20210308

Bought a beat down Lauchpad Mini mk1 for cheap and attempted to fix its failed USB micro port. Got some great tips from William Bailes but didn’t get the device working and ended up buying an other lp-mini-mk1 for not so cheep. Enforced it’s USB port with epoxy. I’m trying to get going with Norns using Midigrid. Got Beets and awake running well. Hoping to get into Got glut running using 64 patch and grandchild too. Also found a NT1-A for a steal. Set up for upcoming sound recording stuff. p3rm46r4ff171 preparations are taking the most of my time and I’m scheduled to travel to Pori on Friday. Packing camera gear and tools. The sculpturesque Kettlebell workouts (for strengthening grip and core strength for rock carving) feel functional.

Lost a small teaching gig, lost an election vote counting gig (elections were moved to a later date), fearing I’ll lose my big teaching gig for this spring. Hoping not to loose two separate podcast gig and two performances which are planned. Applying for gardening jobs at cemeteries and the city. Also looking for work at Posti. Waiting for my Wolt contract to be validated.

20210107

Suomalaisen kodin likaiset paikat : hygienia ja modernin asunnon muotoutuminen [The dirty spaces of Finnish homes: Hygiene and the formulation of the modern living habitat] (1998) Kirsi Saarikangas. A thorough analysis of how the current design aesthetics of Finnish homes have been formulated. Saarikangas argues that discussions on “domestic hygiene” (the spatial sergrigation of genders, placement of visitors and the emergence of the kitchen as an all white laboratory with tiled, easy to clean surfaces etc.) paved way for the broder acceptance of “racial hygiene” in Finland. In her view this is evident in architectural Functionalism, which she identifies as a (borderline) post-traumatic stress reaction to rot and decay, which people had witnesses during the wars. More on the PTSD-architecture-approach in Chatting with Architect and Neuroscientist Ann Sussman about Buildings, Streets, and Cities (2020) Kunstler.

Saarikangas builds a case that architecture and interior design serve as “tools for organizing domestic life”. The ways that spaces get divided, regulate how habitats meet, what they are allowed to see and what kinds of assemblies they can form. Citing Foucault on biopower she argues that modern architecture is about organizing and controlling bodies and to enforce “healthy” life-styles. An interesting detail is that natural light became linked with hygiene: Light baths were recommended as a remedy (“Where the sun does not shine, the doctor will come”) and it made dirt visible. Citing Julia Kristevas notes of dirt, she broadens this approach to city-planning, which is largely concerned with enforcing distances between citizens and things which are deemed unhygienic (such as animals).

Miten Saanasta tuli pyhä? Erilaisten rinnakkaisten Saana diskurssien tarkastelua [How did Saana become a sacred mountain? An analysis of parallel discourses connected with Saana.] (2019) Taarna Valtonen. A revealing analysis of discussions which emerged after a Finnish, nationalistically geared artwork was presented at the Saana mountain, which is located in the Sápmi. Valtonen argues that an emerging “transnational indigenous folk discourse” is spearheading idealistic views which link ecologically mindful practices and the appreciation of the sacredness of nature to indigenous worldviews. She argues that on occasion these generalized standpoints lead opinion forming processes more then the actions and arguments of people who inhabit particular sites and engage in particular practices.

I’ve been setting up my studio in the civil defense shelter. Currently attempting to build a telephone line between the shelter and our flat. Use old phones as an intercom article on ePanorama (Tomi Engdahl, undated 1996?) offers good hints and schematics. Sound works great using a 9v power supply and a 220Ω resistor (~25mA flows) but I haven’t gotten the ringers on the phones to work. I attached a piezo buzzer to the 3 & 5 terminals of the first unit (I’m working with Ericsson Dialog phones from the 70ties) which the schematics (found inside the phone case) designate as “Additional Ringer” inserts and an other piezo to 2 & 5 terminals of the second unit. This works well for one end but the piezo sound on the other end is very low. Really frustrating work.

Making room for future work with mini-FM transmitter stuff (Tetsuo Kogawa). Online vendors from China offer really cheep mini-FM transmitters and I’ve ordered a few to test the concept. Interestingly there are many units which offer I2C support (or serial command) which hints opportunities for developing Norns or other monome-world programmable FM receiver/transmitter modules. I should document the process so far and add inspirational entries to Modulargrid. Building a transmitter and a receiver on the same board seems very challenging. I think the variable capacitors which set the transmission/receiving FM channel affect each other.

