Soundbox One

Posted in Documentation on August 30th, 2010 by admin

Freshly made this evening for tomorrow’s journey to Hungary and the sound workshops that will happen there–the speaker box that is, not the little blue noise-synth, which was made in Norway last year. The reference to my Norwegian brother down South, Tore “Origami” Boe and his Acoustic Laptops is obvious. Testing with a contact mic and a distortion pedal produced amazingly rich and textured feedback possibilities!

Speaking of Boe, here’s a video from the workshop I invited him to do in Berlin in the summer of 2009 as part of the summercampworkstation project. Enjoy…

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Hungarian tour/post-ISEA

Posted in Text on August 28th, 2010 by admin

Hungarian Tour

From 31 August until 5 September, I will be joining András Nun (UH Fest, Budapest), Luka Ivanovic (Luka Toyboy, Beograd), Balázs Pándi (Merzbow drummer/A38, Budapest) and Péter Szabó (Jackie Triste, Budapest) for a tour of various locations in Hungary related to András’ work with human interest NGOs.

András has described the theme of our excursions as Poverty and Exclusion in Hungary–or–What Can an International Festival Representing Peripheral Music Do About the Problem of People Forced to the Periphery, How Can It Act Against Their Exclusion? and the project has tie-ins to the upcoming UH Festival in Budapest in October.

Our trip will take us through the cities/regions of Monor, Budapest, Esztergom, Vanyarc, Szomolya, Berettyóújfalu and Bicske and will end with a sound workshop for young Afghan refugees. A challenging situation to be sure, but one I look forward to!

ISEA Disasters

On the topic of challenging situations…I just returned from my participation in the KHM Heavy Matter show at ISEA 2010 in Dortmund. I had much harsher words lined up about the way this event unfolded, which I will refrain from putting into print.

Suffice to say that, in spite of massive infrastructural shortcomings and an almost complete lack of support from the venue (an investment-wreck shopping mall) or the organizations involved, I at least succeeded in playing one half hour set of extremely loud and chaotic analog synthesizer sound in the confines of a very small elevator. Photos and sounds soon…

ISEA Highlights

Besides this glorious waste of my own time and money, the weekend there was brightened by seeing exhibited projects by Natalie Bewernitz & Marek Goldowski, Aernoudt Jacobs, Yunchul Kim, Herwig Weiser, HC Gilje, Carsten Nicolai, Sophie Bélair Clément and Joyce Hinterding at the two major locations in Dortmund.

The Arctic Perspectives show organized by Hartware Medienkunst Verein at the Phoenix Halle was also mind-blowing in its scale, and could easily consume several days of attention with its collection of videos, field recordings, literature and architectural models.

Climbing around in the beautiful rust-scape of the abandoned factory next to the Phoenix Halle was certainly worth the trip, and seeing the collection of analog synths at Institute for Computer Music and Electronic Media (ICEM) in Essen-Werden was a memorable experience, even if it meant sitting through almost an entire day of dry, cliched electroacoustic compositions (sometimes with goddamned opera singers!) to get to that point. And finally props to the Estonians for You Must Relax – A Day Without the Mobile Phone, by Eve Arpo and Riin Rõõs. If only every day could be so nice!

Thanks go out to Servando Barreiro for being Da Roadie, and to Timo Toots for being Da Man!

Now Playing

bruno madernamusica elettronica[1994 stradivarius]
common eider, king eiderworn[2010 root strata]
david tudorneural synthesis nos. 6-9[1995 lovely]
earle brownselected works 1952-1965[2006]
grouperhold-sick 7″[2010 room40]
heart museumleaf[2010 mars pyramid]
heckerneu[2010 editions mego]
jan jelinek & masayoshi fujitabird lake objects[2010 faitiche]
keiji haino & pan sonicin the studio 2LP[2010 blast first petite]
mood organcalcinatio 52 x C13, vols. 9 & 10[2010 self-released][thx timm!]
nadjasky burial[2010 latitudes]
the dan people (ivory coast)dan masks[1993 ocora]
various artistsforge your own chains-heavy psychedelic ballads and dirges 1968-1974[2010 now-again]
various artistsmata la pena-a compilation of international music[2010 mississippi]
various artistsstring of pearls_jewels of the 78rpm era 1918-1951[2010 mississippi]
von goatseptic illumination[2010 nuclear war now!]

