Martin Howse gives a thorough introduction (2022) to their line of eurorack modules. I like how simple the functions are: Noise is made from a laser passing smoke, picked up by a light sensitive sensor and amplified. Simplicity makes it easier to digest the conceptual frameworks the modules spring from. And the conceptual frameworks are made accessible using simple narrative hooks. But Howse’s narrative devices are whimsical. They offer anecdotal snippets to research, which spark curiosity – But simultaneously establish an authoritative tone. Loose references to research build up the appearance of an gray-intellectual-figure, a sense that there is deep and firm knowledge underlining the whims. I don’t like this tone because it feels authoritative and non-negotiable, like a ghost.
There was an interesting audience question (1:02:37) whether Howse’s modules make up a system, narrative or an ecosystem. The question is impossible to answer and nice to ponder. Touching and effecting code and electronics with naked birth-flesh sounds complicated and inspiring but thinking about it… It is what we are all doing all the time with our devices. They have also attempted to transcribe fiction into functional code, which feels like a great approach to teach coding! Orca could easily be made into a world building exercise or possibly even a simulation.
I came acquainted to the gray-intellectual-ghost trough the placement of an introduction text of the Skills of Economy exhibition at SIC in 2014. Jussi wanted to attach a curatorial statement text on a huge sheet of metal, left leaning casually against the gallery door. I don’t think anyone read the text because it was placed like a leftover – But the text was critical for establishing a sense of certainty and intent to the array of artistic nicnacs we as Ore.e Ref. supplied.
An easy to read summer horror story and the earth drank deep (2022) Ntsika Kota. I like the tone of the text. Easily written stuff enables imaginative reading.
I should built a Mixor Image by modular-maculata.
I’m into manuals right now. It’s a new thing for me. I’m reading long technical manuals which guide how to use a tool or technology. I recently bought a Casio ProTrek PRG-40 watch from the year 2000. I bought it for cheep, a corner of the watch face has chipped of but it works. It’s a survivalist watch with a compass and an altimeter. Exactly something I wanted in my teens – It’s currently affordable and looks like a grotesque sculpture. The manual for the watch module qw2271 is incomprehensible. Being stressed by work I’ve spend my nights studying it.
I imagine reading a manual is like reading a bible. There are meta-narratives (altimeter operation guide is a promise of future adventures), key combos which I have to recite to remember and the entire manual opus, echoes a deterministic world-view: Read this and you will learn it, then you will know it – There is an order to life, sleep easy. This particular watch is so complicated to use that operating it makes me feel like an indoctrinated member of a clergy. I’m of the manual readers -clan.
Bibliographic Sound Track by Tan Lin speaks to me trough the manual and data management aesthetics. I relax when stuff is listed and written not to be read. Reading becomes a “syncopated or rhythmic process of absorbing information” and I really need to absorb information which I don’t need to use (in any fashion) to soothe the hurt timetabling and personal management causes.
… reading as in not reading one word after an other but as in navigating an architectural space … 15 years ago we would have never mistaken a owners manual with literature, but today. It’s easy …
I pre-ordered a M8 tracker/sampler/synth and was one of the lucky
300 800, who managed to source a unit from the first production batch. A large part of the appeal of the device is nostalgia (like with this 80ties dream watch) but also the complicated manual (draft). The operations look esoteric. Numbers are counted in hexadecimal and the sequencer commands resemble code. Navigation is based on key-combos. The developer also hosts meet-ups were beta-users share tricks on how to use it and everyone (developer included) seem surprised by the features of the device. There are behavioural patterns lurking in the design, which users are revealing trough meticulous study. The meet-ups are super long and I’ve watched a few… It’s like a manual as an audiobook and following them helps me to forget work.
Link talks about grey literature, stuff which is not intended to be read indefinitely. It is situated, temporal and in the case of the old Casio watch, reading is a process of engaging with something which is obsolete (necro-literature?). In the case of m8 the reading is speculative, the thing which the manuals describe is still in development. It does not exist. Reading it feels liberating or unburdening. In 2018 I discovered instrument demo-videos and that they feel liberating to listen. Here is a playlist of instrument tutorials I listen to as music.
