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Archive for September 2011

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Initial test of Accelerometer visualization communication. Day 59 Beatjazz system Crowdfunding Campaign

Day 59 of the campaign to create the most amazing live music performance system ever!  Two of the limited number of controllers i will be building for this campaign, are now spoken for (not including the special TRON campaign version for TRON contributor who is looking forward to the updated systems and design to come)!!  yaaay!! so i can start acquiring the tools necessary to get started on aspects of the project now!  if you'd like to fund this project, head over to www.indiegogo.com/beatjazzsystem and check out the perks including a new "Beatjazz supporter pack!" which is for those of you that want to support the project but don't want a beatjazz controller itself.  this is chock full of handmade goodness including a screen print beatjazz system "why should computers have all the fun!" t_shirt, designed by myself and Loganic, a "just for you" cd mixtape of beatjazz joints from the last 10 years.  I even give you a shoutout in your mix, a beatjazz stencil and a 3D printed keychain, which will get you entrance and drink discounts at many future shows!  check it out.  if there is something that i should be offering, please let me know.


now work has begun in earnest on the visual system.  i must admit, i was expecting something harder or at least on par with the aneurysm i almost had, coming to grips with pure data.  but GEM, the graphical portion of pure data, uses a wonderfully intuitive "cascading" functions style of patch creation.  each object flows down into the next and manipulations, i.e. things that manipulate those objects, branch off of this "GEMlist".  i was all set for a headache but i was able to work out object instantiation and placement rather quickly.  i did this video earlier today after i discovered a decent way of including the accelrometer zaxis.  yaaaaay!


 Before... i spent the last few day de-wiring my main patch.  i replaced all wires with send/receive object pairs.  basically, in PD, you type the name of a funciton into a box and it has points on that box that allow it to connect to other functions by way of "wires", like a patchbay in a studio.  i decided that i would replace these with a "wireless" transmitter/reciever object pair that let you [send "this"] to [receive "this"] without any wires.  the beauty of this is that deeep in the guts of the patch, i can put a [send]transmitter at the point when the sensor data is coming into the program, then just put clean [recieves] anywhere i want that data to go, anywhere in any portion of the patch.  this will really aid in modularity because now i can, say, create a synth and simply links its controls to these little wireless hooks so that when i need it, i simply type its name and it pops up, ready to play with all linkages being handles wirelessly.  so i can instantiate multiple instances and the interface remains clean and simple...theoretically.


after! ran into a bit of a bug when testing the visual system where, when on, the system slows down juuuuust enough for my playing to get choppy, so there will be some debugging to do...later


either way, the wireless object system is in place, and i feel comfortable enough with GEM to move on creating the full visual interface in the next day or so.  this will become the thing i look at from now on, rather than the underlying patch.

Just started looking for a local source for acquiring parts to build the 3d printer although i may have to order it online.  eithe rway, i expect to start dealing with the intricacies of CAD in about 3 weeks.  next after GEM is synthesis, which to me is the really exciting part!! stay tuned.

 

blog post sept28 012 blog post sept28 005 blog post sept28 006 blog post sept28 008

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Fingering Chart and Joystick cc# assignments Beatjazz controller (day61 beatjazz system crowdfunding campaign)

Day 61 of the campaign to build the most amazing live performance system ever.  jump in and grab one of the perks on offer at www.indiegogo.com/beatjazzsystem the water is warm!  I know you want to see what a carbon fiber afro’ed sonic warrior with glowing hands looks and sounds like!  lets make it happen!

Putting the finishing touches on the fingering chart and the accelrometer controller assignments chart.beatjazz controller fingering chart

yaaaaaay!!!  this is what will be posted with the open source project when it goes live TOMORROW!!  (click for a larger version) i set the fingering chart up to look like a classic woodwind chart, with the only give away to its technological heritage, being the 5 octave joystick configuration.  this is the note range for each of the 5 and half octaves.  the “half” being the altissimo range i programmed for the upper range.  i have found that the altissimo range is very useable in all octaves  and helps smooth over the wierdness of using a joystick to jump between octaves. 

