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Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Monthly Archives: January 2021

Buddha Machine Variations No. 39 (Hazumi Chord)

A series of focused experiments

A little test run of the new Hazumi sequencer, running on VCV Rack, the free modular synth emulator. Hazumi, the grid on the far left, is from the Voxglitch family of modules, created by Bret Truchan. The audio is the initial loop of sound from “Ma,” the first piece of music heard on the very first Buddha Machine (this is from a digital file, not from the physical device). It’s heard here in three pitches, rendered in Adobe Audition: the original, then up four semitones, and then up one additional semitone. The original is also running through Glitch Shifter, a module from Unfiltered Audio, the company of Joshua Dickinson, Michael Hetrick, Ryan McGee, and Benn Cooper. Hetrick spoke to my Sounds of Brands course last year. The additional noise comes courtesy of two sources: the fan of my laptop, and the wind from a chimney, the latter due to the storm (an “atmospheric river”) currently assaulting San Francisco.

More at vcvrack.com and unfilteredaudio.com. Video originally posted at youtube.com/disquiet. There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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Lightbath’s Glitch

On the two-track Surface Bender

The glitch is strong on this, which is to say that the glitch is weak, which is to say that Lightbath is admirably elegant and selective when employing such abrasive techniques on the two tracks that comprise Surface Bender, “Day” and, naturally, “Night.” Both evidence the frantic switcheroos, the temporary holds, the broken patterns that make glitch glitch, but they do so in a way that still manages a dreaminess, a gentility. They may sound, especially midway through “Day,” like myriad Pixar nanobots are reenacting “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” but the result is as judicious as it is uproarious.

Tracks originally posted at soundcloud.com/lightbath. More from Lightbath, aka Bryan Noll of Brooklyn, New York, at lightbath.com.

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 38 (Virtual Ma)

A series of focused experiments

Monday night. Your batteries have run out, so to get the Buddha Machine source audio, you opt for the album version of the first track, “Ma,” on a streaming service. Running through the Glitchlets script for Norns (albeit on a Fates).

Video originally posted at youtube.com/disquiet. There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 37 (Tape CV KO)

A series of focused experiments

That is, indeed, a cassette player in the foreground. It’s been modded in a couple ways, the key one here being that the speed of the playback can be manipulated electronically. Specifically, the sort of control voltage that works between synthesizer modules can be applied externally to the speed of the cassette. In this case, a slow waveform is increasing and reducing (back and forth, pendulum-like) the pace of the cassette playback, lending it that slurry, warbling quality. (Note the long, pink cable that plugs into cassette player.)

The recorded sequence itself is a Buddha Machine as sampled, sequenced, and played by Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator (PO-33 K.O.). I recorded that PO-33 K.O. sequence onto the tape, and then rewound the tape and played it back as controlled by the control voltage (CV) output of the synthesizer (seen in the background). This is the first patch I’ve tried out with the CV cassette player, which I received on Friday in the mail and have been eager to give a test run.

The slow wave form, an LFO (low-frequency oscillation), is from a Batumi (by Xaoc), its highs and lows compacted by the SPO (by WMD / SSF). SPO stands for Scaler / Polarizer / Offset Generator. The cassette player mod is by the awesome Chester Winowiecki, of Whitehall, Michigan. (The other mod is it can take an audio line in. The standard device only used its own microphone.) I shared some photos of the tape cassette player a few days ago: “Cassette Bent.”

Video originally posted at youtube.com/disquiet. There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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twitter.com/disquiet: Slough, Hildur, Weegee

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, especially these days, when a week can feel both like a year and like nothing whatsoever has happened or changed.

▰ Last week I mentioned I’ve learned many things about myself during pandemic shut-in life, and key among them is that I’m way more into Miss Marple than into James Bond. The very next episode up of Marple, as if to make good on my personal realization, featured none other than Timothy Dalton as guest star (as a would-be successor to Churchill), no less. (Former Bonds do seem so relaxed once the Bonding period is over.)

▰ Not surprised Mick Herron listens to Gavin Bryars (theguardian.com). The Slow Horses books have a lot of attention to sound in them, and ECM Records gets particularly name-checked (Arvo Pärt and Keith Jarrett). I just finished book 6, and look forward to 7.

▰ Got some new noise-canceling (over-the-ear) headphones with this seemingly nifty feature: you run a finger up or down an earpiece to adjust volume. Except that interfaces unintentionally proves much louder (and more audibly annoying) than traditional buttons.

▰ Got new headphones. Been listening to Hildur Guðnadóttir all day (Without Sinking). Will through Wednesday, at least. Except when sleeping. And maybe even then.

▰ Q: “What Happens Now to Michael Apted’s Lifelong Project ‘Up’?” (nytimes.com)

A: A live feed from Nest doorbells installed at the entryway to each of their homes.

▰ If I did the math right, then the 500th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project will begin on July 29th of this year. Ooh, and this means the 500th project somehow manages to end on August 2nd, one day before my birthday.

▰ The wind crazy at 4:30am, the house rattled like a kid’s toy. I grabbed earbuds and listened to the audiobook of a spy novel, my eyes too tired to focus on my Kindle. I slowed its speed to that of a sleep story: “left … crumbled … tarmac .. in .. its …wake.” Oddly soothing.

▰ The longstanding ban on public performances of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” will be temporarily lifted tomorrow, January 20, 2021, for a period of 12 hours, from noon until midnight, Eastern Time.

▰ Getting an extra light for Zoom calls has helped, but when I actually step back and look at my desk, it feels like Weegee is probably in the hallway snapping photos for the morning edition.

▰ Yeah, I downloaded DC’s version of Marvel Unlimited

▰ I’m not signaling anything, just asking a question. If SoundCloud suddenly disappeared tomorrow, people should post their Disquiet Junto tracks to their:

The poll has now ended.

▰ And a poll from the week prior I neglected, it appears, to archive here:

▰ Glad to see that portrait of the guy who came up with the concept of a “Junto” in the first place hanging in the newly redecorated Oval Office (via washingtonpost.com.

▰ I am now at peace (via twitter.com/GuyBirkin)

▰ Have a great weekend, folks. See you Monday. Or heck, maybe Tuesday. Listen to some captions. Read some music. Play some textures.

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