matrix mixer constructed

Posted in Documentation on January 25th, 2009 by admin

I’ll fill you all in on my new Ouroboros Orchestra project later on, but suffice it to say that the first two test runs will take place in Copenhagen and Tartu (Estonia) in the first two weeks of February. The project takes its inspiration from David Tudor’s “Rainforest”, work with the Buchla 200-series synth at EMS in Stockholm, the graphical scores of Iannis Xenakis, the world of no-input-mixer improvisation and all the feedback-based works that I could simply never realize using the computer.

The heart of the project is an 8×8 matrix mixer, which I completed last week. It allows DC voltage and audio signals to be routed from 8 inputs to 8 outputs. Eventually, 8 players will sit around this mixer, each playing a self-made audio circuit (Schmidt-Trigger square wave oscillators with a vactrol FM input), and their signals will be routed to each other according to a projected graphical score.

Some photos and audio from this new mixer follow. Thanks go to Ken Stone/CGS in Australia for providing some of the PCBs used and Katrin Heidorn in Berlin for help with metal fabrication in the case. The case itself is salvaged from my very first synthesizer, an SN76477 pinballgame-based sound generator that I constructed in 2001 when I was supposed to be writing my English thesis. Metal sourced and cut at Modulor.

My interest in this mixer comes from two areas. One is the ability to create dense interconnected drones, and the other is to be able to cross-modulate tiny, unique sound events. The following track is an example of the latter, and involves 4 oscillators and a digital delay run through the matrix mixer as well as my cheap Behringer desktop console. “Skinned Teeth” is in honor of the mild food poisoning I had at 6am today, and is what my mouth feels like as I write this…


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Workshops: xxxxx/CTM Berlin (+ Beograd, Copenhagen, Estonia)

Posted in Announcement on January 20th, 2009 by admin

I’ve just returned from an exhausting but fun Pure Data workshop in Beograd, Srbija for the last few days, and I’m currently getting ready for the next round of activities in Berlin, Copenhagen and Tartu (Estonia).

The Copenhagen/Tartu series will be the first installations of a new workshop/collaborative performance called Ouroboros Orchestra, based on the creation and performance by participants and intermodulation live by myself of simple, small electronic sound/noise circuits, all planned accrording to a graphical score. I’ll be posting more on this soon. Please get in touch if this workshop/performance sounds interesting for a venue near you!

The Berlin event is co-organized with Martin Howse for Club Transmediale as a public laboratory in the Kunstraum Bethanien over 9 days from 23-31 January 2009. Info below.There should be some actions/performances at the workshop space on the opening night, Friday 23 January from 19:30-22:00 featuring some of the artists involved. Hope you can make it! Otherwise, drop by the workshop between 12:00-22:00 the rest of the days of the festival to revel in ther chaos!

xxxxx_temporary_structure for Club Transmediale 2009

Tracing a clear line of development from both xxxxx_workshops: [in]tolerance during CTM.08 examining the material basis of technology and a series of life coding events in Norway and Germany, xxxxx hosts an experimental nine day structure widening the scope of construction and constructivism to embrace the social and economic structures of production and performance. Public interface is to be made explicit, inviting participation, visit and conversation.

xxxxx_temporary_structure presents the expansion of both known and less familiar constructive procedures and apparatus, for example software (Pure Data, Python) and hardware (waves, circuits, simulation) into novel territory. Software becomes script and social pragmatics, hardware expands into optics, architecture, graffiti, elaborate kinetics and novel interfaces to the world addressing biologic and physical processes; a play of light, resonance and transmission.

The relationship between structure and system is playfully opened, with the modelling of systems as core activity within the temporary lab space; simulation within both code and analogue electronics, the embedding of an internal observer allowing for a play with agents and agency.