All new octaves in the scale will start on D and the numbering scheme will also show up on the software itself so, for instance, when you push “1” (assuming youve built it and wired it correctly), key “1” in the software should show up.  and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

Beatjazz controller joystick cc# assigments

now THIS monster is the secret sauce.  this is the cc# assignments that allow the accelerometer to control a multitude of parameters simultaneously.  the visualizations i am currently working will alieviate much of the confusion this may cause, but this chart should be clear enough to allow cats to start working with gestures right away.

the upper left hand joystick (which is really a 5 way joy “toggle” but stick sounds better") has minimal functionality which I use to control the looper functions, volume and sustain but you can do what you want, they’re smply control changes, so they can be assigned to whatever you like. 

the lower left hand joystick is dedicated to octaves.  the lower right hand joystick is also dedicated to looper functions such as undo/redo with the forward/back positions being used, in my system, for pre and post FX.

Its the uper right hand joystick that is the interesting one.  this can control cc`’s for both accelerometers simultaneously.  when it is pushed in a direction, it accepts accelerometer data to control any of 18 controllers at once PER joystick direction!  that is a total of 72 cc# assignments not including the “floating” assignments which are just always on, which brings the total to a cpu melting 96 continuous controller messages.  i programmed it so that only one direction array can be active at one time though, so that should keep you from frying your machine by accidentally sending it 96 streams of high res controller data.

This was the point where i decided that i need to develop my own system because i felt that that was going to simply choke the shit out of my system, considering how much data i throw at it already.  the system i am building will have all of the required software, built into the controller software.  this will include synthesis, looping, fx, vocoding and visualization, both functional and presentation.  i am betting that doing it all in PD will be much much more efficient than continuing to patchwork together various software from various vendors.

but i digress…this version of the controller WILL work with said various vendors and depending on the uptake rate, i will look into creating templates for various packages like ableton, fl studio and kore 2, which i have but have deleted so that i can focus fully on completeing the system.

let me know if it is clear what is what and if you see something that i should add to make things more clear, email or msg me and i will get it in there.

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The Beatjazz Manifesto

Day 61 of the crowdfunding campaign to create the most amazing live music performance system ever.  You can be a part of making it happen by going over to www.indiegogo.com/beatjazzsystem  there are now 2 “beatjazzers” out there besides myself (yaaay!!) and you’re more than welcome to come along as well!  hmmm but what is the beatjazz system, i hear you say?  I know that i have described the technology of it but i havent actually described the what and the why of this thing.  well today is the day.  this is the definitive story of what it is and why it is and where it is going. 

 

The voice construct is “becoming”.  It is a voice that uses beats, motion and improvisation as its language.  this language is beatjazz.  "Beats” are the rhythm science.  the study of taking electronic representations of the drum and constructing sonic worlds with them as the anchor.  the gravity.  and “jazz” is the art of speaking with sound without word, even when one uses words.  it was the beginning of the conversation.  a conversation who’s central topic was the “head”, the key, the tempo.  it was the genesis of creation from basic building blocks.   Jazz spawned MCing, beatboxing and breakdancing.  they are all variations on a conversation centered around a topic.  It is the Job of the Onyx Ashanti construct to investigate this beatjazz space and report back with what he finds there.

one “space” of investigation is busking (street performing). when the decision was made to go down this (beatjazz) road, busking was the first stop.  it was the place between idea formation and presentation where i was able to try out different software loopers and synths and techniques.  now as then, busking allow the practice necessary to fully express ideas confidently in a larger setting.  busking is not unlike crowdfunding in that you need to be able to present the idea well enough for it to resonate with people. I don't put any stock in the star/celebrity machine.  celebrity is not as important as artistic integrity.  as long as there is busking, i always have music in my life.  but what busking means, evolves within this beatjazz context.

the goal is to create a beatjazz world.  a large space allows a higher resolution world. busking must tap into this world as well.  The busking component of the beatjazz system will be a small self contained surround sound capable system with a small laser projector and built in battery system that can attach, trailer-like, to a bike.  the internal computer system would supply visuals as well as interactions such as messaging and downloads and the PLORK (Princeton Laptop Orchestra) inspired speaker system could be used to reinforce an existing sound system during appearances at smaller places.  The pure data based beatjazz system will facilitate any “conversations” that may happen whether in a large arena, a warehouse club or a street corner.

