Prototyping/Analog Computer Modules

Posted in Documentation on July 30th, 2010 by admin

I’ve been having some great correspondence with Jason R. Butcher about Buchla synthesizers, analog computers and chaotic synthesis techniques. He reminded me of a very special version of the Buchla 200 Music Box, created by Don Buchla for an electronics and cello work by Ami Radunskaya called Sili-Con Cello in about 1978 or 1979.

One of its features was a breadboard prototyping module, seen in the upper left corner. Here, Buchla created custom circuits to respond to the performance gestures of acoustic instruments in the era before Pure Data or Max/MSP.

[Photo from The Audities Foundation]

Jason showed me his own version of the breadboard module, which just happened to look a lot like a panel I spec’ed out last night. Here’s the completed module mounted in the case this afternoon. Each panel component (potentiometers and banana jacks) is routed to the terminals (the green areas), which in turn can be jumpered anywhere on the breadboard.

My first task with this module will be to design a “Buchlidian” style control voltage processor. It will contain one section with an attenuverting/bipolar input with offset and another section with an analog multiplier. The panel will have two of each section. It can do much of what the original Buchla 257 Voltage Processor does: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division…

The only thing it won’t be able to do is the “transfer control” (i.e. interpolate) between the two different applied voltages (although this could probably be done with a pair of Voltage Controlled Amplifiers rigged up as a cross-fader).

This new processor module represents one section of a larger analog computer project I plan to use for developing new chaotic synthesis techniques. The other sections would be a set of integrators (planned), an analog logic section (completed) and a suite of tools for working with digital pulses (comparators, clock dividers, digital logic and digital noise–all planned).

Of course, this prototyping module could also be used to lay out other kinds of non-linearizing functions to stick in the chaotic feedback paths. I’ll document those as they come up.

Discussions over the last year or so with Martin Howse continue to remind me that analog computers evolved out of the V2 rocket program and were mainly designed to control the flight path of missiles. In fact, just about anything used in electronic music has some sort of seedy military past. Our art is nothing more than a byproduct of the quest to more accurately drop bombs on each other, something I’m sure both Stockhausen and Kraftwerk were acutely aware of…

As for Mr. Butcher, check out his wild, live analog synthesizer project with Don Hassler. Buchla 200 Music Box vs EMS Synthi A, highly recommended!

Hassler/Butcher, Eyedrum, Atlanta 31.03.10

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New synth modules, July 2010

Posted in Documentation on July 28th, 2010 by admin

Hot off the bench! Click to enlarge!

Dual Serge 1973 Voltage Controlled Filter (CGS)
Dual Active Real Ring Modulator (CGS)
Quad Joystick Controller (Macumbista)
Quad Resonant Lopass Gate 292 (Buchla/T. White)

Think I’m gonna build me a little analog computer next, something like this one. All this stuff should get put to good, chaotic feedbacking use for my ISEA Dortmund performance in a few weeks.

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Mal Au Pixel photos

Posted in Documentation on July 28th, 2010 by admin

On 25 June, 2010, I played a live synthesizer improvisation in the hot, airless basement of Le Chat Noir, Paris. Accompanying me on this journey through the depths was Andreas Siagian (House of Natural Fiber, Jogjakarta), who made amazing video projections directly onto the audience from his position just behind me. Thanks to Mal Au Pixel for a fantastic time in Paris!!!!!!

All photos by Sylvie Astié (Dokidoki) except the last one of me and organizer Kevin Bartoli standing over my “busker’s suitcase” by Mathieu Margueri (Mal Au Pixel). You can see more Mal Au Pixel photos on their Flickr pageMathieu Margueri’s Picasa and Nathalie Aubry’s Flickr. You can also read Nathalie’s report on the festival for Pixelache.

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Neanderthal Electronics Aalborg, DK 20-23 October 2010

Posted in Announcement on July 20th, 2010 by admin

We are happy to announce the first confirmed artist for APPARAT.

Those in love with the art of sounds (and noise ! ) can already count the days until Derek Holzer (US) arrives to Aalborg. HIs main profile is precisely the studies of noise and its art-tech application. Holzer will run a four-days long workshop under the title Neanderthal Electronics where the participants will construct their own personal analog synthesizers and in the end they will collaborate in a public performance. During this workshop both simple-primitive/found objects and modern devices (capacitors, transistors, LEDs, sensors and different audio inputs etc) will be applied in order to achieving the perfect and very personal sound environment.

Beside leading the noise-workshop Holzer will perform himself as well. A solo and improvised performance will be presented by him and a bunch of analog sound equipment.

Please note that pre-registering is required for the workshop. More info on this to come.

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tomoko sauvage + noyadeasper #1 winter 09 split lp[2009 asper](arigato tomoko-chan!!!)
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