A concern with materiality and construction forms the base for an energetic examination of all manner of diagrams, public interface (reading space, discussion), bio-computing (plant life, EEG), world interface (practical endophysics), everyday technologies (light, food), code, transitions and translations. Such disciplines branch out mushroom like, revealing instabilities and new structures across nine days, in one space, publicly accessible throughout.

xxxxx_temporary_structure is inherently experimental and interdisciplinary, inviting practitioners and artists who are well able to prise open the gaps between reified disciplines to actively create new social and constructive apparatus within the xxxxx space.

A playful laboratory is proposed which does not mark boundaries between forms and between disciplines – which rather exposes and opens up social and artistic structures for sublime experience.



Oswald Berthold [AT/DE]
Berthold ( describes himself as a semi-autonomous social particle commissioned in Graz in 1976. His interests lie in media, programming, and networks. He is associated with xdv, farmersmanual,
and gullibloon.
Keywords: software-defined radio, sniffing, wide spectrum measurement of EM intensities, practical investigations of a brain equation, societal mapping.

Derek Holzer [US/DE]
Derek Holzer’s work focuses on capturing and transforming small, unnoticed sounds from various natural and urban locations, networked collaboration strategies, experiments in improvisational sound, self-made electronics and on the use of free software such as Pure-Data.
Keywords: drawn sound, optoelectronic synthesis, systems for collaboration, more open than source, life outside the box

Martin Howse [UK/DE]
Martin Howse operates within the fields of discourse, speculative hardware (environmental data in open physical systems), code (an examination of layers of abstraction), free software and the situational (performances and interventions).
Keywords: resonance, relativity and wave-length in space and architecture for varying wave phenomena, measurement and mapping of electromagnetic(EM) field strength intensities as archaeological conceit

Martin Kuentz [DE]
Martin Kuentz (Unkuentz) is a Berlin based freelance artist. He founded the Salon Bruit, a concert series on improvised, electroacoustic and noise music, and has been involved in the Dienstbar series, Transmitting Object Behaviour (T.O.B.), Berlin free radio campaign, Blind Operators, Unkuentz vs. Trodza and apostrov recordings.
Keywords: expansive kinetic constructivism, crashed kitchen sink and bath-tub chemistry, homemade fireworks, long-term transmissions

Rob Mullender [UK]
Rob Mullender is an artist and maker living and working in London, U.K. His current preoccupations mostly concern the possible inter-relationship between sound and light; in other words using one to help find out things about the other. This has proved to be an unexpectedly complicated and fertile subject, especially when seen as an artistic rather than a scientific or engineering pursuit.
Keywords: auditory cameras, photophonics, ultrasonics, Enigma machines, sonification-as-synthesis

Shintaro Miyazaki [CH/D/JP]
Shintaro Miyazaki is interested in the epistemology of software/hardware of consumer electronics. He works as a curator, media theorist or artist in Berlin and performed solo and with ensembles in Tokyo, Leipzig, Krakow, Palma de Mallorca, Frankfurt, Basel, Zürich and Berlin.
Keywords: epistemology, sonification of software/hardware processes, eavesdroping.

Julian Oliver [NZ/ES]
Julian Oliver has given numerous workshops and master classes in game-design, artistic game-development, object-oriented programming for artists, UNIX/Linux, virtual architecture, interface design,
augmented reality and open source development practices worldwide. In 1998 he established the artistic game-development collective, Select Parks.
Keywords: environmental steganography, Python code expansion, data forensics and augmented reality softwares

Yunchul Kim [KO/DE]
Yunchul Kim studied music composition in Seoul and media art in KHM Cologne, Germany. His work has been shown in Ars Electronica, Transmediale, NewYork digital salon and Medialab Madrid amongst many others. He has been living and working in Germany since 1999 and is a guest lecturer at the Merz Academy, Institute for New Media, Stuttgart.
Keywords: chaos elaboration, interface exploration, physical code trafficking, pataphysics, imaginary pathologies

