This quick demo illustrates how TX81Z Patch Degrader is interpolating between previous and newly generated parameter values. TX81Z Patch Degrader is a Max for Live MIDI effect that chips away at patches on the TX81Z by randomly changing (or degrading) parameters at a specified rate. What makes the process interesting is that it is possible to ramp up or down (interpolate) to the new value rather than changing it instantaneously.
To create the Max for Live MIDI instrument I started with TX81Z Editor 1.0 by Jeroen Liebregts who was kind enough to share his work on maxforlive.com. I added in the degradation process features and made some adjustments to the interface to make room for the controls. Once I get things shaped up I’ll be happy to share the patch if anyone is interested.
The features I added are visible in the second panel of the TX81Z Patch Degrader Max MIDI effect. I’ll describe them from the top down:
Level bypass prevents the operator levels from being included in the degradation process so that the sound doesn’t completely die out.
When the interpolate switch is on new values (as long as they have an adequate range) are ramped up or down to the new value based on the rate.
Loop causes the degradation to continue indefinitely by reshuffling after all 73 parameters included have been degraded.
Free/sync toggles between changing the parameters at an arbitrary pace set by rate, or note divisions based on the project’s tempo (therefore sync will only degrade while playing)
Rate adjusts the rate of degradation when in free mode, and the time it takes to ramp up or down to new values when interpolate is on. Rate is milliseconds and ranges from 15ms to 2000ms.
Below rate are the note durations for sync mode ranging from a 1/128th note up to a dotted whole note.
Finally the degrade button starts the process while interrupt stops everything so when you hear something you like you can save the patch on the TX81Z.
The TX81Z has a fairly small buffer for MIDI values, so spraying values at it too quickly will generate the “MIDI Buffer Error”. However, even after getting the error it will continue listening to the incoming data, so even though it might be skipping a parameter here and there it lets me keep throwing things at it. The video below shows how the LCD display responds to the stream of values coming at the machine.
I’ve saved quite a few very interesting effects so far and have nearly run out of the 32 patch positions available on the unit. Perhaps the next step is to add a library feature especially since I’m not thrilled about the idea of saving patch banks to cassette!
I am very excited about praise we have received for Isikles, a recent album I produced with Chilean producer Lister Rossel. Ironically yesterday was the Summer Solstice, but Lister has returned to Chile in the Southern Hemisphere where the climate is in the midst of winter. Everyone who has taken the time to listen to Isikles has appreciated the mystery and depth of this work. For example artist, musicians, and educator, Piotr Szyhalski said this after listening:
It’s interesting how it seems to transport my mind in both directions on the timeline. Certain elements send me back, sometimes way back, while others have a future oriented thrust. There is a sense of silent disaster unfolding. I imagine that this is what dying might feel like: when your mind brings you a sense of comfort, which masks the finality of the event…
– Piotr Szyhalski
Isikles puts the listener on a beautiful elegant journey of ambient, soundscapes, pulses and textures. One of the best chill out albums to come out in a long time.
– Richard Devine
If you haven’t had a chance to listen, try the track Corvus in the player below. It’s one of my favorites. This album filled with analog synthesis, sound design experiments, and field recordings of ice and other things, was a joy to produce. Lister’s talent, work ethic, and conceptual clarity made it a very special collaboration. The full album is available for listening or download on our BandCamp page. Thank you for listening!
Last weekend I performed with and attended a workshop from the extraordinary electronic musician and sound designer Richard Devine. His presentation was at Slam Academy (a Minneapolis based school for electronic music and arts where I am also on the faculty roster). Later that same evening Jon Davis, Richard Devine, Graham O’Brien, James Patrick, and I performed a couple of sets at the Dakota Jazz Club (photo by Dave Eckblad). This was quite different from previous performances. Richard brought in eerie ambient textures while I played Rhodes and Moog Sub 37 along with Patrick’s deep house rhythms, O’Briens acoustic drum-n-bass fills, and a solid foundation of bass grooves from Jon Davis. Finally Richard played a solo set at an afterparty back at the Slam Academy.
It was a pleasure performing with Richard and his presentation beforehand shed light on his detailed knowledge of the history of electronic music. He brought up electronic music pioneers like Morton Subotnick, Tod Dockstader, and Karlheinz Stockhausen. He discussed equipment from the legendary ARP 2500 (only one hundred ever made) to the EMS Synthi, and followed it up with modern softsynths of note like the Madrona Labs AALTO. After all that he graciously exposed the contents of his “Current Live Setup” Eurorack in great detail. Thanks to the Slam Academy, the Dakota, James Patrick, Jade Patrick, Richard Devine, Jon Davis, Graham O’Brien, Gregory Taylor, and everyone else involved for a memorable day of learning, playing, and performances.
I am pleased to be participating in an exhibition of work by Jasio Stefanski at Print Gallery in Tokyo, Japan. Jasio is showing a variety of his work including two pieces that we collaborated on together fron the series Spectral Tablature. The first piece is Synthetic Skyline previously exhibited for the Audible Edge sound art exhibition at the Katherine Nash Gallery in Minneapolis. The second piece is a new work in the series titled Synthetic Transitions.
To create the work I started by composing a simple sequence of notes that speed up and then slow down. Jasio requested that we included diagonal lines in the piece so I used linear portamento on the Moog Sub 37 to create the “transitions” he was interested in seeing. The video shows the plotter rendering Jasio’s Reprise of the work shown/heard in the image/audio below.
Jasio’s Reprise is based on form and color values as opposed to acoustic accuracy. The visuals were composed to place emphasis on the “transitions” or portamento. The output visually reinterprets the angles informed by the gliding notes without connecting them in the composition. When sonified the plotted design singles out the portamento, isolating it from the context of the sustained frequencies.
A couple of months ago I spent about 18 hours over two days recording synthesizers for the upcoming Camp Dark album Nightmare in a Day. It was a blast and the music is gorgeous. I wrote in more detail about the project here. The latest video, edited by Adam Svec, is for the song Are You Hiding. This one ends with a long passage of Moog Sub 37 running through the Minifooger Delay as I twisted the Time and Feedback knobs.
Are You Hiding” is the second video in a series to promote the release of Camp Dark’s new album, Nightmare In A Day (Icehouse MPLS on Friday 5/15). The story was inspired by holiday trips back to South Dakota. The song navigates the trajectory of playing roles of earlier versions of you. This veneer eventually falls apart when the years become visible. A person can only hide in plain sight for so long before they are spotted. It’s an anthem of empathy for those who experience this distance between former and current selves. “Are You Hiding” features performances by Graham O’Brien, Adam Svec, Dan Choma, Matt Leavitt, Matt Friesen, and John Keston.