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Updated Doepfer/Analogue Systems/Eurorack sale

Posted in Announcement on August 25th, 2010 by admin

(click photo to enlarge)

Still available:

Doepfer Pocket Control 16 knob MIDI controller, early version with black/blue paint and yellow lettering SOLD
Doepfer A-128 Fixed Filter Bank  SOLD
Doepfer A-135 Voltage Controlled Mixer SOLD
Doepfer A-175 Voltage Inverter SOLD
Doepfer A-198 TRC Trautonium Ribbon Controller SOLD
Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb SOLD
Doepfer A-174-1 Joy-Stick SOLD
Doepfer A-136 Distortion/Waveshaper SOLD
Doepfer A-138 Mixer (exp) SOLD
Doepfer A-100P6 Suitcase 220V SOLD
Dual Lag Processor (DIY Livewire Dual Bissel Generator) SOLD
Dual Lag Processor (DIY Livewire Dual Bissel Generator SOLD
Dual Tonepad Rebote Delay (DIY digital delay) SOLD
Dual Tonepad Rebote Delay (DIY digital delay) SOLD
Assortment of Patch Cables 11 x 25cm (black), 7 x 50cm (gray), 9 x 75cm (red) SOLD
Analogue Systems RS-30 Frequency To Voltage Converter/Envelope Follower SOLD
Analogue Systems RS-40 Noise / Sample & Hold / Clock SOLD
Set of 31 undrilled blank aluminum panels SOLD

This Eurorack system is located in Berlin, Germany. All modules are in perfect condition unless noted, and all modules are fully functional. Prices do not include shipping, I will send a quote for that once we have agreed on what you would like to buy. I would be happy to show the system to anyone in town, or make additional photos for those in other cities/countries. I can offer a discount to anyone purchasing several modules at once, and the best price would be for the entire remaining system. This page will be updated to include any changes in availability or pricing.

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Heavy Matter/ISEA Dortmund

Posted in Announcement on August 17th, 2010 by admin

From tomorrow, 18 August until Tuesday 24 August I will be in Dortmund Germany taking part in the Heavy Matter exhibition by the KHM Cologne for ISEA. I will perform on 19 August and 23 August, and you can find details of that performance below.

Heavy Matter
Westfalenforum Dortmund / Orchesterzentrum|NRW, Dortmund
20th to 29th of August 2010
Exhibition opening hours: daily 10:00-20:00

Opening @ Westfalenforum: Thursday 19 August 2010, 18:00
Performance evening @ Westfalenforum: Monday 23 August 2010, 20:00

At the turn of the 21st Century, new media has become a matter of course and the technology of electronic data processing is constantly being perfected. Just how immaterial is data really? Does it not carry a certain amount of weight, after all? In the exhibition – developed by students and members of the teaching staff of the KHM – the immaterial is exposed as “Heavy Matter”. Heavy does matter: objectively, physically and financially. Matter appears as an autonomous (disruptive) factor between transmitter and receiver.

Exhibition with the participation of:

Céline Berger, Jongwon Choi, Tobias Daemgen, Anna Gonzalez Suero, Akiro Hellgardt, Echo Ho/Lasse Scherffig, Derek Holzer, Hörner/Antlfinger, Sion Jeong, Sunjha Kim, Theresa Krause, Karin Lingnau, Ji Hyun Park, Jun Park, So Young Park, Laura Popplow, Martin Rumori, Miri Shin, Wonbaek Shin, Tine Tillman

Brückstraße 47
44135 Dortmund

Kampstraße 37-39
44137 Dortmund

Cthonian Cell Observation I (Continuous Pressure Wave for Elevator Car)

Sound Performance, 2010

An evening-long concert drawing on the underworld mythology of heavy metal and noise music for an audience of one, taking place in the narrow confines of an elevator car filled with an overpowering, physical mass of sound pressure.

More info on this performance here.

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Chaotic Colorfields

Posted in Text on August 14th, 2010 by admin


The Chaotic Colorfields performance exploits the psychological intensification which pulsed light adds to the audience’s perception of a sonic event, as well as the physical effect upon the receptors of the eye created by contrasting colorfields. Four colored strobes are directly driven by a self-built analog synthesizer set up to calculate a variety of chaotic feedback systems. Louder than bright and brighter than loud.