I want a tool for sequencing songs. I’m stuck because I can only produce riffs. Orca/Norns has been great for this and jams even, but using it for songs would require an epiphany on how to work it (for me). The sampler Orca uses is feature rich but the synth implementation is not as advanced as with m8 (I don’t have much midi gear and the midi CC implementation of Orca is still weird too). I’ve never made songs in software… I’ve made riffs and sang over them but I feel stuck (and I can’t even sing out loud at ease in my cellar studio). The Little Sound DJ workflow (which m8 is an iteration of) supports Ableton Live style track-playback, which I think might be helpful. It also has a good midi support and I might be able to program a setup with automated KP3 effects for vocals. Also thinking about midi-to-cv stuff for future prosperity. Okko has been working with trackers and perhaps the m8 will find use!
Upholstered a Håg kneeling chair which I bought for cheep. Might have to replace the gas spring and wheels too but it works for now. Found a good supplier for strong plastic foam (LIMI P80) in Kerava and sourced leftover canvas from an upcycling bin. The foam is sturdy but soft, intended for upholstery of industrial machine seats. Felt weird to buy new plastic foam to this world but SURREAL SALAD (2020) by Heini Aho comforted me. Her video is perfect for coping with toxic-futures. I think I used too much glue. There is a faint intoxicating smell in the room I work but I’m using it for my benefit (working on grant-applications and preparing a teaching gig for Aalto).
Spotted a small clip about the expo2001∞ fanzine/exhibition by Daniel Kupferberg online. We contributed an angry Trans-Horse text to it. The zine-format is inspirational. We will be hopefully produce a zine during the upcomming Horse & Build Environment course too.
Dreaming of a Ginko Synthese Sampleslicer II. Their LFOv2 is a part of nearly every patch I make. Still experiencing inconsistencies with the Norns Orca ! cc outputs.
What could a localized environmental angst in Helsinki be?
- A slight fear that the warm winters are really a result of global warming.
- A slight fear that my neighbors don’t appreciate my policy to hide my banana peels into the bushes I pass (I hide them under a firm belief that they will decay faster in the bushes then the city waste facilities).
- A slight fear that the increased amounts of ticks is a result of global warming.
- A slight fear that I should move to the countryside.
- A morbid fear that I kill people by crouching to collect a jar of tuna from the lowest shelves of the local convince store.
- A troubling sensation that the exhaustion I feel cycling in knee high snow (more paddling then cycling) is vane as my personal efforts in the fringe have less of an effect in combating climate exchange, then the exhibitions my NYC peers organize to “bring attention” to the cause.
Studying Orca but progressing slowly. Drums are semi-intuitive to produce: Simple beats are achieved by setting different divisions of frame D[elays]. Fills/alterations may be produced by creating using two C[lock] with different modulo-settings and conditioning their feeds with an [i]F’s (The example is from an Allieway Audio tutorial). CVpal works well for interfacing with my modular. Using channel 10 (“a” in Orca) I can send triggers trough the outputs with the following snippets.
:a1p # Out 1 #
:a01 # Out 2 #
:a02 # Gate #
:a1v # Gate #
Pretty soon I want to write melodies which evolve following a compact snippet of text. I also want to experiment with chords.
Disabled the Auto WiFi hotspot script on my Raspi following the Script Removal guide. Using the Raspi as my studio terminal… Yeah, I build a studio over the last two weeks. It’s a small room (240 x 230 x 235). Originally a compartment of the mandatory civil defence emergency evacuation structures of our apartment building. It’s below ground level but has a cute window trough which I can see the grass. In the summer I can turn this space into a camera obscura!
I build long shelves, two tables (one for standing and the other for sitting) and a weird high work stool using a Brooks-bicycle saddle and timbre I salvaged from a nearby construction site. The tables and shelves run along the walls and are mounted straight to them (made from OBS hence channelling strong 2000-berlin vibes). I’ve used every corner of the space and even added a sitting hammock to the ceiling. I got everything ready just before I was relieved from my gig-job at Posti. Still recovering from the gig.
I haven’t used the space much yet and there is still some work to be done. I’m currently moving all my gear, tools and supplies from the closets I’ve used to stash them. Dismantled the WaterLab patch (made notes of it) and organized my modules to the two cases I’ve build. I can finally test CaliOSC with the Mutable Instruments CVpal with my Norns (running Orca). The hammock is positioned perfectly for working a keyboard/Norns and to send signals to the modular.