Dorotha Walentynowicz [PL/NL]
Dorotha Walentynowicz is an artist and performer who works withphotography, video and sound, as well as modified game engines andother interactive media.
Keywords: exposure, manipulation and voluntary oppression in gaming,performative communications strategies, “black box” as camera obscura

Otto Roessler [DE]
Otto Roessler reveals the power and cruelty of the rationalist project as first invoked within a dream of Rene Descartes. Through elaboration of endophysics, a science of interiority, the world as interface is implemented within potential practical, scientific and artistic experiment.
Keywords: practical endophysics, discussion of mute sperm whale communication, impending technocratic disaster analysis

Danja Vassiliev [RU/NL]
From the middle of 90s, Danja Vassiliev has been actively engaged with internet, computer and digital based visual and installation art. His most recent research and works are concentrated around topics of digital networking, internet and stereotypes of the digital age.
Keywords: literal UNIX pipes, shared communications systems, terminal VJ, swarmed networks with traffic/person as information carrier

Valentina Vuksic [CH]
Valentina Vuksic explores a highly individual articulation of hard and software mediation; the processes in such intermediate space as action thus implying actors rendered audible through novel intrusion.
Keywords: exploration of computational process as actor/staged on physical substrate (audio) rendering, comparison of crash spectra

+ participants from the public selection:

Georg Holzmann
Jonathan Kemp
Lars Lundehave Hansen
Lindsay Brown
Shintaro Miyazaki
Verena Friedrich
Walter Langelaar
Will Scrimshaw

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Posted in Text on January 3rd, 2009 by admin

Current location =

Mooste, Estonia (photo: Pippa Buchanan)

Warning: obligatory year-end music post follows…

I decided to concentrate only on zero-eight releases, rather than catalog the expanse of my music vision quests of the last year. Some notes for future ethnographers:

AsvaWhat You Don’t Know Is Frontier [2008 Southern]
Morricone-style doom, moving through motions and moods. Excited to see them at Club Transmediale 2009!

Birchville Cat MotelFour Freckle Constellation [2008 Conspiracy]
What could be one of the (many) final BCM records as Campbell Kneale seeks self-renewal through a name change. A standout release on a standout label from one man who probably releases every minute he has ever committed to tape at some point or another…

BJ Nilsen & StilluppsteypaPassing Out [2008 Helen Scarsdale]
Third in a trilogy of dark drone drinking songs, guaranteed to put me to sleep every time I play it.

Burial HexInitiations [2008 Aurora Borealis]
Glad to have discovered this creepy drone project for the End Tymes this past year.

CoffinsBuried Death [2008 20 Buck Spin]
No surprises here, just sick Japanese doom the way I like it.

Daniel MencheBody Melt [2008 Important]
Daniel MencheGlass Forest [2008 Important]
A pair of releases for Important records, one vinyl and one CD. Menche seems to have reneged on his promise to produce only vinyl or DVD releases, but both of these stand loud and proud in their own right regardless of the media they reach you in.

DystopiaDystopia [2008 Life Is Abuse]
A few short, somewhat lackluster tracks and a very long and boring cut up of schizo voices still teleports me back to the crust haven of Oakland California in the mid 90’s. Perhaps a swansong which didn’t really need releasing so long after the fact, but it did get me digging out their first couple of absolutely powerful records again.

EarthThe Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull [2008 Southern Lord]
This is what happens when doom goes country.

Ghast & YogaSplit [2008 Choking Harzard]
Ghast is screeching sandpaper on the vocal chords, heavy doom like a barbell dropped on your foot, while Yoga is odd, almost psychedelic sounding horror soundtracks. Look this one up.

GHQEverywhere At Once [2008 Threelobed]
Spacey American-style psychedelic folk-drone-rock whatever featuring Marcia Basset from Hototogisu/Double Leopards.

GrailsDoomsdayer’s Holiday [2008 Temporary Residence]
Further installment of Middle Eastern riff-rock from these Portland ambassadors.

