Successfully build a Thomas Henry Trigger-to-Switch unit (fitted it into an Altoids tin). It accepts a 5ms trigger input to control an isolated switch (which can be used to sync Boss pedals that have a tap-tempo functionality). Input trigger should be +5V (but also seems to work with 3,3V). Also added a led to the other relay “port”, so that I can monitor the incoming trigger cycles. The unit is “on” when there is no current – I might have to rework the circuit to reverse this but I’m very happy with it for now.
Noise and Capitalism (2009) ed. Mattin Anthony Iles. Extract from chapter “Noise Theory” by Csaba Toth, which offers a short history of Noise as an expression. Toth writes about Radu Malfatti’s slow and silent pieces like One man and a Fly (2015).
What version of late capitalism is contested in the rise of Noise-based musics? Noise performance, in our view, exercises a culturally coded and politically specific critique of late capitalism, and offers tools for undoing its seemingly incontestable hegemony. To be sure, Noise performance operates in the shadow of recontainment by the very commodity structures it intends to challenge. But resistance to such commodification continues to occur, and what cultural critic Russel A. Potter says about hip-hop appears to be true also for Noise music: ‘the recognition that everything is or will soon be commodified has … served as a spur, an incitement to productivity.’
Noise is pre-linguistic and pre-subjective. The noise of heavy machinery and the powerful sonic onslaught of a Macintosh PowerBook are acts that actively foreground their materiality and disrupt meaning: ‘what does this Noise mean?’ Harsh textures of sonic forces break down our identities rather than reinforce them.
The book also has an article “Woman Machines: the Future of Female Noise” by Nina Power.
There’s a scene in Dziga Vertov’s 1929 film Man with a Movie Camera which combines footage of women doing a variety of different activities: sewing, cutting film (with Elizaveta Svilova, Vertov’s wife and the film’s actual editor), counting on an abacus, joyfully making boxes, plugging connections into a telephone switchboard, packing cigarettes, typing, playing the piano, answering the phone, tapping out code, ringing a bell, applying lipstick. The cut-up footage speeds up to such a frenzy that at one point it becomes impossible to tell which activity is done for pleasure, and which for work.
Jump forward almost a century and we encounter Jessica Rylan, a woman who makes her own machines, and performs with them so that the overlap between her voice and her creations loses all sense of separation. This is certainly ‘noise’ of a sort, but of an altogether novel kind. Live, Rylan performs a combination of discomforting personal exposure (in the form of a capella songs played with unstinting directness towards the audience) and machinic communing with self-made analogue synthesisers feeding back to eternity and fusing with ethereal, unholy vocals that haunt like cut-up fairy tales told by a sadistic aunt. Whilst occasional shouts for ‘more noise, more pain!’ might be bellowed at her from the floor at Noise nights, what this desire for noise at any cost doesn’t get is how much more effective Rylan’s performance is at revealing the true power of the machine.
If the subterranean history of the relation between women, machines and noise has finally emerged overground as a new Art of Noise that seeks to destroy the opposition of the natural and the artificial, what performers like Rylan represent is an expansionist take-over of the territory. No longer will the machines dream through women, but will instead be built by them. They will be used not to mimic the impotent howl of aggression in a hostile world, but to reconfigure the very matrix of noise itself.
A Brief History of Electric Guitar Distortion (2018) Polyphonic. A good overview on how poor sound quality became perceived as rich. It’s interesting think about the link blues has with noise. Blues and jazz were considered noisy in their time but eventually they were perceived as elegant and clean. At some point the instruments were removed and we were left with just noise (amps, mixers and pedals). It’s a pity that grooves and noise were separated.
Luckily I was introduced to Clipping whos earlier work like midcity (2013) re-fuze noise with rap (it can be downloaded for free!). Songs like bullshit (2013) and their later work merge noise with grooves – Which seems like a positively disruptive development (in both ways noise->rap & rap->noise).
Ore.e Refineries is featured on brutalistwebsites.com (here is a short interview and screen grab on flickr.com). Exchanged notes on “facebook-fuelled-complicatedness of fka. brutalist website designs” (mentioned earlier) with the site maintainer Pascal Deville.
