Artist In Residency @ access space

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1.December 2002

My last day in Sheffield. We went to Access Space because Jim wanted to install the new content management system by Neil. I used the time to film some more urban architecture in daytime.

30. November 2002

I have to distribute the library of PD patches I created this week. It becomes a little bit tricky because to use PD with the special -rt realtime mode flag you have to be root or at least become Super User. But as that you can‘t access the home directory of the logged - in user because of rights restriction. So I copied the files into /mnt/disk on the local harddisks where they are accessible for the root user.
The workshop started with a theoretical part where I explain basic patching and simple synthesis technics. I showed than the subtractive synthesiser patch and demonstrate so the most easiest and common synthesis. After that I let the audience making music with the patches, one synthesizer on each computer and one with the mainclock patch and the drumcomputer patch. One annoying isue of PD shown up was the imedient crash of the Mistriss Clock patch when one of the clients quit without proper disconnection issued from the clock patch. After we figured it out we stayed at the given patches. I encourage to modify the patches and some started to add oscillators and delay lines.

29. November 2002

Today I tidy up the patches. We install further computers. Unfortunaly I can‘t get to run audio input, it chops the sound and I don‘t have a clue why, its a not aCPU overload issue. So I can‘t demonstrate how to sample a sound but the sampling synthesizer patch is working anyway with the stored samples which I recorded with my Powerbook.
Some people expressed the interest of the visual part of PD which is stored in the library GEM, providing several modules mainly creating animations with OpenGl. So I enhanced my presentation with some images I found online done with GEM.
At 6.00 pm I started with the presentation in front of over 50 people which makes Access Space overcrowded. The highly interested audience came partly from atendees of the btv conference. After my presentation which featured a brief overview of the history of softwarebased computer music, a demonstration of how Max/MSP / PD looks and patches like and some demonstration PD patches on the Linux machines. I showed the Sinusdeklinationen patch and than the complainer one which uses additive synthesis to create formants. I ended with a demonstration of my connected patches, which are synced over the tcp/ip network. After the demonstration the listeners were encourage to play around with the patches and some interesting discussions rises.

28. November 2002

The server are back. That means today Pure Data should be to get run on more computers. But first they have to be upgraded to Mandrake 9 which is working better than 8.2. We started to upgrade and I began to install PD on it facing again the same trouble with the missing librarys. The problem is that PD needs and what is totaly insane because normally this files are named without the .0. The online documentation mention a simular problem but miss the .0 naming. But anyway I create symbolic links and everything works proper. Later its patching time. In the night I wire up as much patches as I can but missed to create a sample driven drumbox and, whats of more importance for me, a granular synthesizer.

27. November 2002

The local server is still troubeld but I can carry on my work on my own laptop. I built a wired drumsynthesizer which can be synced over the net, it synthesizes bass- and snaredrum and closed/ opend hihat in realtime so far. Later I am going to patch a sample driven drum machine. In the night I finished the presentation which I am going to project with a videobeamer.

26. November 2002

Access Space is open but the Linuxserver got some trouble so the clients can‘t connect to their central stored home directorys. Fortunaly I can connect to the web with my own Powerbook so its no problem with my work. I can maintain the webdiary and put some stuff about the last concert online. Started with preparations for the presentation.
I manage with the help of Justin to get PD running on MacOsX, so I can patch PD sounds at home too. Later in the night I got the idea for the workshop. We are going to jam through the network. Every attendee will have a patch incorporating a synthesizer and stepsequencer. A masterclock will send out the absolute index of the steps which keeps the patches and different computers in sync. This approach addresses several issues and demands:

- the session over the network creates a community feeling,t he members needs to communicate with each other, creating a piece together. This even overrides the main paradigm of the lonesome computer musician.
- I will provide several stepsequenced patches for those who don‘t want to build from scratch. Each of them shows a different kind of synthesis, so it teaches the several ways of create synthetic sounds in commun and how to patch with PD.
- the distributed processing overcomes the lack of power of the given equipment.
- a simple and fast approach to create music with the computer, the imident feedback avoids frustration.

25. November 2002

Access Space is still closed as usally on sundays/ mondays, but today a jam concert kept me busy. At the artschool, a familiar place for me from the Maxis festival, I had an improvised session with Scott Hawkins and again Foster, now on old PC laptops, which can play sounds triggerd by the builtin keyboard. Shortly before the concert we made some appointments about the three pieces we are going to do and it worked so far I can judge. The first one was more rhythmical were I process Fosters output with the patch I created in the last days, the second one was driven by pianosounds from Scott, along with some tones I create with the windcontroler and Powerbook, and the last one based mainly on a patch from me. On the least both pieces I provide reverb to Foster with the freeverb vstplugin, embedded in my patches. The background showed some computeranimations by Dennis Miller.
Several conversations on art and technic rises later which is positive and important. During the night I cut together some excerpts of the video I recorded and encode them for the web.

24. November 2002

Today Access Space is closed which is a bit of an issue for me, being cut off from the web. But anyway, I continue wiring up the processing patch with Max/ MSP. The matrix object doesn‘t work for me because the way I need it introduces feedback loops on it what making Max/MSP stop working. So I built a matrix on my own which costs me plenty time to wire and introduces a certain complexity to the whole thing. I breaked it down in nested subpatches to keep it simpler.
On afternoon I did a break and walked outside through the center of Sheffield. I recorded additional videofootage to the one I took during my stay in April, for later use. I am going to make some videoshorts from urban architecture (and its failure), combined with electroacoustic computermusic, created with fieldrecording from that specific town. I already finished two citys and feels like it will become a DVD release.

