Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Dance Minute

Dance Minute from darwin grosse on Vimeo.

During the Spring Quarter, I took an "Expanded Cinema" class taught by Trace Reddell and Jim Lavita. One of our assignments was to create a short piece using source material provided by 3rd Law Dance/Theater, featuring choreography by Katie Elliott. I used this section, which featured a duet, and created a Max/MSP/Jitter program that allowed me to manipulate the colorspace and motion characteristics of the visuals, and would use the movement of the dancers to generate a simple ambient soundtrack (using realtime controls).

I recorded the result, shown here. The motion manipulation turned out to really enhance the pauses between movements, and the color manipulations make the pauses seem to "flame up"; making for some beautiful visuals. The soundtrack isn't as successful as the visuals, but you can decide for yourself.

I'm hoping to work with 3rd Law in the future to do some of this live, and we've submitted the work for inclusion in a film-about-dance festival. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Thanks to Jim Lavita, Katie Elliott and 3rd Law Dance/Theater for permission to use this video and to post the results here.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to the cesspool (eBay edition)

I have to admit not doing much eBay shopping lately, but I jumped onto the site to look for an Ensoniq EPS-16+ for a friend. I ran into this beauty of an entry:


The dude doesn't even bother to pretend to want to sell the thing; he just spends all his time describing how he doesn't have time to answer email, you are probably just a fuckwit so you shouldn't bother purchasing it, and even if you do buy it, it probably won't work because you don't know what you are doing.

I hope the damned thing falls off a table and breaks his foot.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Modular - SVF fun

FilterExcursion #2 by DarwinGrosse

Here is a quickie track I popped together with a bunch of modulation on a simple VCO->SVF filter combination. Again with the quantizer, which really does make self-modulated modular stuff seem a lot more deliberate. Quant on the front end, RE-20 on the back end - I swear I could put a 2x4 in the middle and it would sound pretty good.

I spent some time reconfiguring my modular layout so that a single cabinet would contain most of what I'd need for a gigging rig. Up to three oscillators, but I'm feeling like I have too few VCA's and envelopes for my pleasure. I wish someone would do a decent 1U oscillator for these portable systems.


Vacation Update - Saturday

Woke up bright and early, started repacking for another attempted trip home. This one is aided by Andrew - the true knight. He drove down from LA (in The Admiral - a beautiful 1987 Mercedes four-door, pictured above), and hauled the whole crew back to LA for a 3pm flight out of LAX. I owe him more than I can say - the stress of trying to get us back is wearing on me mightily.

Stop-and-go traffic the whole way, but it gave Andrew and me a chance to talk about a ton of different stuff. Not wasted time at all, although I'm sure the kids were bored as hell (although they took over the iCrap to an extraordinary extent, and kept themselves pretty busy during the drive). Big mess-up at the check-in counter, but we got it wired, and got to check three bags in for zero dollars. That's pretty good these days.

Of course there was a delay on the out-bound flight, but we left LA at about 4:30pm, and got home around 7pm. By the time we hitched a ride to the parking lot, found the car, got everyone in and hit the road, it was almost 8pm. Cold and rainy, it pretty much bookended the shitty weather for our trip. But the kids were happy, I was driving home, and we eventually got to the mountain house.

Vacation done! I need a long night's sleep!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Vacation Update - Friday

Up early, cleaned everyone up, loaded up the Crown Victoria rental and took one more pass at San Diego Stuff. No sun again today - giving us a total of 4 hours of sun for our entire visit. People say this is normal; I say it should be something that I read about in the fine print of the San Diego Tourist Contract To Leave All Your Money In California.

We went onto Coronado Island and drove down to the Silver Strand State Beach for a walk-around. $10 to park, but I did it happily. Why happy? Because there wasn't a single remaining thing there to cost any money. No gift shops, hamburger slappers or take-a-photo-you-don't-really-want crap. Just a really, really long beach. Graham had fallen asleep in the car, so K stayed with him while I went for a stroll with the two older boys. What a hoot! Chasing the surf, examining kelp piles and finding little shell bits were all part of the hard work of fun, and we ended up soaked, freezing, and happy as all get-out.

We changed in the car, then headed for a second day at the SD Zoo. We had a purpose this time: to see the cats and the polar stuff - both things we'd missed the first time around. The boys were a little goofy and tired, but we still had a good time. Took the Skyline back to the exit, then headed back to the airport for the flight out.

Dropped off the Way Huge-mobile at the Dollar Rental place (one of the scuttier rental holes I've been through), then shuttled to the airport. The Frontier person was really nice, and helped us get prepped for a flight that was going to be delayed. We spend some time in the food court, then went through security for our area. Since we knew we were going to have a long delay, we set up all our iCrap (iPhone, iPod Touch x2, iPad) with power connections and began the long wait. After a few hours, Kristin noticed that there was nobody left in the terminal. At all. That's gotta be a bad sign...

I went out toward the ticketing area, and was stunned to see security completely shut down. Headed out the gate area to see our bags sitting on a pile in the middle of the terminal. That can't be good, right? I grab them and head up to the ticketing area, only to see a huge line. I ask the guy at the back of the line about the situation, and get the bad news - everything to Denver is cancelled.