the desire of beatjazz, is to be a new conversation. for the MC, beatboxer, musician, dancer, to all be able to create a collaborative sonic universe, literally.  for instance. with gestural synthesis, lets say, there is a “battle” happening, reminiscent of a classic beatbox or freestyle MC battle.  like jazz, you take your opponents best move and twist it, then better it.  with beatjazz and gestural synthesis, you can create a sound, in the moment, that is singular to this exchange, even while in the midst of move or a musical phrase.  and your interaction will “sync”, as long as you are using the same software.

with gestural synthesis and a controller designed to have no restrictions on your movements, the world is a place of unbounded inspiration. from collaborative performances to musical interfaces for disabled musicians. every conversation is a new “album”.  every album a frozen conversation.  every encounter with another beatjazzer, an opportunity to “sync” or to battle or both.  a fractal array of conversations in a language that blends movement, thought, sounds and sight.

this is what beatjazz is.  where music is not synonymous with “tracks” or even “songs” and where the boundaries between sound, dance, and visuals blur.  and since the open source plans and patches go online tuesday (sept 27, 2011), i hope it to mutate fractally into an uncountable number of permutations, all with the goal of artists communing with each other and creating new sonic worlds to explore.

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Space; The Final Frontier; Day 63-Beatjazz system crowdfunding campaign

Day 62 of the Beatjazz system funding campaign.  OK...I'm back in the "B", and i've cleared my shcedule for most of the next 2 months. It is time to make this thing happen.I'm gonna need your contributions to make it happen.  play time is over.  its time to build this thing and see what can happen with THAT.  I've got some great perks over at www.indiegogo.com/beatjazzsystem and everyone that contributes will also get a free download of my latest EP "Exploration", which is the sonic result of my previous campaign AND you will still receive the new EP when it is finished with the new system we are trying to build.

Space is a lonely place. the vast emptiness is suffocating.  where does it go?  where does it end? does it end?  standing there and staring into it can give you an overwhelming sense of awe and anxiety.  a large white void with just a menu bar and a terrifyingly small right click menu.  you are face to face with...yourself.  Pure data is you.  your dreams, abstracted in small rectangular boxes.  intangible circuits teeming with codified thought.  a dream maker.


I am starting to enjoy this place of solitude and chaos. all of this nothingness that reflects a mirror onto my own shortcomings and desires.  each patch becoming slightly more refined than the last.  words enclosed in boxes with hidden meanings.  functions.  there is a fairness to it. dare i say a compassion.  what i love about pure data is that there is no one way to do anything.  and it is there that you begin to learn yourself.  Some cats  use graphics “objects” (programming functions connected together by onscreen "wires") to process music, math or text functions, simply because they get more done if they can "see" the algorithm rather than just numbers and text.  It allows one to take the long way around to the same answer and not penalize them. 


it is this space that i now live in.  I have given up everything else.  deleted it from my harddrive.  there is only pure data now.  this is scary and exciting.  there is no guarantee that my campaign to build the next stage in beatjazz, will succeed.  if i don't jump in with both feet, i risk teetering between the safe and the unknown and never discovering the beauty of what "can be". 


I have the basic construct already in mind and a bit of it already abstracted in code.  there are 4 main tasks right now that will inform the rest of the project later.


gestural-synth-notes the first is the creation of simple synths.  VERY simple.  these will follow the paradigm that i use currently of assigning sonic types to "element" categories. "Drums" will be, initially, basic short elements meant to be used for rhythm but will also be used as a melodic element later.  "bass" will focus on low frequencies, "percussive" will be short melodic elements while "evolvers" will be gesturally rich elements and "leads" will blend the two. "vocal" and "sampling" will both make use of non-PD generated sound sources with vocal focusing on abstracting the voice and sampling being a sonic buffer of sounds i bring in from outside the system, from a mic or even pre-recorded material.  each of these will evolve their own gestural attributes.  it is my hypothesis that any sound type possibility within an element category should be within 2-5 gestures of any other sound type.  this doesn't mean that a bass is 2-5 gestures from a flute, but that a flute is 2-5 gestures from a sax or any other "lead" element sound type.  "gestures" in this context, will be a combination of hand posistion, finger pressure, breath pressure and joystick position.  as a paradigm, i am working to create a "natural" methodology that would be memorable and practicable. in a nutshell, the gestural system should be memorable enough to use even if the "hypothetical" beatjazzer were under the influence of, say, 3 long island ice teas, shudder the thought.


gestural-looper-notes the next on the agenda is the looping system.  initially, since i have never played with the audio objects, i want to simply record audio from each element and turn it on and off.  then move onto making it loop followed by multiple loops then loop manipulation and finally fx processing.  the looping system will integrate with the synths.  each element will have its own looper and each looper will have element specific functions with a capabilities that i will determine as i start building and integrating the systems.


