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Of Patterns and Patternists; A Sonocybernetic Manifesto

everything before this document-in other words, my life-has been research for what this document lays out; a multi-dimensional language orbiting a sono-spatial musical protocol. Read More

The John Coltrane Theory

what if along the way to looking for transcendence, coltrane discovered that he was trapped in a psychic matrix made of sound? what if all that we perceive as his genius was actually him trying to escape this construct? Read More

How to design a wireless 3d printed digital musical interface

A friend asked me if I could give her some pointers on how to start designing a 3d printed digital musical interface. realizing that the answer would be more than a few paragraphs I decided to write a blog post on the topic, for posterity. Read More

What would CYBORG mean if the word were invented today?

Part 1 of 3 Read More

Bitcoin, Art and Thermodynamics

The first of a series of notes and thoughts on the evolution of self realization through sonic pattern creation and feedback.(2 of 3) Read More

A 21st Century Musicians Guide to Busking-Free Ebook

Ever thought about performing in public with electronic gear? I wrote an ebook on the subject which is available for free download. click this link and happy busking! Read More

TED TALKS

A playlist of all the TED and TEDx talks Ive done over the last few years Read More

Through the looking glass...
"I am a guy i thought up when i was a kid..."

Latest News

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The future was already here: Detroit’s Afrofuturist enclaves

 

I Excerpted this from an article that first appeared in the Detroit Metrotimes weekly August 10th, 2016 to use as my bio for a while because it is so beautifully written. Please take the time to read the article in it entirety at the link below. it goes into wonderfully narrative detail about the afrofuturist thinkers that populate detroit and make it a wonderful place to express new ideas.

http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/the-future-was-already-here-detroits-afrofuturist-enclaves/Content?oid=2459448

By Aaron Robertson

13925616_10157273832550704_5981008605706911864_o (1)

 

"This architecture cannot be subjected to any law of historical continuity. It must be new, just as our state of mind is new." – Antonio Sant'Elia, "Manifesto of Futurist Architecture" (1914)

 

Concrescence

Onyx Ashanti no longer calls himself a cyborg. For now, he has mostly retreated from the world, confining himself to the underground. He is made of spare parts: taulman nylon, Arduino circuit boards, elastic bands, LED lights. He has created himself from materials so cheap you'd think he'd salvaged them.

Ashanti dropped "cyborg" after reading Norbert Wiener's groundbreaking 1948 book Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, where the term was first introduced. In the book, Wiener distinguishes the biological organism from the cybernetic device.

"I don't like the idea of considering myself to be the organism in that system," Ashanti says. "There's a word: 'concrescence.' It is a point of higher order in a field of lower order. Which out of these two words concatenated sounds like it's the field of higher order? Cybernetics — a designed system — or organism? Makes it sound like it's an amoeba."

Ashanti says he was once taken by the romantic imagery of the cyborg. Who wouldn't want to be the Six Million Dollar Man or Geordi La Forge?

But then Ashanti became disillusioned.

"All of the imagery and meaning that word has been encoded with leans toward the cyborg being a corporate-created slave," he continues. "It's the man-machine hybridization of the word 'nigger.' It's controlled. It's like in every movie, in every case, never have you heard of a cyborg inventing himself."

Ashanti and I are sitting at a picnic table at the Ohana Gardens Detroit in Highland Park. Ohana is an urban farm collective, and the gardens themselves are hidden behind a block of two-story apartments that are drab in contrast to the colorful crops. Owners Diane and Keith Hoye describe their haven as a "better-than-organic farm" because, in addition to other plants, they grow microgreens — vegetables not much larger than sprouts that are revered for their nutritious and aesthetic values.

Ashanti, who moved to Detroit two years ago, was brought to Ohana by a black mycologist named Kilindi Iyi. Iyi organizes an annual conference in the city on entheogens, chemical substances used to achieve transcendence in concert with other practices like prayer and yoga. Such radical open-mindedness in a majority black metropolis appealed to Ashanti, who has used psychedelics as spiritual conductive for his music. The Hoyes welcomed his presence and temporarily put him up in a guesthouse on the property.