HellhammerDemon Entrails [2008 Prowlin Death Records]
Crucial reissue of Celtic Frost prehistory! A band which was truly despised during it’s time, but went on to inspire so many others.

Isengrind, Twinsistermoon, Natural Snow BuildingsThe Snowbringer Cult [2008 Students Of Decay]
Natural Snow BuildingsSung to the North [2008 Students Of Decay]
Natural Snow Buildings are everything a “free folk” collective should be: mysterious, reclusive, a young couple in love and (most often ignored in this genre) capable of actually playing their instruments. Requisite delay pedals are at hand of course, but there is a sense of craft missing from the endless hours of Sunburned Jackie-O noodling which piles up in record bins of the world out there already. Isengrind and Twinsistermoon are solo projects of the two French musicians who make up Natural Snow Buildings. I don’t use the word blissful often or lightly, so take me serious here…

Josh LayPoison Drinker [2008 Sentient Recognition Archive]
Sick delirium tremens exorcism from one of my new fav noise/drone Americans.

Kevin DrummSnow [2008 Hospital Productions]
Another classic, in the same level of strength as Sheer Hellish Miasma, but moving in the opposite direction–from the near-indecipherable complexity, extreme frequency modulation and sheer noise terror of the earlier release to a sublime simplicity of carefully controlled feedback. And an evil punchline waiting in the wings…

Kiss The Anus of a Black CatThe Nebulous Dreams [2008 Kraaak]
I never gave much time to the neo-folk template laid out by Current 93, Death in June, Blood Axis, etc etc, so maybe this Belgian project gives the genre a special new shimmer and a sense of energy and wonder which these older projects mostly lacked. Or maybe it would be better to call KTAOABC something else entirely. Think guitar haze, organs droning, lush arrangements and sung vocals leading you down mossy garden paths.

MachinefabriekDauw [2008 Dekorder]
MachinefabriekMort Aux Vaches [2008 Staalplaat]
Another artist who probably puts out just about any little dithering he comes up with in the studio, Machinefabriek’s unending stream of releases can be very hit or miss (the indie-guitar-pop-sounding records, for example, can only be referred to as miserable) and call into question for me whether it’s always a good idea to be one’s own label or editor. Luckily, 2008 was gifted with two very beautiful sets of recordings–one a series of understated remixes done over the years and the other a studio set put together for a radio appearance on the Dutch VPRO and inspired by Oren Ambarchi’s recording in the same Mort Aux Vaches series.

NekrasovThe Form of Thought From Beast [2008 self released]
One-man experimental black metal, from Australia where apparently Mr. Nekrasov can still find a dark corner to hide in.

O.S.T.Waetka [2008 Ideal]
Electronica has become such a minuscule part of my world over the past few years, but this particular release of sliding, shifting non-rhythms, crackling fuzz and warped frequency layers is so far from the boring run of the mill IDM or polite laptop music which somehow still survives in Berlin and elsewhere (I suppose), and gave me some renewal of faith that the computer may not be a totally dead instrument yet.

RevengeInfiltration. Downfall. Death. [2008 Anti-Goth]
Normally, macho American “brutal” death metal appeals to me about as much as reading the kind of teenage hate poetry that most would-be Columbine killers might scribble on the backs of ketchup-stained Denny’s napkins. This one caught my interest for fairly mundane reasons–being featured in one of my favorite music blogs–so I kept it around and somehow the “brutality” grew on me. “Pulls no punches” might be one hackneyed music pundit phrase that applies.

RobedoorShapeshifter Slave [2008 Olde English Spelling Bee]
RobedoorShrine to the Possessor [2008 Music Fellowship]
Slithers, fire and knives. Harsher than Burial Hex but still quite spooky, and perhaps even something of a jam thrown in. Very glad to make their musical acquaintance in zero-eight.