3rd is a new visuals system.  i realize now, after a few months of playing with the existing prototype, that since the controller is basically multiple streams of raw sensor data, i can turn that data into very detailed exciting visuals! gestural-visuals-notes every single twitch can be turned into something visual, down to the individual sensor level. i am graphing functions to visual zones so that as the density and complexity of the visuals increases, they will still be able to live together on one or many screens.  and this leads to the 4th main task;


wireless object hooks.  every sensor is sending a stream of floating point number data.  that data is then either sent to another object that understands floating point data, or is converted into midi data, so i now make every data stream send its data to two wireless outputs; a floating point one and a midi one. this allows me to (a) send that data to multiple places like sending it to the synthesizer, the looper and to a graphical object for displaying on a projector and (b) create self contained new objects that can be added easily and work instantly.  i just type the name of the new module and it pops up onscreen, ready to use with its audio automatically going to the mixer, its data output represented in the video area.  this modularity will allow the other tasks to advance much faster, especially the looper which i plan to make networkable.  its modularity is central to the beatjazz universe (yes i said universe).  objects that can clone themselves and scale, will allow functionally unlimited sound complexity and make the looping system powerfully extensible and collaborative.


so todays task is to create flash cards for ALL of the object types in pure data-extended as well as add the first of the wireless nodes to the beatjazz controller software that i will be uploading to the MAKE mag servers in time for the release of the project in issue 28 (Oct 2011) on Tuesday.  I hope to have the first of the how to videos up by then as well. that video will be an introduction to making the shield that will go onto the arduino fio that makes up each of the 3 wireless units in the controller system. 


My hope is that i can start generating enough funds to afford to acquire the 3d printer soon so that i can start working on the design of the various physical parts so if you want to see this project move forward, check out the perks and go for it! i guarantee that if you get one of the controllers (by paypal will allow me to actually start buying parts today!) it will be the sickest thing you've ever owned. no joke. i really do want to change the world. bombastic, yes, but there it is.  whether i do or not is irrelevant. that is the goal. come with me. you can contribute here www.indiegogo.com/beatjazzsystem  next blogpost will describe EXACTLY what the beatjazz system is. l8r.

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Report from the Maker Faire NYC

maker faire 004

What am amazing weekend!  I spent the last few days at the World Maker Faire in New York City a the New York Science Museum.  kind of “Burning Man meets county Science fair” vibe.  what a great experience.  I wouldnt say it was geek overload.  it was like a geek-con focusing more on geeks that build things.  all manner of well executed nerdery.  from a car with syncronized singing fish and crabs mounted over every square inch of it, to a giant Tesla coil rock show, this was worth the exorbitant amount of time it took to get there.

 

A few hightlights were that Radio shack seems to be coming to their senses and getting back into the geek game.  I was always so pissed and hurt with the way that they dissed geeks a few years ago with the whole “the shack” bullshit and turned into a cell phone dealership.  but now, it seems, that with the growth of the maker scene, namely the arduino platform and online retailers such as Sparkfun.com they see that they had it right the first time.  i actually had a go at a couple of the radio shack reps while i was there.  it may sound silly, but when i was a kid, my greatest pleasure was to go to radio shack and either look at or sometimes buy a few parts to build something with and when they relegated the component section to a small box in the back of the store, it really hurt that kid in me, so bravo to radio shack but next time, let the accoutants stick to number crunching and let the geeks deal with the rest.

maker faire 009 speaking of geeks.  geeks are very close to and many times are, hackers and i happened upon an almost mythical uber hacker from my youth while wandering from booth to booth. Emmanuel Goldstein (Eric Corley to his moms) is the creator and editor of 2600 magazine and he was at the faire!  to old school hacker/redboxing phreaks of a certain age, this man is a rock star!!  there was (is!?!) a time when a copy of 2600 magazine in your bag at the wrong time, could end you up in federal court!  his contribution was especially important considering that Berlin now has 15 pirate party members in parliament!  the amount of federal surveillance this man has endured over the last 30 years would have given me a stroke so i tip my hat to a cat that contributed to the positive hacker ethic that permeates the Maker scene today (dramatic slow clap)