The tree in the middle of the Gardens is like an altar encircled by overturned plant beds, trash bins, and a freestanding wire frame that would be prettier on a walkway. Three vivid paintings by community members depicting downtown Detroit hang from the tree. There is also ample land for two greenhouses, the aforementioned guesthouse, and an adorned fence by the celebrated Detroit artist Olayami Dabls.

Picture 390I'd followed Ashanti through the greenhouses, where he — wearing nylon "exo-feet," an olive green tank top, and cargo pants — harvested ingredients for a salad.

He spoke sweetly of the plants' personalities, which he had come to know through this daily gathering ritual. It's what he does to be productive when he faces a design problem in his "lab," a dim, cramped basement in one of the Ohana apartments.

No, he wasn't a cyborg. I hadn't known a bionic man to have such a fondness for Mother Earth.

Ashanti is from the boonies of the South, a tiny town in Mississippi called Iuka. After majoring in music at Grambling State University, he moved to Atlanta, where he played the tenor sax as a street busker. Shortly after the 1996 Olympics, he migrated to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and then back to San Fran. Around the same time as hip-hop DJs and the great Detroit techno musicians were transforming live music, Ashanti was discovering instruments like the Yamaha WX5 wind controller, essentially a keyboard and flute spliced together, which he found at a pawn shop. Ashanti turned to FruityLoops, a digital audio workstation that eliminated the burden of heavy instruments, and MaxMSP, an accessible programming language that lets dedicated laymen create interactive sound landscapes.

Then something changed. MaxMSP gave way to another language called Pure Data, an open-source project that enabled musicians to make external sensors that received information and performed specific functions. It was, simply, a new nervous system. Ashanti's wind controller could do things it had never done, but there were still limitations. He could only do what the technology manufacturers had prescribed. Still, Pure Data was the primordial stuff that would spawn something unforeseen.

"I knew at that time that once I was able to free my hands, once I could do one thing with one hand and could control a different set of parameters with my other hand ... I could do multiple things at the same time and give the impression that I'm doing vastly more on top of that," Ashanti says.

exo-handWe eat a salad that tastes like earth and Bragg Liquid Aminos, and Ashanti puts on an orange nylon glove that has been lying beside our bowls like a severed hand. It resembles a skeletal prototype of Iron Man's laser glove. There are sensors above each knuckle and, Ashanti explains, the amount of pressure one applies to these sensors will determine which musical notes and parameters are played. A circle on the palm of his hand will replace a drum machine. Want more reverb? Less delay? A conga drum instead of a snare? An immense combination of choices will be controllable with a single exo-hand.

"Exo-hand" and "exo-foot" are some of the neologisms that Ashanti has coined over the last two years. You wouldn't be wrong to call him a musician, per se, but Ashanti prefers the term "patternist," which describes the network of telepaths from Octavia Butler's 1977 novel Mind of My Mind. Ashanti's particular patternist is what he calls a sonocyb, and the instrument he is developing with 3-D printers (including a mask called the exo-mask) will form part of an interface he is calling Sonocyb 1. The music will be called sonocybin (sonic plus psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms). He creates these words because "jazz" and its connotations have become functionally obsolete for him. This rejection is dispassionate and not spiteful in the least. He wants to program the sounds that his mind produces, sounds that are novel enough to merit their own vocabulary.

Years before these experiments, after George W. Bush's election in 2000, Ashanti decided to become an ex-pat in London. His plane was scheduled to leave on Sept. 12, 2001, but 9/11 stalled his plans for a week.

He had recently discovered raves and Ecstasy in California, but London was to be the manic culmination of it all. For the next five years, Ashanti squatted and partied with punks under railroad arches, raved in derelict high rises with sound systems on every floor, toured with Soul to Soul, and jammed with Booker T. Jones and Basement Jaxx. Ashanti divulges the effect that certain drugs had on his music. Ketamine, an anesthetic that induces a trance and memory loss, helped nobody. Ecstasy and coke were enjoyable for Ashanti, but all the audience heard was trash. Weed and shrooms were holy.