Upcoming Performances

EDIT: I’ve decided to postpone this one a bit, to spend more time on making it the best it can possibly be. Upcoming shows in Den Haag, Budapest and Aalborg will be solo improvisations for self-built analog synthesizer without the strobes…


* Self-built Analog Modular Synthesizer w/ Light Controller Module
* Stereo or Quadrophonic (preferred) PA System
* Four 1500W or brighter DMX Strobelights, each with one Color Filter (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow/Orange)
* Smoke Machine
* Total Darkness


Chaotic Synthesis

Chaotic systems are deterministic dynamic systems that have a high sensitivity to initial conditions. Only dynamic systems that include a nonlinear feedback path are capable of chaotic behavior. Common examples of chaotic systems include coupled pendulums, pseudorandom number generators, and the earth’s weather system[…] Nonlinearity and feedback are necessary conditions for the existence of chaotic processes.[1]

The Colour Out of Space

The colour, which resembled some of the bands in the meteor’s strange spectrum, was almost impossible to describe; and it was only by analogy that they called it colour at all…

…as the column of unknown colour flared suddenly stronger and began to weave itself into fantastic suggestions of shape which each spectator described differently, there came from poor tethered Hero such a sound as no man before or since ever heard from a horse[…] That was the last of Hero till they buried him next day.[2]

Imaginary Colors

Non-physical, unrealizable, or imaginary colors are points in a color space that correspond to combinations of cone cell responses that cannot be produced by any physical (non-negative) light spectrum.[3] Thus, no object can have an imaginary color, and imaginary colors cannot be seen under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, they are useful as mathematical abstractions for defining color spaces.[4]

Perception of Imaginary Colors

If a saturated green is viewed until the green receptors are fatigued and then a saturated red is viewed, a perception of red more intense than pure spectral red can be experienced. This is due to the fatigue of the green receptors and the resulting lack of their ability to desaturate the perceptual response to the output of the red receptors.[5]

Color as Subjective Experience

In a viewer’s experience, the perceptual interpretation of the context is expressed in the color itself; we usually cannot, or only with unreasonable effort, separate the “real” color from its context. In particular, we are normally completely unaware of the “cognitive” aspects of color perception — discounting the illuminant, spatial perspective, shadows, memory, object concepts, available color labels, and so on.[6]

[1]Slater, Dan, “Chaotic Sound Synthesis”, Computer Music Journal 22.2 19 September 1998, pp 12-19.
[2]Lovecraft, H.P., “The Colour Out of Space“, “Amazing Stories” September 1927.
[3]MacEvoy, Bruce, “Light and the Eye”,
[5]Lindsay, Peter and Norman, Donald, “Human Information Processing,” Academic Press, 1972, pp 196–216.
[6]MacEvoy, Bruce, “Basic Forms of Color”,

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Tiny Noise showcase/TodaysArt, Den Haag 25 September 2010

Posted in Announcement on August 14th, 2010 by admin

Tiny Noise showcase/TodaysArt
subject = LOUDNESS

De Vinger, Bagijnestraat 25
Den Haag 25 September 2010

Andre Goncalvez [PT]
Derek Holzer [USA/DE]
John Fanning/Massaccesi[USA]
Koray Tahiroglu [TU/FI]
Kyd Campbell [CAN/DE]
DJ Toni Dimitrov/Every Kid on Speed[MK]

Looking forward to the chance to do another chaotic synth-controlled strobe piece here. Thanks to Kyd for hooking the whole deal up!

Now Playing

g.i. gurdjieffmeetings with remarkable men book [1963]
starkweatherthis sheltering night[2010 deathwish inc]
throneslate for dinner 7″[2010 conspiracy]

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Testing for Chaos

Posted in Announcement on August 9th, 2010 by admin

The following are tests of the chaotic synthesis system I’m working on, and in no way should be considered “finished pieces”:



Modules used in these recordings:

Thomas Henry XR-2206 VCO (Bugbrand PCB layout)(VCO range)
Thomas Henry XR-2206 VCO (Bugbrand PCB layout)(LFO range)
Ian Fritz EZ Chaos (Uncle Krunkus stripboard layout)

In the first example, chaos01.mp3, the triangle waveform of the LFO drives the EZ Chaos. The Z (marked NL on schematic) output of the EZ Chaos drives the 1V/Oct input of the VCO. Both Drive and Rate pots are set about at the middle, and the Damping is totally turned down. As you can hear, it maintains a very steady modulation. The changes in modulation pattern only come from my manually adjusting the LFO.

In the second example, chaos02.mp3, the poti settings and routing remain the same from chaos01.mp3. However, I have routed the Y output to the Linear FM of the LFO, and the X output to the Exponential FM of the LFO. The modulations become much more chaotic in this setup. Through the clip, I adjust the depth of the LinFM, ExpFM and the general rate of the LFO. Better, don’t you think?

For me, the modulation patterns in chaos01.mp3 sound to me like a non-linear transfer function, but don’t sound chaotic at all in the sense that the transfer function remains almost identical for every cycle of the LFO at any frequency tested.

My understanding of chaotic synthesis usually involves feedback between at least two–but in my experiments up to 8–cross-modulated VCOs with a non-linear function in the feedback loop. The results tend towards certain attractors, but every cycle is distinct from the previous one, even if after 3 or 7 or 15 cycles you might return to a common origin.

