scnvim on rpi4

I bought the first ever pi back in 2012. I thought that maybe I could get SuperCollider running on it. I could not. Two things:

• Back in 2012 the hardware was not actually up to snuff.
• Back in them days I had no idea how to do that.

Fast forward to 2020 and the hardware is now at a place where it can do some real audio work. Also, I’ve made some new friends that have taught me a whole lot about configuring computers, so, I am at a better place for this task now.

I used Mads Kjeldgaard’s excellent Notes for setting up a Raspberry Pi 4 for audio work.

Also I had great support from Niklas Adam and David Granström.

40 percent ortho is the bees knees

It took a while but I think I have something I can use now. It is so, so cute. All the keys are lined up neat and I am getting better at remembering where things are in the different layers. It’s a fun kind of challenge. I am nowhere near actual real touch typing but certain things are getting done here and there without me looking at the keys. I use it at home now, like maybe how someone might do some crossword puzzles as a way of getting some cerebral exercise. I doubt I’ll ever use it at a gig. Workshop, maybe yes, I think so. I’m using cherry red switches with o-rings, so the typing is not extremely loud, but for sure louder than I would want to have at a gig. I mean if it was done in a very obviously intentional way, then you know, maybe. Something like two contact microphones, hard panned left and right in a huge PA [chuckles], that might could work. I mean there’d have to be a whole lot of something else going on also.

[undisclosed location]

I am now installed at [undisclosed location]. The space is amazing. As I write this I am sat at my new desk. I found out yesterday, from meeting an obviously crazy, but very nice neighbour in our apartment house (we are fortunate enough to be able to rent) garbageRoom freeShop that the type of wood in the desk, that I found there the day before is Teak and that Teak is a tropical hardwood. I can tell you that it is a very good, strong, sturdy desk. It is not too big. Definitely not imposing in any way. I’d say it is a modest desk. It has drawers that I have just started thinking of how to fill in the best way. The items in the drawers should serve me well and therefore need to be kept close by, but out of sight. The office has a window with a view. I have put up shelves upon which I can place items. Also I added another hook adjacent to the one that was already on the wall behind the door. I hang my jacket on one hook and my backPack on the other. I am contented. I have the feeling that I will be able to do more focused work here. It is quite a marvelous thing to witness. A whole other place, existing solely for this purpose, to give me the opportunity to focus my efforts.

Summer Mine Tour

Oh wow let me tell you all about my summer. It was super intense. I am so grateful. First I got to perform Intersections of traversals in Mimer which is this amazing defunct iron ore mine that Norbergfestival uses as the biggest stage. After that I got to play Ställbergs Gruva which was amazing.

One hour at EMS

I had what I felt was a contained scope for an idea to create a utility on the Buchla. I figured I could make impulse responses of the spectral processor. I used The Source of Uncertainty module. I always felt that was a fun name for a noise generator. Sure, it does a couple of things, so I guess that’s why it has such a fun name. After the noise I used an envelope in the Quad Function Generator. I remembered that the toggle for just effecting amplitude is called gate, but then I ran into the trouble of the envelope times maxing out at ten seconds. I used to do the trick where I added an offset to the envelope times from the joystick on the module with the keys at the bottom, but that had been switched out now. I am fine with that and I knew that I had to use that control utility module, but I couldn’t remember how to use it to add voltage to get longer times out of the envelope. Daniel Araya reminded me how to do it and was very nice about it. Only had an hour for this and I think that I can use the material. Smash + grab.