Hoping to find someplace in America that matched London's feverish music scene, Ashanti took his MIDI to New York City in 2005. What he found instead were hostile DJs and promoters who, perhaps out of jealousy or misunderstanding, made his life hell. Again he went to California, this time to throw his own parties, which he called Backlit Lounge. Laptop performers would sign up through MySpace to play 45-minute sets. Afterward, Ashanti would film the musicians, almost like a post-game wrap-up, asking them how they felt about their performances, the latest specs, the best plug-ins.

Ashanti's life seemed to be stabilizing when tragedy struck. His father was hurt and his mother was killed in an accident, and he flew back to Mississippi uncertain of his own future. When his father recovered, he gave Ashanti his blessing to go elsewhere if he wanted. Ashanti had toyed with the idea of seeing what Berlin was all about. First, there was something he had to do.

A new genre of music was in its birth throes, and Ashanti wanted to go to San Francisco to see it through. This style of music, "the exploration of improvisation and electronic rhythm," would be called beatjazz.

(A big piece of the article-possibly 2/3rds-was in this space but would have not been useful for inclusion in a bio. the full article is available here)

The patternist

Ashanti arrived in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood just before the recession with an artist's visa and a rare gift: time to sit and think.

He had grown up with more R&B and pop than jazz, but in Berlin he became an animated disciple of John Coltrane and Sun Ra. He frequented clubs occasionally, but much of his time was spent in his room.

When he did choose to perform, he showed out.

Mauerpark, Berlin, is Ashanti's 1965 Newport Folk Festival, his 1967 Monterey Pop. His improvisational, live looping performance in 2009 — jamming with his MIDI while seated on a stone slab and almost unrecognizable in a patterned fedora, blue jeans, a polo, and shades — did not bring him the fame of Dylan nor Hendrix. It was, instead, a defining moment of musical bravado and the fullest expression of the beatjazz aesthetic.

Beatjazz is music that has found and captured the soul of the cosmos. It crushes elements of synth-funk, Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts, and late Coltrane into a fine powder, then blows them through an electric flute.

We are watching the video — one of hundreds Ashanti has kept on a hard drive over the years — and, though onlookers try to remain aloof, they are enchanted. Ashanti doesn't always know if his audiences will dance, but if they do, he can foresee how they will move. His sounds produce recognizable patterns in human movement. He compares the effects to that of fear or pain, except music is less chaotic and more beautiful than either. Ashanti's performance of "Sunny Day" is an instance of what he calls "encoding the moment."

 

"There are all these dimensions around us that are permeating, influencing, and interacting with the dimensions that we perceive," he says. His music is liquid sound converted into code and back again, ceaselessly. It programs the environment, changing its shapes and colors. Without a trace of ego, Ashanti grooves to his own music, snapping his fingers and bobbing his head. He tells a simple truth: "I designed a system they can't ignore."

The evolution of his discography (available to listen for free on his website at onyx-ashanti.com, though he accepts donations) is drastic. His work from about 2012 onward retains few characteristics of commercial music. The newest songs (sonic fractals? sonomorphs?) are pockets of sound that edge into a distorted terrain reminiscent of the noise-makers ("intonarumori") of Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo.

I look around Ashanti's lab and understand his perfect happiness. This man could make a decent living if he wanted to, maybe even a fortune. He is that good, and that innovative. Instead, his body and brain are his currencies. He has few material possessions and makes no more than a person on welfare. The few times he does accept gigs, he requires payment in bitcoin. He spends about $60 on food every month (Spirulina diet supplement, rice, and trail mix are his staples). There's his cot, a pile of clothes under the stairs, his cluttered workstations. A cloudy mirror. Sketchbooks and an inactive robot he named Boogie (apparently, upon seeing the robot, the Taiwanese "damn near shit their pants").

He has sufficient space to move and work. It's the same reason why he loves ONE Mile. He says it's about "seeing how you can have a future that you can participate in, and that you can construct here right fucking now."

It's not a place to escape the world, but to briefly tune out some of its channels. It's where creators and the curious ask questions about what their community is and who is in it.