I also got a chance to chill with the ArcAttack guys.  amazing thing they have built.  it modulates electricity generated from Tesla coils so that it has a tone and then they sequence that into music.  very big and Rock band-y!  I hope to see (and possibly work with) these cats at some point in the future.

maker faire 005 There were two areas of interest that seemed to be EVERYWHERE this year. and one influenced the other; arduino and 3d printing.  or, better stated, arduino and 3d printers with arduino brains.  these scenes are growing in leaps and bounds.  so many projects based on arduno that i would not doubt seeing an Arduino faire in the next couple of years.  this thing is going to be Apple/google huge one day.  i saw a student built, arduino based “segway”.  think about that for a sec. a few years ago, the segway (ginger, to those in the know) was Dean kamens “world changer” and now its being replicated with spare parts by high school students.  this is the world we live in now.  as well as an endless array of robots, UAV’s and other projects based on the tiny processor that could, but it was the 3d printing stuff that blew my mind.

the scene is so refined now and it is finally starting to hit its stride.  3d printers are devices that extrude (melt plastic and draw it into a shape, very much like how one “extrudes” cake icing to make words and designs) plastic in 3 dimensions, with a moving printer head( x-axis side to side, y-axis forward and back).  unlike an inkjet printer, the head can also move up (z axis), so the plastic layers can stack a build things that are three dimensional.  i was simply amazed by the variety and durability of the items being produced by these machines.  everything from ABS plastic (like legos) to biodegradable plastics to recycled plastics using ground up plastic bottles to internal cicuitry! one in particular called the reprap can replicate itslef by producing as many as 60% of the parts used in its construction.  i never knew that these machines were so advance, versatile and cheap.  the reprap can be put together for around €400.  because of this…

I am retooling my beatjazz project parameters.  I believe that these machines will allow me to create the wide array of custom parts i will need, to make the 2nd revision of the beatjazz system, a reality.  I am editing the perks on the project page to reflect these insights.  rather than going with carbon fiber for the controllers, i will be using 3d printing.  this excites me because i feel that i can create the exact idea i have in my head now.  and the parts will be much more exacting and durable.

My Presentations at the Maker Faire, went well.  the laptop i borrowed, did its job well although i did have glitches, which i now know to have been caused by the very old firewire pcmcia card i have been using for the last 4 years.  i had the opportunity to get a bit more geeky than usual. (thanks to Agenthak for recording and posting this vid)

Onyx Ashanti at Maker Faire NYC 2011

 

the room they had me in looked like a Jedi Temple…or the Danger Rooom.  it was brreathtaking.  I did feel kinda small in there but I’m working on it.

I lied a couple of weeks ago when i said i’d be using some of my gestural stuff for the Maker Faire.  it simply was not ready.  i didnt have the time to make it ready ( less than a week).  but now that i am back in Berlin and i have purposely not scheuduled any performances until my presentation at the Create Arts and Technology conference here in Berlin on Nov 4&5, i have officially stopped using anything other than pure data for all of my creative needs (although i am stil working on a series of demos for Image-line Drumaxx which will be ready soon)  it was Frank from RJDJ who convinced me of the all purpose-ness of pure data and i feel that i am far enough along with conceptualization, to begin building the gestural systems. 

a cool side note is that i have already made a revision to the patch that will be included with MAKE mag project (issue 28, in stores sept 27th) that  will allow it to accept beatjazz “modules” as i complete them!  all you’ll have to do is copy the patch to the Pure Data Directory and in the controller patch, type the name of the new module and viola! it is linked in and ready to use!  like magic!  and in celebration of the release of the project, the first “how to” associated video will go online on the 27th as well!  it will show how to create the “shield”(snap on arduino function board) neccessary to plug in all the bits a pieces.  from there we will have a short series with vids on assembly, testing, and many on how to play, use and modify the design.

so now i’m back and ready to settle in to some serious work.  l8r.

maker faire 014 maker faire 003 maker faire 006 maker faire 010 maker faire 007

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Made it to NYC

IMG_0206 Well, I'm back in NYC again.  This time for the World Maker Faire at the New York Science Museum.  Chillin. the travel was surprisingly relaxed and uneventful.  even the customs officer joked with me, which is a first.  no lost luggage.  even the jetlag was manageable because i arrived at 8pm and only had to stay up an additional 5 hours to equalize, so all is good!
the Hotel is close reasonably close to the museum grounds, in queens, chinatown district.