Rudimentary PeniNo More Pain [2008 Southern]
While not nearly so brain-melting or classic as Death Church, which sent my 19 year old mind on so many black-and-white London death trips so long ago, No More Pain does prove that everyone’s favorite goth-punk paranoid-schizophrenic basket case Nick Blinko still has what it takes. (No, I wasn’t 19 when Death Church came out in 1983. This salty old dog isn’t that old and salty…)

SalomeSalome [2008 Vendetta]
Southern in the “South shall rise again” sense, Salome features the next challenger to Monarch’s cute-with-razor-scars Hello Kitty doom princess vocalist. I imagine the victims of facial acid attacks in Pakistan might sound similar to this particular lady. Guitars, drums, no bass but you might not notice. Vendetta, the label, happens to be local Berlin kids, which gives me an extra little kick.

Stefan Kushima Don’t Touch the Walls [2008 Blackest Rainbow]
Fantastically deep drone release from a fresh-faced newcomer.

Sun ArawThe Phyn [2008 Not Not Fun]
Southern California psych-folk freak-down. Fun in the desert sun.

Sunn O)))Domkirke [2008 Southern Lord]
Sorry, but I’m a sucker for church organs. Nuff said.

TreesLights Bane [2008 Crucial Blast]
I’m also a sucker for bands/artists from the US Pacific Northwest (Grails, Wolves in the Throne Room, Daniel Menche, Thrones, Yellow Swans…) so I was thrilled to discover my old stomping grounds of Portland Oregon had spawned a world-class screeching, plodding blackened doom machine. If only it didn’t cost me $30K in unpaid student loans to go back and live there…

Various ArtistsLast Kind Words [2008 Mississippi]
Various ArtistsLove is Love [2008 Mississippi]
Just about everything that (Portland again!) Mississippi Records releases is golden. They are crate diggers in the finest sense. Last Kind Words collects rare 78’s from the “other black music”… no not Scandinavian metal but classic Blues and Gospel from the 1920’s through the early 50’s. Perfect for when the devil is busy tormenting somebody else someplace else, for a change. And Love is Love charts another one of my (sometimes neglected) fascinations–African funk, rock and pop music from the 1960’s and 70’s.

Yellow SwansAt All Ends [2008 Weird Forest]
Yellow Swans decided to call it quits this year, a fact which leaves me a little sad since I never got to see them play live here in Europe or during one of my short trips to the USA. But that doesn’t mean that, like BCM or Machinefabriek, they aren’t sitting on hours of archives. Yellow Swans may be releasing well into 2009 at least, all welcome doses of droney noise, feedback, guitar and pulsey strangeness.

Some honorable band mentions, which are not 2008 releases but new discoveries this year or late last year:

Alethes, Ashdautus, Birushanah, Bone Awl, Burmese, Chaos Moon, Darkthrone, Dead Raven Choir, Double Leopards, Drudkh, Eldrig, Elk, Geronimo, Glorior Belli, Hala Strana, Hatewave, Jon Mueller, Kinit Her, Njiqahdda, Old Wainds, Sarin Smoke, Skepticism, Taiga Remains, Unbeing, Von, When, White/Light. Yes, it’s very un-kvlt to admit to just picking up a Darkthrone or Von CD in 2008, but these kind of scene credentials are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things, aren’t they?

And finally, some props to some of my favorite music blogs and forums for keeping my ears stuffed all the last year: Cosmic Hearse, Kick to Kill and MetalArea.


…are made to be broken. Mine mostly involve not doing more, but actually doing less. Taking on less projects, finishing the ones I’ve already started. Trying to find a few stable jobs rather than all this scrambling around for gigs right at the time I realize I’m about to run out of money. Finishing my new Buchla-inspired synthesizer. Finishing the Pure Data FLOSS Manual. Finishing a CD using the new synthesizer. Might as well throw learning to levitate or finding a demon familiar in there in the process. Happy New year to all and good luck with whatever promises you might have to break in zero nine.

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