For the first time, Ashanti looks at me shyly. ONE Mile is a place that has avoided the monsters of money and, until now, the media. I feel suddenly sinful, and tell him I hope the article does more good than bad. He does not mean offense.

"It's so pure," he says. "And exactly what it seems to be."

 

Aaron Robertson is a Detroit native and Metro Times intern. He studies Italian literature as a senior at Princeton University, where he is editor-in-chief of The Nassau Literary Review.

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initial notes on a piezo disc contact mic bone conduction mouth interface

sooo...

been working on a mouth interface that could replace the air blown metaphor and the microphone metaphor, while retaining the best features of both, while then being easier to implement, repair and modify. the answer is bone conduction through using those cheap piezo discs you find in musical birthday card and cheap electronic toys.

i like this because it can be "blown" like a mouthpiece-with MUCH faster action and more intimate articulation-and it can also be sang into using bone conduction which means that the vibration of your singing vibrate from your teeth to the disc, directly. the side benefit of this is there is no feedback when around sound systems.

the thinking is that the oral cavity and larynx are amazingly capable synthesizers already, so by capturing the full range of the voice, and extending it, the tonalities that can be achieved will be...something i can describe yet.

the possibly bigger benefit is that potential patternist dont have to know how to play anything or sing or play a wind instrument. they only must be able to make noises with their mouth, which then get modified thru movement. like dancing new phoenomes into your own syntax.

gonna whip up some prosthetics to mount it on my face today and get the system wired for gestures.

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of patterns and patternists; A Sonocybernetic Manifesto

 

I feel like I have some theories. some gleaned from experience…some from research…some im just making up because they feel right and I will roll with them until I create or discover better ones.  I use a lot of made up words to describe some of them-especially the use of the prefix “sono” which refers to sound or “sonic”- so there is no need to message me to “inform” me that this word actually means “that”…I don’t care. these words are my spells…I am merely sharing them for those that give a shit.

what is music?

 

 

music exists between dimensions. it is a sort of catalytic glue between what we think of as the physical plane where our bodies reside and the plane of thought, emotion, dreams…a sort of mathematical plane that informs the thought plane and the physical plane. sound exists without you.  if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? yes. sound does not need an observer to do what it does. cymatics can demonstrate this. sound creates a spherical bubble of order that permeates matter. so sound exists without a human observer to hear it. music…hmmm…that is a different question. music implies a greater order. more complexity…intention.  if sound can influence and create so many things in nature, what must music be able to do?

in sufi mythology, existence began with a great sound and sound is a form of mathematical expression.  we live in a deeply ordered mathematical reality. the interaction with this great truth is profound to a degree that I am humble to. I seek to know it and to create ways for it to order itself through me. to be an ordering conduit for its expression. any truth above, below or around that, will come through how successful I am at that core purpose.

in my studies over the last few years I see that sound, and music, affect every aspect of the human construct. music and sound wash over the entire body, which just so happens to be coated in neurons…we are distributed computing systems. our mind is not simply in our heads…nor completely in our brains…it surrounds our entire body, I believe.

there is the music of computation and technology, expressed as pure binary math and boolean logic. the music of light and spectral frequency. the music of biology and its fractal expression of information. what is music? it is the point and the next but it must be asked AS music.

Terrence McKenna once said, while quoting someone else that, “language was invented to lie”.  that was as funny then as it is now because the word that I keyed into was not “lie”…it was “invention”.  language as invention.  this is odd.  it seems as if language just always was. that we as a species just popped out talking, but the more I study the more I see that this isnt the case. carbon dating of ancient musical instruments suggest that music is older than homo sapien.  so if language is an invention, then that means we can invent others, right?

I mean,we do it all the time. there are dozens of programming languages used to talk to computers…languages of law, medicine, money…languages of the drum and of the body in the form of dance, gymnastics, fighting, swimming, car driving, motorcycling, climbing and musical expression….all languages with syntax and nuance and emotion and symmetry.

music as a language

 

Ive been hiding out, working on a new kind of language for a few years.  something that would be easy to begin learning (especially since I will have to learn it as well) but could expand beyond what one believes to be their capability to learn. in fact, this system would enable the capability to communicate multidimensionally, with “dimension” defined as mutually exclusive realms of expression. speaking and dancing are two different forms of communication but painting  and cooking are as well. they are dimensions of expression. so my idea is to create a language that is, by its nature, multidimensional. the elements that will weave all the dimensions together are sound, binary logic, computers, 3d printing and basic electronics.

