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

tag: Buddha Machine

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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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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Buddha Machine Variations No. 36 (Glass Tiles)

A series of focused experiments

Been a few days since the previous Buddha Machine Variation. The camera died, after it had stopped playing nice with audio. And I got a new, smaller synthesizer case (from Pulp Logic, who were super helpful with plotting it out). This is the first time I’ve ever used an expression pedal with my synth, thanks to one of the three tiles in the upper left corner of the box. (“Tiles” being a term for the shorter modules seen top and bottom here, above and below the ER-301 module.) Very simple little patch. Just a proof of concept. The tiny foot (well, hand) pedal is triggering the recording of a microloop (400 or so milliseconds) of the choral audio coming from the Philip Glass 80th-birthday edition of the Buddha Machine. The expression pedal is varying how much we’re hearing the inbound Glass loop, and how much we’re hearing the microloop. If you’re wondering where the Buddha Machine is sending its audio into the synth, there are jacks in the side of the case itself.

For further patch-documentation purposes, here are two shots of the synthesizer:

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

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Paper Music

When the machines fail us

The semi-bad news is I spent a considerable amount of time a year or so ago researching how people notate their synthesizer patches, never coming to a conclusion that I felt was (yet) substantial enough to write about. That is, how they draw, or photograph, or otherwise annotate for future reference the combination of cables and knobs, sliders and (increasingly) menu settings of their modules.

The not unrelated good news is, having done that work, I had developed some fledgling ideas as to how to accomplish such a task, ideas I drew upon this evening when my camera failed to record audio for what would have been the day’s Buddha Machine Variation.

The second of the images below is how I transcribed some menu settings (on the ER-301 module, using the Feedback Looper unit). I was, apparently, especially (presciently?) primed to take these notes, because the first of these two images is something I wrote in a notebook last night when an idea for today’s patch first suggested itself. So, these are the before and after. What’s missing is the middle, the actual recording.

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