Ställbergs Gruva is so dreamy

I was at Ställbergs Gruva for the first part of a two part residency. It was amazing and very intense, even though we said that we would not push it to the same level we did last year. Going in I had the idea to make materials. I also wanted to try to find a new way to connect to the place. I was guessing that would mean some kind of brushing up against the dreaded field recording bag. I ended up doing more of a reamping thing. Chickening out maybe. It’s that whole preferences exist thing again more likely. I might have a recording of a freight train going by. I set it up and I think it went by but I don’t know if it will be audible. I found a metal box. It was a very good box. It was old. The metal was quite thin. It could rattle. That’s my thing that I like now; Introducing some kind of strange nonlinearity. Passing sound through physical objects or materials maybe is a more accurate description. The low bass from my transducer made the box and sometimes another metal sheet rattle with the microphones inside the lid of the box. All kinds of unfathomably complex acoustic phenomenon going on inside that box. Crazy Dave helped me out with a little snip that let’s me have a new kind of control over pitchbend. In the back of my mind somewhere there was the idea of how we make impulse responses. I did a bunch of takes where I very slowly bent some nice Tuba samples over an octave at increasing pitches slower and slower as I went up through the range of the tuba. I have a bunch of these tuba sweeps down through the nodes of that box at different speeds. The boundary between the technical and the artistic is now a semitransparent glistening. An imagined shimmering perhaps, inspiring none the less. I also met Hanna who is a graphic designer and a talented singer. She has a truly unique voice. Made a bunch of recordings of her singing beautifully in a low, almost Contralto range. Went through a list of phonemes. It is a very delicate material that feels very personal. Extremely generous of her to agree to be recorded in that way. A photograph can in no way steal a soul. I also shot from the hip and made a new FFT based snyth that can do a strange kind of Celestial mechanicsesque layered, instance-based “glissando” with crazy nonlinear bumps that seem to behave very differently depending on what has been happening recently. Feedback is so vast and I just keep feeling so inspired coming back to it. I don’t think that is ever going to change. I also recorded some Micro Modular patches through Maskinhallen. Put some doubled up glassed takes of the tuba glissandos through the room also. Oh and also a short realtime RM ebow electric guitar thing right at the end there. I was very sad to leave. Coming back home I felt lost. I eventually felt better messing around with a metal tray from the kitchen. Through that I found my way back to using tinfoil. Just like old times. Thinner metal is good with the transducer as it turns out. Making new takes of the FFT thing through the transducer on a double folded sheet of tinfoil, crumpled up just right around the edges so they make the most delicate rasping against the metal tray from the kitchen.

Out the door

I had a very strong experience listening to music and letting my mind drift yesterday. I was listening to an Earth, Wind & Fire track called Fantasy. Halfway way through the track there’s this amazing change. A little motif gets transposed around and that makes all of these amazing modulations possible. I started to daydream about playing that same song in an Earth Wind & Fire tribute band with all of the composition teachers I’ve ever had in all of my life. We had the full kit complete with the amazing clothes and we were really nailing it, together. Our voices rang as one. We were all right there together in the dream making it come true. What an amazingly lush and groovy music. I was really in it. All the way through in the daydream. First it made me laugh, and then it made me cry, because I haven’t always been entirely in agreement with every aspect of how all of the teachers I’ve ever had. How they have gone about trying to teach me to compose has sometimes created tensions between us. It felt amazing to be doing something together, all of us getting along, and really grooving out as one. I am supposed to be at the top of the ladder now. I dunno tho, I feel like I just got started, right at the edge of an infinite plain. I think my tripping out on that Earth, Wind & Fire fueled daydream so intensely might have something to do with my handing in what is supposed to be my final revision of my master thesis, and for that to now be reviewed for my final grade yesterday. Might could be.

Polytempic piano flags etude

I was at the school feeling lost the other day so I sat down for a bit in an empty rehearsal room that had an old Steinway in it. The tuning was ok for the strings I used. Nothing spectacular though. I sat for a bit and spun up an idea. I recorded the stems I needed for a rough mockup. It’s that whole polytempic, rhythm as texture kind of thing again. Not sure at all if I’m going to be able to really use the idea. I figured it’s better to make it into a thing that can be heard. This way I can keep tabs on the idea of it more easily.

Ruins in the distance port

Thanks to David Granström’s enormous patience and tremendous skill, I am now able to move my longest running composition project to my very own site. It feels great to this rolling finally. I’ve been dreaming about creating my own archive for this and other projects since the beginning. Especially with Ruins in the distance my work has been about iterative design. I regard each track as it’s own composition in earnest while at the same time relating to the larger arc which is formed by all of the pieces taken together as a whole. They reflect my interests at a given time. They document my place in an ongoing exploration of a framework. My site is now the place to go for anyone wanting to keep tabs on further development of this particular project and other endeavours. This is part of an ongoing effort to steer away from dependence on commercial platforms and to begin to dismantle my presence on the commercial internet.