I call this form, Sonocybernetics.

the idea is to learn these basics in a manner that feeds the idea.  that sentence is recursive which means that it feeds back into itself. the same way that we humans learn by doing things over and over, is recursive. the very idea is recursive. learn something that feeds back into itself to constantly give feedback while also propelling forward based on this process. and since its not one thing-one dimension-that feedback cross pollinates all the things you do, resulting in increasingly serendipitous results.   how you do one thing will have a direct impact on how you do another thing because they are all governed by the same core idea. my 3d printed designs have a direct impact on their playability which influences how they sound, which influences how I move  which influences the expression of the data they generate which influences the machines I have connected to those data streams….and so on…

the basic structure of sonocybernetics rest on  a number of core “pre-elements”, the first of which is to always move toward and embody open source philosophy as a life philosophy.  language can not thrive if one has to ask permission to use any aspect of it. any non-open source elements must be either reverse engineered into something that can be shared  or pushed to the outside edges of the idea…never the core. when I say “pre-elements” I mean a few very specific tools that form the core toolset.

  • a computer, running linux(prefereably the raspberry pi platform)-yeah I know…linux is for geeks and nerds, but guess what youre gonna have to be to do this?  yup.  this is not for people who want to take the easy road. if you need it easy, go do something else…this isnt for you  AT ALL. don’t waste your time. this is powerful, not because it is easy but because it is NOT easy (note: its not hard either, its just strange, which some mistake for hard) and currently, the world runs on linux. to know linux is to realize you are connected to the nervous system that runs the world and it just happens to be completely open source meaning that later, you can change it how you feel.
  • Pure data, specifically, pd-extended.  yes, I know…either youre not a programmer or you use c++ or java script or python, well I chose pure data because of its inherently spatial layout and power with number structures that make it easier to show to someone at a glance without having to hunch over and read down a long list of text. I find pd to be soooo much easier to teach and to share and its easier to share ideas of fractality and nesting. also, it is a gateway to programming in other languages, which can be used to create pd objects.
  • a reprap 3d printer-yes I know….you use a makerbot and/or you don’t want to build a 3d printer from scratch but the reprap is what the makerbot is based on and steals all its upgrades from.  it is a machine that makes machines! and not only can you build it but you can evolve IT…as YOU evolve. this is very very important as the dimensions move out past plastic forms and move into the micro/nano scale and well as the macro scale. because if you can build and evolve a small reprap, you can build a house sized one as well as a molecular sized one so internalizing this technology as DIY, is important.  and 3d printers don’t have to be overly complex.
    here is one I designed out of spare parts that is handheld, requires no CAD software, and uses pure data, running on linux for control and is built around an arduino. this can form the basis of a larger 3d printer later (and of course, it is open source)

the arduino platform-yes I know…youre not a hacker and whatever else but understanding the arduino allows you to program functions directly into the machines you make, as in the above example. your printed machines become programmable. and you learn to use and eventually create better faster microcontrollers later.

with these tools you have the basis of a multidimensional language. you can speak sound, physical form, code and and current simultaneously. and these form the basis of completely new kinds of thought not possible any other way.  these tools allow for the view of computer as prosthesis. as recursive augmentation; a tool for exploring self which when focused outwardly, reveals an increasingly malleable programmable reality. this can give some insight into parts of the process as well

how does it work?

