water) sound like? What will the surface of a slab of wood sound like when played like a vinyl? Do grooves of bark sound what they feel like?

20190829

I’m preparing for a month lon trip to Russia. The Alkovi “In Various Stages of Ruins” -group includes (2018-19): Elina Vainio, Matti Kunttu, Iona Rosin and Katja Kalinainen. The project is organized by Arttu Merimaa & Miina Hujala. Other artists from Finland will also join in on different segments of the trip and their works will be presented in screenings / exhibitions on the way. The train from Helsinki leaves 2.9. I’ll give a presentation on mineral waters at Fabrika (Moscow) on 4.9 and later in Vladivostok. During the trip we’ll visit Ekaterinburg for the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art and Novosibirsk. I won’t have access to the internet on the train but I plan to write posts, which I’ll publish en masse once I get to a wifi.

The performances I’ll present illustrate how mineral waters are formed as rain passes through the soil and how different waters affect our bodies. The characteristics of different waters will be explored using electronic gadgets, anecdotes and by preparing a batch of mineral water for consumption. I’ve build a eurorack module for the occasion. It is a Simple EQ / Baxandall EQ module, which I’ve made as a trough hole unit and modified by adding switches and female pin headers, so that I can swap capacitors used in the original circuit.

I’ve build capacitors which use mineral water as the conductive material and plastic balloons as the non-conducting substance (dielectric). The capacitors have different architectures and shapes: A component which is made from a balloon (filled with 10ml water) inside a balloon (filled with 10ml water), shows as a ~3000pf capacitor. A component which is constructed from a balloon (filled with 10ml water and 10g copper) and a jar (with 20ml water), shows as a 12nf capacitor if its charged with a 9v battery for 10 sek. A component which has two spiraling compartments, shows as a 40pf cap. etc. Measurements vary and I guess the capacitance changes over time as the electrolytes in the salty water run out.

The EQ’s treble setting shows a notable difference when a capacitor is swapped. Unfortunately the change in the nature of audio passed trough the circuit is non-spectacular (my water capacitors behave as normal capacitors). But it is intriguing to use water as an electronic component! I’ve also build a nifty eurorack case for the trip (I’ll share the design later). The 84hp skiff has laser-engraved Byzantine ornaments and maps form our groups previous trips to Russia. The inside of the case lid shows module schematics (for debugging) and a manual for the Expert Sleepers Disting MK4 unit. The case also has pictures from different water based parasites a illustrations. I’ll laser cut the panels for the module tomorrow. The panels also have inserts for the 4,45mm jars I use for the water caps.

20190531

Successfully build a Music Thing Modular Spring reverb mk2 and a Kassutronic ASR Envelope (which also loops, so now I have an additional LFO too!). I don’t have a frontpanel for the envelope, I’ll have to figure something out. Even tough it’s a really simple module, it has been my most complicated build so far as I had to source all the parts (some had very specific measure specifications) and trust my judgment in the assembly. Powered it for testing using a power supply I build earlier. Feeling confident in my diy.

Traded my Drumbrute to a Expert Sleepers Disting mk4 (the trade was balanced monetarily). Disting has a steep learning curve. Got some multisample Mellotrone running using the the J-6 algorithm. Compiled a samplepack for it (cello, choir, flute). Seems that my departure from sample-life was short lived.