The guy let me use his cellphone to call K, and she hustled the boys (and our stuff) back to the ticket area. We waited for about an hour before we got the good news: no flight until Sunday, and even then the family would be split between two flights. This was Not Good. So I asked about flights out of LAX, and was told I could get a Saturday booking out of there. So we did that while I searched for a one-way rental car to LA. The answer? No such thing: while we were sitting like a bunch of dumb-asses in the gate area, everyone else in San Diego rented cars for the wagon train to a different flight. Not a single rental car in all of SD.

I was at wits end, so I pulled a tough one out of the hat: I called my friend Andrew, who has had my back so many times in the past, to see if he'd be able to help. Within a few minutes, the plan was hatched, and we took the "distress rate" hotel booking at the Sheraton Resort and Marina (a really, really nice hotel) for the evening, with renewed travel plans for Saturday.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Vacation update - Thursday

Went to the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park today, which is by far the best thing of the trip for the adults. The kids were not impressed, but Kris and I were. This is the place I could spend some time, but the boys weren't having it. Back to the hotel for more swimming, which is where we encountered The Coming Hoard. I guess I'd not thought of Thursday as being "moving in from Kansas" day, but it seemed like everything went rogue.

First off, there were about 30x the normal number of people at the pool - all of them sporting two arms of beers and two wagons of kids. All the kids were nasty and rancorous, and their parents were loud and obnoxious. We vacated the pool early, and headed to our rooms for a quiet evening of relaxation. Not to be, since the younger versions of the Pool Invaders decided that they needed to try and head-butt their room doors open, shake the Pepsi machine until it started fizzing from the top, and practice slamming their room doors in preparation for future domestic violence episodes. This continued pretty much unabated through the night.

Leaving on Friday, and happy for it.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vacation update - Wednesday

San Diego Zoo today. I don't think I'm wired up correctly for zoos - I can't get into oohing and ahhing over some stupid panda, and I'm pretty sure the black panther is pacing back and forth, thinking only about breaking my legs and sucking the marrow out of the split bones. The only sign of excitement from the kids came when we saw the pythons; other than that, it was all boring-boring-boring to them. They came alive for the swimming at the end of the day.

Thankfully the sun came out today, and it made the afternoon swim much more enjoyable. Worked for me!

Tomorrow, more zoo! How did that happen?


Vacation Update - Tuesday

Seaworld today. Aiden (the 6 year-old) is our family biologist, and he loved it. Cynicism completely washed away when I watched his take on Shamu, and as a result I bought him the largest stuffed Shamu we could find. It is about as big as he is, and I have no idea of how we will get that thing home. Cynicism completely returned when we paid $60 for a stupid lunch meal, only to see a dude named Jesus slap my burger together with amazing contempt. I'm sure at he really wanted to wipe his ass with my bun, but I also suspect that Seaworld has them wear assnets for exactly that reason. Snot on your lettuce, anyone?

The whole park was kind of dingy, but it was saved by the last show - the SLL (Sea Lion Live) show. The sea lions weren't that great, but the main entertainer, Jeff, lit up the place and had us all howling. Low-brow for sure, but still fun. Also, they did a 20-minute pre-show, which is exactly the right thing to do to help bide time. More event places should take a cue from this.

Positives: Aiden loved the whales, sharks and other stuff. Touristy toys were inexpensive, and there weren't too many super-commercial things.
Negatives: Jesus (shudder...),raft ride wasn't as cool as advertised.

Two days in SD, two completely overcast days. Does the sun ever shiine here? Was I somehow tricked into returning to Wisconsin?


Vacation update - Monday

KidFit-at-Legoland by DarwinGrosse

On vacation with The Family this week - San Diego, making it our first vacation ever that didn't include either work or family. Woke up at 3am,in the car at 4am for a 7am flight. Into SD at 8:30, and straight to Legoland. Please to spend all your money...

We went to LL first to get it out of the way, since it's all the kids could talk about, and the rest of the trip would have been miserable if we hadn't done it quickly. Massively overspent on everything, but had a good time. I got to see and hear one of the most outrageous kid-fits ever in the line for the junior driving school ride; it was so good that I downloaded a field recording app on the iPhone so I could capture some of it. It sounded like the raptor cage in a Jurassic Park movie, and I'll post it here when I get home.

Positives: Fun rides, especially with Graham (the 4 year-old), interesting purchases of big-ass Lego Star Wars stuff and OK food.
Negatives: Onerous parking, didn't take Lego VIP points for the purchases, and a damned long way from SD.

Staying on Mission Bay; 2 rooms poolside. Everyone is very tired this evening...

(Edit: The track is now added to the post, but it isn't as horrible in recorded form as it was in real life. Just assume that the tortured cat sound is a 3 year-old boy, and you'll get the picture.)


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sequence duplicated.

Here's a little Sunday afternoon toon done completely with the modular. The percussion tracks are filtered noise with interesting modulations. The various harmonic and melodic lines are all the same 18-note sequence, time and rate shifted, and played with variations of the same patch (varied via different settings). Volta played an important part in this one...

Round Robin by DarwinGrosse

Enjoy! (Or not!)