sonocybernetics is based on cybernetics, transduced using patterns of sound that evolve as you evolve.  cybernetics theory is based on two dimensions of communication systems; information structure and the physical representation of that information.  feedback into the system is key, as feedback of high enough gain, takes over from the input.  so lets look at that statement like this; youre a jazz improviser and youre playing with your combo and you begin a ballad.  you are inputing inFormation into the system but instantly you are listening to your band mates who are also inputing information and you all stablize on a key, a tempo and mood. but then maybe you decide, as a flourish, during your solo, to play something that sounds a bit like salsa, which instantly makes your drummer hit a bit of a salsa beat and now your bass player has jumped into the action and youre now all playing salsa based on subtle cues of information feedback.  as any musician knows, this happens all the time. jazz and cybernetics have more similarities than you would imagine. this feed back can be sono-cognitive, mechanical, design, programmatic, realtime, dietary, kinesthetic….

the feedback relates very specifically to the “sono” part of sonocybernetics. this is the part ive been trying to figure out for years. ordered sound has an imprinting effect on the physiology of the brain, which means that it affects the way you think. ordered encoded sound is the glue that makes the whole system work in a manner that is self evolving and self iterative. this is a new kind of music, specifically for creating new forms of sound order:

binary logic

this system regresses to a base2 number system. the whole idea orbits around the “on” and the “off” pair. as you will note, all computing is already based on binary numbers but binary number systems have been around since ancient egypt and probably longer. so it is a system that is simultaneously ancient old and new new. it is based multiples of 2 but at its simplest its easier to think of it as groupings of on/offs called “bits”. if you touch a surface with your index finger, this could be considered on.  if you lift your finger off that surface, this is off. congratulations, you have just completed a 1bit calculation. with 1 bit, you have 2 positions-on and off. and “off” is equally important to “on”. with out an off, there is not music. there is only a building cacophony of sound. sound is ordered by off. music is ordered by relationship of the off to the on. this is what the bit represents, musically. you can do a lot of very relevant things with 1 bit.  drumming comes to mind, as does morse code. you can change the spacing between the on/off to get different rhythms as well…that is with just 1 on/off.  with 2 on/off, or 2bits, you now have access to 4 positions;

 

1.00 off/off

2.10 on/off

3.01 off/on

4.11 on/on

 

an easier way to think of this is with drums and drum sticks which are 2 on/offs many forms of african drumming were used to transmit messages over long distances, complete with recursion (resending the message over and over again so that the intended message is received), error correction, routing and swtiching, so binary logic has been with us for a really long time, which was why it started making more and more sense.

12tone equal temperment is not very good at controlling robots or communicating or evolving. it was made to make orchestras sound good together. this was the hitch point for me for the last couple of years. it was the one thing that had to go. it was hard to think of throwing away 30+ years of experience, at least it was until the john coltrane revelation. he had to rip his way out of it but beyond that, his tools were always bringing him back to it as a starting point everytime he touched his horn. I have no such limitations. whatever I do not have, I can create. pure data can convert any number series into any type of frequency output I deem relevant-ultra low, below human hearing or ultra high into radio frequency range and beyond.so it was with this in mind that decided to step away from sax fingerings and 12 tone ET as a primary sound interface concept.

as you can see in this video, I decided to design a 2bit system to test the theory.  this uses a couple of nuts in a printed shaker type construct that lets me play around with 2 bits in a musical way. no brain implants, no quantum mechanics…just a shaker with two nuts to investigate 2bit interfacing.

there is another form of input that is crucial; the analog input which I call a stream. this is the other stuff-sensors, breath, motion…all the stuff that isnt simply on or off. so if we go back to the finger tapping example, this is tapping with intensity or adding an accelerometer to the 2bit shaker so that the angle it is being shaken at can be used as input.  with bits and streams, you’ve got just about any sort of input covered. every added input is considered either an added bit or an added stream. in this way you are able to completely maximize your input potential. it doesn’t mean that you have to, it simply means that you can. so rather than 2 buttons just being 2 buttons, they can be 4 positions. 3 buttons can represent 8 positions, 4 can prepresent 16 positons but for the sake and scale of this system ive designed it around a 8bit matrix, with a total of 255 positions.

