Northern Spark In Habit: Living Patterns

Many of you know that I have been working on an eight channel, spatialized sound, projection, and dance collaboration for almost two years. I composed the music entirely using my collection of analog synthesizers. I also designed an octal sound system (eight discrete channels) to spatialize the music and sounds. The performances are Thursday, June 7 at 9pm, Friday, June 8 at 9pm and Saturday, June 9th from 9pm until 6am (yes that is 9 long hours). Checkout In Habit: Living Patterns for the location and other details.

What may be of particular interest to ACB readers is how I am processing the music for spatialization. The outdoor stage is a raised 18′ x 18′ square that the audience can view from any angle. At each corner I have outward facing wedges to project sound toward the audience. Behind the audience I have inward facing speakers on stands, also at each corner of the venue (a public space under the 3rd Avenue bridge in Minneapolis by the Mississippi river across from the St. Anthony Main Movie Theatre).

Using a Max for Live patch that I developed and another that is part of the M4L toolset I am able to rotate sounds around the system in many ways. This includes clockwise and/or anti-clockwise at variable frequencies around the outer or inner quads or both. I can also pan sound between the inner and outer quads with or without the rotation happening simultaneously. Quick adjustments allow me to create cross pans to for sweeping diagonals and so on. I originally thought I could do this with one of many M4L LFOs, but found out this would be impossible. In a future post I will explain why I had to develop my own patch to do this. For now, please enjoy a sadly two channel rough mix of Kolum, the second in the series of sixteen vignettes, and come to the performance to hear it in all of its spatialized, eight channel glory.

Water Dripping Sample in GrainMachine

This evening I have been working on the user interface for GrainMachine, a Max for Live instrument I developed for personal use in October of 2009. In the process of tonight’s testing I came up with this sound. I started with a sample of water dripping, loaded it into GrainMachine and then chose a very narrow grain at a fairly low frequency. Finally I swept slowly through the position of the sample creating the result heard below.

Water Dripping Sample in GrainMachine

Grain Machine Sample from Live Performance

Here’s a sound I produced during a live set at Nick and Eddie for the Thursday Funhouse series under my Ostraka moniker. You can download the entire set that I released as a holiday gift last month. I used Grain Machine which is a touch based granular synthesis instrument that I developed in Max for Live to create the sound. Grain Machine requires a device running TouchOSC such as an iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android device for the touch based control. There’s a rotary wheel with friction modeling, and an x-y pad for granular exploration.

Grain Machine from Thursday Funhouse

An Exclusive Holiday Gift from Ostraka

Here’s a set I recorded live to Ableton during a performance at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse hosted by Jon Davis, December 16, 2010. This is all new material that I’ve been working on, except for the last track, which is a remix of Illuminator Console from Precambrian Resonance (Unearthed Music 2009). Here’s the download link for the 37:28 minute set hosted on Unearthed Music. Expect to hear lots of Grain Machine, as well as synth sounds from the Casio CZ-1000, the Korg MS2000, the Roland D-50, my Sequential Circuits Pro-One, some old Hammond rhythm programs, and even a little bit of Rhodes electric piano.

Download Live Ostraka Set at Nick and Eddie Thursday Funhouse (89.9 MB)

Video by Jon Davis of an Ostracon Performance

I just came across this five minute video shot by Ghostband artist Jon Davis on his mobile phone of my duet project Ostracon performing at the Kitty Cat Klub in Minneapolis on July 17, 2010. I’ve been enjoying a lot of these lofi videos that Jon puts up on YouTube, and it reminds me of a quote I read recently from David Byrne in the liner notes for My Life in the Bush of Ghosts: “…we came to realize that high fidelity was a vastly over-rated convention that noboby had bothered to question…”. I can’t agree more, except that today, thankfully, it is being questioned more than ever.