Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The All-Seeing Eye

An awful lot of the work I've been doing lately has been related to a single piece of gear. And it's not the modular - it's the XBOX 360 Kinect. This little device is the perfect tool for all sorts of sketchy computer vision work, and it is cheap as sin for what it does. I've been using Jean-Marc Pelletier's jit.freenect.grab object (in combination with his cv.jit tools) to do some remarkable depth and location tracking. You'll probably see some of it in your neighborhood right soon.

For anyone that has written off Microsoft, you just have to work with this device - and realize that it has sold more $150 units than McDonalds has sold Big Macs over the same period of time. A stunning piece of work!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gotta get to work...

... relearning the Playing Guitar thing. To start, I picked up the Guitar Aerobics lesson book, which basically runs you through 52 weeks' worth of playing exercises, one day at a time. It's the sort of discipline that I need to get my chops kinda back. Most of it is single-string work, and there are a lot of right-hand exercises; it actually feels like a Guitar Craft sort of thing. In any case, I hope to do the daily deed, and hopefully I'll get my hands in order.

Right now, my left hand feels like a crab claw, and my right hand feels like a jellybean.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Zee Great Erection!

So I got the next cab slapped together and spent some time this weekend cleaning up the layout and pushing in all of the new modules. Now I've got to get more, more, more! Of course, this assumes I'll be able to convince Kristin and the boys to live on Ramen for a few more months...


Monday, June 20, 2011


Link: View Video

Posted by Brad Garton, this video chronicles the Welcome Sound performance in Roosevelt, NJ, in the heart of the Garden State - for real. One of the most pleasant performing experiences I ever had. Video by Wiska Radkiewicz.

More of the experience can be seen/heard/read here.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Anyone that knows me will look at this picture (borrowed from the dotcom DIY page) and say "Wow, look at that - Darwin bought all of the things necessary to feel good about cutting his thumb off!" While this is true, it also represents tomorrows Big Joy: building cabinet #4 for the Big Synth. It's amazing how this thing has grown, both from purchased modules and the bits I'm building for 20Objects LLC. It also represent perhaps the most fun I have with any instrument at all; I can lose myself in this for hours.

Suzanne Ciani talked about a deeply personal relationship she had with her Buchla synth, I'm starting to feel like that about this thing. Of course, it is rapidly growing to twice my size, so I'm starting to think of it as Daddy more than Buddy.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

And on the other side...

... is my mini-system. I finally got around to plugging in the Akai LPK25 into the iPad, and I've been giggling about it all morning. I've been thinking about getting a tiny synth to use for travel (and non-laptop use). This, combined with GarageBand, iMS-20 and other is getting to be a bit of an addiction.

About the only problem I've encountered is that, after a while, the keyboard seems to disconnect from software. Also, in a related experiment, plugging in an Akai LPD8 proved a disaster, and a few resets were required before the iPad would see the LPK25 again.

But all-in-all, it was a fun experience. Not back to my uber-mix.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Large Hi-cap Modules

Hurrah for Cynthia! Someone has taken on the job of making hi-density modules in 5U country. Why is this needed when you can stuff so much goo in a Euro rack?

Here's what it is for me: I perform a lot. With my modular. I want a lot of capacity, but I also want to be able to identify and control the stuff in a dark room, with no stage lighting, and will some level of reproducibility. Hence, 5U is the thing for me.

But having one whole module space for a single VCA is tough sledding for a mobile modular guy. So I bow to the glory of Cynindustries' new module line - certain to be a major part of my gigging rig in the near future.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

$4.99 Jangles

The house is filled with jangling, screaming and crazy jabbering. Yes, school is out for the summer (in an Alice Cooper sort of way), but it's more than that. I finally ponied up the $4.99 for GarageBand for the iPad, and it's blowing the whole family away.

Right now, Aiden is doing crazy King Crimson hyperlicks on the Smart Guitar, while Wyatt is recording words, reversing them, then trying to say them into reverse into the sampler to hear what is sounds like reversed again. Graham stands in line, waiting for his chance to record his latest chant: "My name is Doof and you'll do what I say - Woot Woot!".

I'm blown away by this software; given some of the crap DAW-ish junk I've already paid for (and I'm speaking to you, Mr. microDAW), I'm really happy with this purchase. It's really easy to crap on Apple until they put out something this good.

I'm just wondering: is there a sampler in the Real World that is as easy to use as the Sampler in GarageBand/iPad? I haven't seen it...


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh dear...

My dear friend and inspiration JHNO (pictured above with his ever-present VW Thing) apparently ran into a bit of a storm in a recent performance. If you want to read an interesting overview and an incredible bunch of blog comments, check out this Music vs. Theater blog posting.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gotta Love 'Em

My family (spouse and children), that is. This is what they decided to get me for a graduation present: an American "Fat Strat" with a hardshell case. Literally the best instrument I've ever owned.

I've been wanting to get back into guitar again - I had to sell all my instruments last year to cover some heavy-duty car repairs. Instead of limping into something that would be serviceable (but not optimal), I decided to wait until I could get a really great instrument. In this case, it wasn't me doing the deciding - Kristin and the boys stepped in and made the decision for me.

I love it, and am playing every day. It's taken me a few days to get the most basic of chops back, but they are coming, and the instrument sounds fantastic through my various rigs (and even through the modular). While I didn't originally conceive of it this way, I'm planning on now integrating the guitar more completely into the project I'm working on...



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Level Up...!

Alas, this segment of the journey is over. Thanks to Tim Weaver for helping me get started, Trace Reddell, Rafael Fajardo, Adrienne Russell and Chris Coleman for keeping me sharp, Jim LaVita for opening some new doors. Also thanks to my fellow students for the opportunity to delve into some really interesting work and to share a lot of interesting perspectives.

What an incredible experience.