the 8bit matrix

I believe that binary numbers are the key to this sonocybernetic system, but its not that easy. there has to be an initial limitation- a learnable one -but one that can one day be expanded easily. that limit is 255. this is the full range of 8 bit numbers. the 8 fingers on my hands can create 255 positions.  if I include the thumbs, it shoots up to 1024! if I were to try 16bits, id be tying to swim thru 65,000 positions! that is out side the realm of comprehension for me right now. the goal is to create a full 8bit “pattern” in my mind, then evolve from there. this pattern would consist of any number of bits up to 8bits then any other range of bits would be another group of bits. all streams would have a range from 0 to 255. in this way everything has a definable, learnable space that it operates within.  instead of learning 12 octaves of 12 notes, this system would be 1 range of 255 note intervals, definable in any way the “patternist” sees fit. 255 becomes the resolution of a grid that is 255x255x255 which results in over 16million possibilities ! in multiple dimensions. 255 notes, 255 parameters positions, 255 points for each sensor range….there is a mind boggling range of combinations to be explored.

within this initial 255x3 matrix, possibility is granularized and can be built up in any way that suits the patternist. lets say I want to use sax fingerings. I do not have to discard the binary input system, I merely need to assign interval relationships to the keys that I normally used to finger sax notes so in that way I can play sax fingerings but I can also play any binary finger combination and play those intervals as well. this applies to ANY MUSICALLY RELEVANT INPUT, like flute, drums, trumpet, mpc drumpad…anything! the interaction can be as familiar as the pilot wants it to be but can mutate outward to encompass the maximum number of input possibilities. lets say I want to type words. I can assign letters to numbers and assign sound intervals to letters based on on vowel spacing.  these “scales” are endless in function and variety. scales for gcode (3d printer control), scales for algebra. scales for video projection control, hexapod interaction, drone flight control AND feedback from proximity sensors…its infinite.

most importantly, is that every “bit” of data is stored. it forms a fractal map of your journey. the 8bit matrix is a sort of holographic “read-head”, viusually, but it is powered by a time-coded dataformat that lets you look at every moment you interact with the system, which will become more and more important over time as more intimate sensor information becomes integrated, such as EEG, and full body “state” information.

of patterns and patternists

I realized something interesting in the last couple of years; music by itself is meaningless.  what matters is the patterns. same goes for sports, paintings, agriculture, space flight, writing, swimming…all human endeavors are all pattern based. we discern patterns…we create patterns. we make predictions based on those patterns and when someone can challenge our predictive capability, we either praise them or burn them at the stake.

everything is patterns!     

not only that though. we seek out “novel” patterns. patterns that tickle our sensibilities in some way. this is the reason why a style of music or design becomes “old” or “classic”; because the ability of that pattern to be constantly novel, has been exhausted but the stored exploration in the form of records or clothing style, yielded a stability of beauty, form or usefulness. some people like me, seek out the patterns in sound and people and internet information flow and others are obsessed with sports for the exact same reason. they predict that this player or that will score ( x ) much this season based on ( y ) and because of the new rookie they picked and the loss of this or that coach.  same goes for video games…everything to humans is patterns and prediction.

it is with this understanding that I decided to test a theory back at the beginning of 2013: it was at this time that I decided to stop playing “music” as I had understood it to be, and to begin playing evolving patterns of sound. I was fully ready to have fruit thrown at me and stop getting bookings but I hypothesized that as long as the patterns were ordered, complex and continuously evolving, I would be talking directly to the pattern part of the human brain and the rest of the human would stay put and absorb it and I was right…very right. from that moment, I became a patternist

the term patternist is my choosen name for what I do, what I am and what we do together as sonocyberneticists. I cribbed it from an octavia butler book called “mind of my mind”. the patternists were a race of telepaths, eugenically created over a time span of about 5000 years by an immortal named Doro. their defining feature as a group besides being powerful telepaths, telekinetics and shapeshifters was that the “pattern” allowed them to live together in harmony and draw strength from each other when necessary.