I accidentally broke the Civil Defence Crusher. Debugged the problem (it took two days) and now it works even better! The lm386 amplifier circuit is louder then before. I think I suffered hearing damage… During the fix I send a burst of raw interference noise through the circuit to my tightly sealed headphones. I feel a constant pressure on my right ear.
Race and Capitalism – Welcoming Michael Dawson to the New School (2018) Mayra Cotta. See The Race and Capitalism project. There are podcasts too (or listen to Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.).
Continue reading “20180807”
For awhile I thought that sassy artists & web designers working for sassy festivals and galleries were into brutalist, hard to use web pages because they want to challenge their audiences (See: brutalistwebsites.com ). It seemed there was a design movement which opposed the production of passive audiences. But I’ve now understood that these styles are not rebellious, they are compliant: Artists and organizations have messy web pages only because they rely on social medias. They can afford complicated, even artistic sites – Because they reach their audiences primarily through facebook events.
I’ve been thinking about style and ecology during the past weeks. I’m shocked by the amount of usable stuff I can find from the streets (clothing, electronics, tools and furniture etc.) and the amount of plastic they use in shops (orange juice is sold in solid plastic cans, which are as sturdy as flower watering pots I use in Finland ). In Finland I can imagine having an ecological impact by recycling and wearing second hand clothes. In NYC I understand that my environmentally conscious decisions do not have any impact.
In this city, ecologically steered design and arts, are reduced into mere fashion statements. Ecological orientation serves as a class signifier.
How to formulate this critical observation into a style and a movement? I currently think the most equalitarian and ecological style is to have NO-STYLE. Pickup, wear and use anything you find from the streets. When you see a person who is wearing ecobrands: Inform them that they are misguided (possibly by vomiting, like one of my favorite artists Kristofer Paetau during the artforum incident in 2005). The only sustainable way forward is to have NO-STYLE. To go forward we need to consume toxic stuff, learn plastic crafts and listen to algorithmically generated playlists on youtube. Pietari suggested the hashtag #deathhack for these efforts. More reading on class, looks and hiding your class with looks: So You Think You’ve Got Class? (2017) Charlotte Shane (Also related: Sebago docksides rant).
I’ve made a functional and novel sound pedal. The circuit is based on the Dwarfcraft Great Destroyer but I made some mistakes in the assembly, which cause the circuit to behave oddly. It doesn’t work like a bitcrusher, which the DGD is supposed to be. It self-oscillates and creates tunes which are affected by the level of the volume input and potentiometers, it also plays the radio and works like a distortion. A very interesting device (powered with a 9v battery / pedal power supply). As I understand the CD4049 (Buffered) is not grounded and I think the weird behaviour is caused by the signal & voltage working their way to the ground, through the potentiometers. It works great with drums, and creates changing melodic synth and bass lines which follow the rhythm. I added a LM386 amplifier (as an integrated circuit) to the effect to make it louder (The LM386 can also be powered independently so that it acts as a “clean” boost).
The circuit is housed in a Civil Defense V 750 (Model No. 5B) Dosimeter Model No. 5 Charger (C2-2). Serial No. 0005296. Which has been manufactured by the Industrial Electronic Hardware Corp. in New York City (Brooklyn!). The device was intended to reset radiation dosimeter values. If I understand it correctly these kinds of devices were available in fallout shelters during the cold war era in the city. This particular device was manufactured ca. 1962. I repurposed the potentiometer (10k) of the V 750 and used it controls the LM386 output. I’m currently waiting for potentiometer knobs and I’ll make a video of the device after I receive them. I call it the Civil Defence Crusher. It goes well with the Berlin Wall Distortion. Together they form the Sound of Cold War Infra custom guitar pedal series (Ore.e Ref.).
Schematics and a guide on muffwiggler.com and doepfer.de for nifty 5v gate -> S-trigger converter,
which might work on the Boss RC-30 tap tempo (and any other Boss pedal with a tap-tempo). I’m tempted to try this even tough I’m not using my RC-30 as much. Here is a better plan Slacker’s midi clock metronome PLUS tap trigger (S-trigger is not for switch toggle action!). After a furious night of internet search I learned of the Thomas Henry Trigger-to-Switch Project, which uses a 5 VDC dpdt dip relay relay to convert a +5v (5ms) into a switch toggle action. Also considering making a Panasonic/Lumix camera remote using these schematics. Bought a new cheep multimeter.