23. November 2002

Introduce today vibrato to the formant patch which enhances the perception of the vowles. I wanted to apply reverbration to the patch which smears the sinusoidels better together (Stockhausen and the Cologne bunch faces same problems in the 50s where they did additive synthesis with discreete sinustone generators because the waves sounds distinct and like a organ). I downloaded and installed an external basing on the freeverb algorithm but it sounds bad and costs to much cpu load, which I really wonder because it serves well during my live sets as a vst plugin inside my Max/ MSP patches. Anyway, I dropped the idea and returned to the pure reverb from the PD documentary which is made of stock parts. It sounds better but eats a lot cpucycles too. Maybe I should really stream the sound to another computer, so I startet to install after some webmaintenace PD on another Mandrake machine but it got 8.1 installed and the packetmanager acted wired.

Later in the night I continued the patch with Max/MSP on my home workstation.

22. November 2002

Today I cared about online documentation. I tried to find a suitable online video format for Linux but didn‘t find so far. Maybe providing MP4 files for download is the key.
I tidied up the first PD patch and put it online among other enhancements. Created links from my sides and Scott set up the concert on monday. Together with Foster I played before on 19. we are going to improvise several sets. On one I will process the sounds of the others with Max/MSP with patches I have to create.

In the night I started to wire up a processing patch with Max/MSP giving the possibilitys to mess around with sonic input from someone else. The main feature is a matrix which distributes the input amoung the processing units.

21. November 2002

I startet to create a little library with oftenused modules which are called abstractions in PD. One of them is a panning module which distributes a monophonic Signal between the two stereo outputs. A good idea would be to do as much as I can composed with the stock modules of PD. There are several cool externals out which expands the possibilites but they are black boxes and doesn‘t teach anything apart the pure usage. And they might be not available on every of PDs platforms.
My maingoal today is to patch a formantgenerator. I downloaded a formantlist which shows the data you need for creating vocals, its descriped in an attachment of the csound manual. Then I had to think about how to handle the data. A vocal is described by 5 sinustones, each with seperate amplitude and frequency. And I want to create something which can blend between the 5 vocals ‚a‘ ‚e‘ ‚i‘ ‚o‘ ‚u‘. So its 5 times 5 times 2. From my programming experience I would say lets use an array with 3 dimensions but this cant be done with pure PD. So I had to break it down to seperate arrays and ended up with 5 arrays holding the frequency calues and 5 arrays holding the amplitude values. The csound table gave a third value, the bandwidth. This is for creating a vocal filter and so I dropped this. I managed to set up a patch with the 5 sinustones which can morphed between the formants. Of course I wanted a smooth blend between the vowles so I used a interpoliting readout from the stored values. It bothers me a bit before I understand I double the first and the last entry to recieve this state too.
A great addition would be a reverb but the descrete patched one leeches lot of cpu cycles for the given machine so it shouldn‘t be used. I find an external which implements the famous freeverb alghorythm which serves me well in my Max/MSP works. I am going to break my rule above and check it out tomorrow, if it doesn‘t work, I will try to hand the created sound over to another computer who reverbrate it. PD offers networking modules which can transmit at least event data which is much more precise and got higher resolution. But also audio can be sent over TCP/IP. The single computers of Access Space are lame but teamed up they can be very powerful, the key is distributed computing!
I recognized that my results are got a certain aesthetic but appeal more and to get more people into creativity a broader range of applications a necessary. I will provide stepsequenced stuff too, so it attracs the younger generation but also will be interesting for my rhythmical driven postindustrial project ‚Notstandskomitee‘.
Access Space creates an account for me so I can put up some stuff on the web. I created some pages and upload them inclusive the videos. They are quicktime but I am going to sort out which format fits best for Linux. MP4 would be great which I am able to encode instantly.
After Access Space closed we went over to a pup. I teamed up with Scott Hawkins and we are going to have a jamsession which will be recorded, probably in Access Space. We met more people of the creative cluster conference. Later we went over to see a concert by Justins project TPWNN.

20. November 2002

Blown up to little speakers which was connected to wrong voltage. Finished a first patch which generates a sound out 8 sinusoidal waves with random frequency, attack and release. The message flow of PD and certain the envelope kept me busy for hours, I must explain this in my workshop because issues like this kept the kids away to use PD.
A visiting artist suggest to introduce more rhythmical elements into the soundflow. I propose to add more rhythmical variance. When I did a break and bought some cookies I thought more about sonic variance and suddenly former experiments I done with PD in 1999 came up my mind where I created formant vowles with sinusoidals.
After I came back from Access Space I cut and encode videos from yesterdays concert for the web.

19. November 2002

First whole day at Access Space. Setting up the workstation and getting PD to run. Completion of a first random controlled sound oscillator.
At the evening Sonus concert. One soloset and one improvisaton with the other two participants. After the event I walked home to sort my thoughts but also to take a look for further images I would like to record from Sheffield for a portrait I planed in near future. I recorded several visuals and sounds from citys and combined a video with electroacoustic music on it, derieved with the sounds from there. I captured a lot from my lasttime in April but I discoverd further stuff I would like to film. I hope the weather will allow to go out the next days.
At home after a refreshment with videogames I felt a littlebit csounding and I passed my last hour spending on experimenting a bit with csounds granular synthesis.

18. November 2002

Arrivel. Setting up the home studio. Final adjustments and practising for the sonus concert.