my personal definition is slightly different. each patternist creates a pattern that evolves as they do. anything they want to learn or do can be grafted into their pattern. in my case, even though 3d printing isnt necessarily a musical skill, it is part of my pattern, as is everything I want to learn, because if I can break down anything I want to internalize, to a sono-spatial kinesthetic interaction construct, everything reinforces everything else (ie, I move in a way that lets me create sound in a way that affects me by postioning the sound when it sounds like it is coming from anywhere 360° around me, by using pure datas built in surround sound panners).  the more complex this meta pattern becomes, the more easily new information can be grafted into it and the more readily it can be imprinted. this process of imprinting is called “psycho-cymatic, sonosynaptic, reconfiguration”. this is the actual writing of patterns of meaning onto the brain using spatialized sound. I should note at this point that I reinforce this process with brain stimualtion modalities such as transcrannial direct current stimulation, and with cognitive enhancing “nooptropic” (new-oh-trow-pick) compounds such as piracetam, both of which I have been doing for a number of years.

this process has been happening with me since at least 2012 when I got my 3d printer. every thing I do and learn feeds a meta-pattern in my mind which affects how my brain works and processes future information.  but it was hampered by 2 things;

1. music as entertainment rather than purely patterning modality

2. the music itself, because of the leaning toward music as entertainment, I wasn’t using the music to store sonic patterns of relevance to things I was learning or wanted to learn. the system was only meant to sound good and not to design with or run a 3d printer or operate a mechanical system like a vehicle or a robot.  this is an early sonomorph of constructed intent that moved away from a listener model toward an encoded intention model.

but now, with a binary core concept, the system speaks the same language as the computer it is running on and can be programmed, in realtime, to interact with the brain and become a system of expanding feedback t; what one hears influencing the next thing they do, perpetually. the feedback is the key. this does not throw away beauty and symmetry or “funkiness”…it re-imagines them as having a new relevance as encoding metaphors. syncopation can have a function…something that makes a body move has a pattern that is relevant so all this pattern talk does not mean that said pattern must sound like r2d2. that said, you hear what I have sounded like? well, its gets stranger…

 

Patternist != cyborg

I have written about my issues with the word cyborg here and here so, to summarize, I’m not a cyborg. primarily because

cyborgs do not create themselves.

they are created by someone else for someone elses purposes and not for the cyborgs transcendence and evolution.  in addition, the concatenation of the terms “cybernetic” and “organism”, upon closer inspection is very dis-empowering. it implies that a system of greater order is being “imposed” on an “organism”. this to me is the same type of wordplay that reduces a “citizen” to a “consumer” or turns the “people” into the “public”.  Norbert wieners book on the subject was entitled “cybernetics: control and communication in the animal and the machine” and so concerned with the misuse of this technology was he, that he wrote another book entiteld “The Human Use Of Human Beings: Cybernetics And Society” to discuss these topics. “cyborg” is a small word with great power.  I designed “Onyx Ashanti” as a word of power. “beatjazz” is another such word as are “sonomorph”, “sonic fractal matrix” and “exo-voice”…inspection of the elements of their construction reveal words of empowerment and strength.

I have been living with the word “patternist” for a couple of years now, just to see how it evolved over time and in that time, the word has come to mean more than it did when I chose it. when veiwing patterns as multidimensional recursive information structures, the full time investigation of such structures, makes calling oneself a a patternist, more and more fitting.  it is a word that can grow and evolve. it gives the direction of focus, more light without being overly general.

technically, I also like the terms “sonocyberneticist”, but that sounds more academic than im comfortable with in general use. I also sometimes simply use the term “pilot”, but that’s more of a slang than a descriptor. patternist and patterns work extremely well and their use will easily detract from any cyborg references once they have more of an establish body of expressions. note though: the use of the word “patternism” is not used.  that is something else entirely and feels more like an ideology than growth term. sonocybernetics will work in those moments, just fine.

there it is

that is the super super basics of the idea. this rabbit hole is crazy deep but I don’t want to monologue on it without working examples, which are in the works.  now when I describe things that are coming, this can be the proper reference point. everything refers to this now. and the best part is now that sonocybernetics provides such a comprehensive umbrella under which to place all of my expressions, I don’t have to shun beatjazz anymore. it is a “form”  within sonocybernetics and a sonomorph is another. from this point forward, everything refers to sonocybernetics as the ecosystem within which everything else lives and propagates.


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