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 SMD 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.
My gig at the Malmi cemetery has ended. I got an opportunity to leave the job thanks to a Art Promotion Center covid grant. The grant enables me to complete a writing job on Performance Pedagogy, start developing the Horse & Performance course for TEAK and prepare mineral water performances for the fall (which is going to be hella busy). I got the grant for making an interesting critique of the response creative culture in Finland had on the pandemic.
I miss the work a bit, it felt honest and the crew was fun. It was exhausting to work outdoors in +30C° weather / rain and doing artsy stuff as a sidejob took its toll on family life. The pay was pretty low too, so the grant feels like winning the lottery. I’ve slept and wept for two days. Artists in Finland often complain that government artists grants are too low. Sure, they are but considering the hours and physical exhaustion of the gardening job I’d take the grant life for life.
I completed two electronics kits over the last weekends. I assembled a Dannysound Cali (California) oscillator, which is a replica of the Buchla Model 258. Wavefolding is inspiring: Instead of removing content to develop a sound, an aspect of it gets exaggerated. The unit allows wavefolding to be used to cut the volume, which works for neat lowpass filter type effects. Last weekend I assembled a Befaco Rampage, which is an “approach to an old invention: the Serge/Buchla ramp generator”. It processes sound, triggers and gates to spurt out an array of control voltages. It feels like an intelligence of sorts. I can use it as an envelope follower (Planning to process sparkling water. Edit: My preamps are not strong enough!). My current Waterlab eurorack system runs on a USB power bank.
Buchla – Electronic Music as Performance Art (2019) Under the Big Tree. A near hour long lecture on the history of the Buchla (Bemi) design company. The talk isn’t analytical, it does not excavate what it meant for Buchla to interface with a synthesizer or what motivated Buchlas dissentient and anti-government attitudes. But it offers some interesting historical details and explains the heterogeneity of his layouts (Save a click: Users don’t need to see a module to recognize it, they can identify it by feeling the knobs!).
Designing the Make Noise Erbe-Verb (2019) Tom Erbe/Soundhack (a video by mylar melodies). A very detailed history of reverbs and a thorough look on Erbes design process. He shares his insights openly and offers concrete tools for reverb design.
Heading to Buchla and Serge territory myself. Swapped my Monotribe for a Variable Slope VCF by Random*Source. I’ll have to build an inverter to help it resonate. Also got a Sense module from Bastl, to develop my mineral water audio analysis toolkit.
Visited Mental Alaska back2baSICs PARTY in Kannelmäki yesterday. Heard Viktor Toikkanen, who played a live programming gig using Tidal. This was the first time I’ve seen live programming (other then our Masku Movement sessions in ~2008) and it was great. I could identify some terms in the score (it was projected on the wall) and anticipate changes, which made the performance feel analytical. Bought a cassette from him too. Actually… There weren’t that many live coding moments. Toikkanen mainly triggered events he had programmed for the record. Some triggers pushed his computer to the limits and we could hear soundcard buffer overload crashes and glitches. I think this digi-materiality was an important part of the presentation. Glitches felt like real grains pushing trough the code. It echoed hardcore rock moments when artists push their amps to max.
The Internet’s Mid-Life Crisis (2019) The Agenda. Cory Doctorow argues that the internet is not broken, everything bad we see happening to it, such as facebook etc., corporate control of the infra and espionage of citizen, is a result or symptom of capitalism. After some weighing all guests seem to agree that some kind of legislation of the internet is needed to move forward (I think this would make the internet a part of the democratic domain).
Our exhibition opening at Oksasenkatu 11 was nice. A lot more people then I expected and mainly new faces. I’ll be on site to meet visitors for some glögi, sound lounging and fun. Dates: 18.-20.12 (12-18:00), 27.12 (12-18:00). Crossroads launch & seminar at SOLU went well too. Had the pleasure to meet Leena Valkeapää, she felt like a wild thinker. There were around 20 people at the event, which was just enough the make the space to feel crowded (at times). I got a lot of nice compliments on my talk on Earth Art Conservation.
Subscribed to Kusksu a mailing list for sound-art and spotted “Radigue” at Space for Free Arts curated by MIF. The event was a part of Äänen Lumo and offered performances by Clara de Asís & Lauri Hyvarinen, Enrico Malatesta and Thomas Ankersmit. Maletesta played Occam XXVI a composition by Éliane Radigue, which uses two bowed cymbals and a frame drum. The bow agitated the cymbals, forming drones and their resonation transferred between the plates over air. Occasionally Malatesta hover a drum membrane over the cymbals to pickup and amplify low tones. He used sound to play sound over air!
Ankersmit performed “Perceptual Geography” (sample on soundcloud). It was really rewarding to see a serge modular live on stage. There were moments when it felt like he was playing every conceivable sound the same time. He was very loud and the performance was punctual. The execution of the piece felt like an academic study of noise. We were presented with tonal structures and spaces. They appeared abruptly, evolved and then suddenly crashed. It felt like the tones referred to nature. I couldn’t identify what I was listening but I could imagine hearing similar tones in a forest. I only recognize occasional square wave pulses in the beginning and the end of the set.
The piece is based on Ankersmits research on sound artist Maryanne Amacher. Particularly on her work concerning psychoacoustic phenomena and sound spatialization (recently popularized on youtube). During the gig I had the urge to tilt my head, so that I could avoid pain caused by a harsh drone tone. As I turned my head I felt a melody ringing inside my skull. I noticed other audience members bobbing their heads too. The experience was similar to the tingling which high resonance filter sweeps can cause. But this experience was more articulated, like an overtone melody which was forcefully positioned inside my head. The experience was a result of sound spatialization and this was the first time I hear it. I didn’t know it is possible to manipulate the spatial perception of the audience to this extent, let alone intentionally as a part of a performance!