20201117

Enjoying the llllllll forum Orca thread. At first glance the chronological, borderline endless stretch of text appears wastefully organized. Developer notes, memes, old resolved bug reports, feature requests and snippets of code are shared in the same page along with notes on gig venues across the globe. The non-scripting related posts make the thread enjoyable and provide a low-key entrypoint to the Orca/llllllll scene. After reading for a while the thread starts to feel like a space and sets a mood for learning. I’m inadvertently introduced to the history of the program (different development phases), the person who programs it, people who use it and niches of their behavior. As I’m working trough the body of the text to gain elementary skills for working in the Orca environment, I’m simultaneously learning to identity the stylistic quirks of frequent contributors and exposed to the sounds they make.

For learning a new skill I’m relying on some kind of unresolved narrative: Relations I form with abstract usernames and the script fragments they paste to a thread. This being ultimately a textual experience, I notice that I’m involved in a world building process. I’m copying someones script to form an auditive creation only I hear. Working on Norns I use Orca to trigger samples, so the copied scripts produce different sounds to the examples contributors have posted. But the actual sounds are not important for learning. What I’m looking for is the emergence of the same script behavior and patterns of noises they produce. Our patches are similar, they obey the same rules and as I read the thread, and meticulously transcribe the coded text snippets to my screen, we —different users— play and build pattern-islands into the same universe. Below is an example of user neauoire’s condensing of an Allieway_Audio Linear Feedback Shift Register (LFSR) script.

05O..05OS
aV...bV..
..2Kab...
...F.....
..F*.....
7L.......
........0

The anecdotes authors share on the thread (videos on instagram) serve as anchor points for remembering features of the Orca operators. Some notes are autobiographical, such as documentations of live gigs. The patterns I draft on my screen remind me of the anecdotes and link my learning progress to theirs. This reminds me of the endless library Jorge Borges drafted. The abstract script snippets Orca users use for communicating a vibe, are nonsensical literary creations which require a complicated machine to transcribe (which operates on machine code). The feel of the endless library is well described in a recent video The Shape of Infinity (2020) by Jacob Geller.

It is particularly interesting that, in the process of copying fragments of Orca script, the sounds different creators produce from it are different but they appear in the same patterns. They share a structure but produce wildly different musical outcomes.

I don’t think this is the same conundrum as the relationship which musical notations have to the sounds musicians produce from their instruments. When I observe how a script plays a sound, I’m not hearing how a someone interprets notations or how their instrument reacts to the their movement. The complexity of the code can affect the sound source (in my case samples) to such an extent that the potential musicality of a pattern is more a result of the script then the timbres of the sound source. Also, our instruments are identical.

Its the same as with blackmidi stuff, where we are not listening to sounds or melodies, we are listening to complexity and forming opinions on the experience by comparing different performances of complexity. Eventually the complexity will cause glitches, which can make the inner conjures of the computer audible. I’ve heard them appear during a live coding performance by Viktor Toikkanen when his computer was pushed to memory overload territory. The machine cried glitches which felt like grains pushing trough the code.

Edit: In a recent thread on llllllll xmacex investigates peoples interest in sharing Norns parameter or PSET files

Sonically speaking norns PSETs are the specifics of an instrument and specify it’s tonal character. Philosophically speaking norns PSETs are artefacts and representations produced in the intimate interaction of the agential subjecthood of a norns user and the removed presence of the script designer and creator.

20201115

Build a Norns shield and got it working on a Raspi3 using an old SD card. Bought the PCB from Pursherman (12,26€, mail inc.) and the components from Digikey (70,74 € / +39,08€ import duties). All together 122,08€ for an entry to the Monome world. With import fees the cost for an official kit might have risen to ~280€ (+55€ for a Raspi). The build went smoothly. Previous SMD builds paved the way and I got all the components soldered within five hours. Made a case from scrap plywood by adapting these drawings. There is still some sanding to do and I have to source caps for the d-shaft potentiometers and the buttons. I’m occasional some trouble running Orca and a few other scripts. I believe that a faster SD card will fix the issues but I might eventually opt to get a Raspi3+ (the Raspi3 I’m using is from the Mazizone build which I’d like to keep running anyway). By enlarge everything seems to work well (including updates, running 201113).

For the simple synths (using a keystep for midi) and effects alone a good investment. I’m hoping to learn scripting and if everything feels good might work myself towards a crow. Norns feels feature packed and of course this being something I assembled, it will take time to develop a feel on what is a feature and what is a bug/build issue. Feels stable and powerful so far.