TFW you academia

I may not be utilizing my current situation to the fullest extent. There is an opportunity here. I could come out of this one of an infinite number of ways. There are tools at my disposal. However brief I have some moments of clarity. I may be on the verge of finding my voice. This has, of course, always been true. I’m in a constant flux between faking it and feeling it, always. Never arriving. Kept at an unknowable distance from my destination. The task is not important really. The only thing that truly matters is cultivating drive. Purpose is scarce in life. For me to even sense it, however faint of a glimmering, I’m grateful for the opportunity. I want to go along with the hunch that something is calling, right at the edge of what can be dreamt. A chance to fool myself into surviving. That’s the thing. Why everything is the way it is with me. My position on the quality of my work wavers a lot. Doubt is a big part of my wiring. I try things out, see how they go. My thinking about strategies for not getting stuck are mostly based on cautionary tales. They are for sure misunderstandings about how stuff works. How people are, and what they felt, I have no idea about. I have the tiniest little window through which I can catch maybe a glimpse. That glimpse then gets thrown around, inside my experiences and matched up roughly to something I think I can relate to. Then my own narrative takes over. It’s just me in here. I’m alone with my thoughts. Just like everyone else.

What we wish were true

• Portability
• Transparency
• Simplicity
• Affordability

I am afforded some discretionary time. I would like to spend it making music. Computers fascinate me. They allow me a degree of control while engaged in the task of organizing sound. I would like to have more control so I am always configuring my computer. Even though a lot has changed about the way I’ve made music over the years I find it easy to recognize myself in what I hear still.

.wav files

I make files. For the longest time, I’ve been making .wav files. Ever since the beginning. I would like for that to change now. I am constantly being redrawn into the dream of creating a new kind of file. A new file format, with entirely new capabilities, enabling new modes of expression for a new kind of artist working with code to interface with sound.

.tau files

A terminal session and an audio stream in sample accurate sync would really be something useful for a lot of folks I’d argue. To quickly get a feel for what I’m on about here check out this site that Sam Keating-Fry made for Renick Bell’s Empty Lake release on UIQ. Ideally I’d like for there to be a CLI application running in a terminal on a computer playing the .tau file. As we’ve seen on the site that Sam made; A terminal is not constrained to running locally on your machine. It can also live in the browser. Everyone has a browser right? This extends portability tremendously.

Let’s skip ahead to where some kid is watching and listening to a .tau file being played in a terminal held within a browser. Vis has no idea what it is or how it works. Just stumbled on it haphazardly somehow wading through the wreckage of The Public Internet. The file can be paused like a video file. When paused the text in the player can be copied. This is a fundamental difference. The viewer is immediately invited to copy and to build upon the material being presented. This leads expectations away from code being presented for cosmetic purposes towards transparency.

I am now looking at termtosvg and the possibility of putting audio inside a .svg file.

Defense notes

When you do your defence remember to ask: Is this the part where I make notes in silence when recieving critique? If asked direct questions keep your answers brief. Alice has the idea to include outside references. Music and text that either shows a kinship or an opposing view. The latter is interesting to me. Dampens tendencies to get too navel gazing. Bob says it was fun to read because it is succesfully selfreflecting. Would be nice to reach that level. Oops yeah Carol is right about how weird it is that the gig hasn’t happened at the time when the text needs to be due. Make sure this doesn’t happen to you. The simplest solution to solving this problem is don’t write about a piece. Students get 5 minutes at the top it seems. Either talk or play music. Then there’s the random kid has questions about the text section. Dan feels it was interesting. The concert sounded good he says. Action and result. Optics and resultant sound matched which he feels is important. Dan wants better pictures in the thesis. What are better pictures? Avoid black boxes when explaining your signal flow. Praises composition thereby infering the inferiority of improvisation. Doesn’t really matter that I agree. Just interesting to note. Dan responds positively to the dialectic. There is some discussion regarding the definition of the term hyperInstrument. A description of a personal practice. Music which suffers from loosing it’s optical or performative aspect is phenomenoligically discussed. The room settles on video as the solution. Dan also offers the possibility of doing a binaural mix. Interesting to note that binaural holds that status.