Assuming that my EZ Chaos circuit functions as it should, the benefit I see out of it would be the ability to make chaotic patterns from a single LFO through the feedback. Normally I would have to use 2 or more LFOs to get the same kind of chaotic oscillations.

However, by itself I don’t hear chaos coming from this circuit, only non-linearity. It’s the feedback in chaos02.mp3 that makes it chaotic for me. Looking at a double well attractor on the scope is one thing, but hearing it is the proof…

Updated info on the chaos circuit as well as some tuning tips can be found on the Elby Designs page for their ED108-ChaQuO module.

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UH Fest Budapest 9 Oct 2010

Posted in Announcement on August 9th, 2010 by admin

Just confirmed to play UH Fest on the night of 9 October, sandwiched tightly in between one workshop in Malmö and another in Bergen that I will post about later on. The UH set will be solo for chaotic analog synthesizer, smoke and lights.

So far the confirmed artists for the night are:

Derek Holzer
Lau Nau
Valerio Tricoli with Robert Piotrowicz
Thomas Fehlmann

More fun than a poke in the eye!

Now Playing

antoine chessexle point immobile 3″ cd[2010 mnoad]
antoine chessex & valerio tricolichessex/tricoli 12″[2010 dilemma][merci antoine!!!]
bastard noisea culture of monsters cd[2010 deep six]
don hasslerno subsequent interference cd[2010 vicmod]
elu of nineelu of the nine cs[2010 woodsmoke]
jason r. butcherchaotic synthesis recording #3 cd[2009][thx jason!!!]
keith barnardcolour harmonies cs[1985]
neanderthalofficial discography[1990-92]

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Analog Multiplier Module

Posted in Documentation on August 3rd, 2010 by admin


This synthesizer module allows “Buchlidian” style processing of three input voltages. It can do much of what the original Buchla 257 Voltage Processor does: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The only feature of the 257 it lacks is the ability to “transfer control” (i.e. interpolate) between the two different applied voltages

It contains one section with three attenuverting/bipolar inputs, which allow the user to sweep between the original signal on the right hand side of the potentiometer and an inverted version of the signal on the left hand side, with no signal passing through at the middle position. An offset control is also present to add a fixed DC voltage to the signal.

The other section contains an analog multiplier with three inputs, X, Y and Z, each hardwired to one of the attenuverting outputs. Output is calculated as follows:

W out = ((X1 – X2)(Y1 – Y2)) / 10V + Z

The panel contains two of each section. The X and Y inputs can be switched between AC and DC coupling, with an AC breakpoint of approximately 0.2 Hz, while the Z input is always DC coupled.


Tom Bugs described himself as a magpie to me once in regards to his circuit designs, and while working on this module I have followed his lead. The “attenuverter” sections were designed by Chris MacDonald and modified by Peter Grenader, and have been further developed by Matthias Herrmann/Fonitronik.

Likewise the analog multiplier section is really just bringing every feature of the AD633 4 quadrant multiplier chip to the front panel, with some inspiration from Roman Sowa’s Ring Modulator design, as well as Marc Bareille’s adaption of that same design.

[click schematic to enlarge]


The AD633 documentation shows different applications such as simple multiplication, squaring and division as well as more complex tasks such as a linear Voltage Controlled Amplifier as well as 6dB/Octave Voltage Controlled Filters and a Quadrature Oscillator (both not shown here). The most common sonic use of this IC is for ring modulator circuits.

However, my main application for this is the creation of different kinds of transfer functions for use in chaotic synthesis. I discovered how useful the analog multiplier is while experimenting with the Doepfer system at KHM in Cologne. Multiplying two oscillators through a ring modulator, sending the result to modulate the first oscillator and using the first to modulate the second created an amazing array of unpredictable but certainly far from random results.

In most applications shown in the datasheet, the X and Y offset pins are grounded. But while breadboarding, I discovered that the X and Y offset gave a higher level of control over the modulations, so I built them into the panel. Likewise, switching between AC and DC coupling alters the resulting sound immensely, with the best results coming from one signal being AC coupled and one being DC coupled.

Adding one of the X or Y input signals to the Z input creates a kind of VCA which strengthens the effect. Or using another signal, such as a Low Frequency Oscillator with some suitable gain and offset, adds another modulation source into the mix to provide anything from amplitude modulation to clipping.

I believe this module gets at just about any type of processing the AD633 can do, as most of the time there is no attenuation, inversion, Z input or any kind of offset available on a normal ring modulator or analog multiplier.

Sample Applications from the AD633 Datasheet

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