 
IMG_0203 i wish you could appreciate the "room" they've scheduled me to play in.  it looks like some sort of big Jedi ceremonial temple.  its amazing!  I can't wait to play in this space, although i do feel that i will be rather tiny.  either way, i start around 4pm if you are in NYC.  just before the final set of an artist named ArcAttack who performs with big ass tesla coils!!

 


so, ima go practice a bit, hang out a bit and chill a bit. l8r.

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The beginning of the next stage of Beatjazz Evolution!

 

debug-cover All these crappy computer issues almost killed off the glow of my very first
feature magazine article in DE:BUG Magazine. It just happened at the worst
time.  besides preparing for 2 shows, one last Friday that i missed because
of it, and one this weekend in NYC for the World Maker Faire (more on this
shortly), I was finalizing content for the beginning of my next crowdfunding
campaign.  editing video on a netbook is not a good look.  but luckily I
have really good friends and i am working from a temporary replacement,
software loaded and ready to go.
  
I got everything loaded and just burned a bit more of the proverbial
midnight oil and Finally got this campaign posted!  yaaaay!!  I say
"Finally" because i had wanted to do another campaign back in June, but i
had to first take care of everyone from the first campaign which meant
finishing the first edition of my book and recording an EP worthy of their
much appreciated contributions.  i finished those items last month then
needed compile the necessary elements for this campaign.  and now i can tell
you about the next step in the beatjazz story!

img001 This Campaign is to fund the creation of the "beatjazz system".  what
does that mean?  the first campaign funded the creation of the beatjazz
"controller"; the instrument itself.  this campaign will fund the rest of
the system.
  

The Beatjazz system is a complete live performance architecture designed to
enable completely immersive live electronic performance.  it represents the
intersection of hardware, software and concept.  I've been working on a few
things that i have been dying to talk about but i wanted to wait.  now i can
go into some detail.

beatjazzctrlr-front beatjazz-headset-back-lo-res I finally designed a proper headset/mouth interface.  I call it the
"jawbone".  all of the electronics are directly behind the head.  you put it
on like a wireless headset mic, but it goes completely around your head,
like a chinstrap.  the reason for this is to provide stable placement for
the mouthpiece and complete head freedom to allow any range of movement.

helmetsideshot for my personal sonic exploration, I have refined the ideas that will go
into the "afro" helmet.  it will still be carbon fiber and have a similar
mouth interface to the jawbone, but i have since learned how to incorporate
a proper surround sound system and augmented heads up display into it. this means that i will have a form of music-data based terminator vision and i’ll be able to create music quadraphonically AND hear it quadraphonically! 
basically by incorporating a small computer.  the computer will run linux
and control my heads up system, the surround processing and gyroscopic
control of sound spatialization.  but WAIT; THERES MORE.

I started reading up on a technique for increasing the neuronal activity in
localized regions of the brain called "TransCrannial Direct Current
Stimulation".  it involves using electrodes to send a very minute amount of
electricity to parts of thebrain, trough contact with the scalp.  very
minute.  like 1/20th of a 9v battery for no more than 20minutes at a time,
with appreciable results that last from hours to months.  after researching
it for a bit i realized that i could do this with an arduino!!  haaaa!! so
My helmet will actually have a brain interface too!!

so all of this helmet data will be wirelessly sent to another computer which
will house two new systems i  plan to incorporate.  the first is a new
visual system.  i realized that people really need to see what is happening
when i play.  there are a lot of interrelated functions that i imagine could
be very beautiful if presented properly, so i am working on reactive
visuals.  these will be from the same data set that will be what i see in
the goggles, but much prettier.

img005 img007 img006

the other, is one that has been a long time coming.  I've begun working on a
new type of synthesis i call "Gestural" synthesis.  I am currently building
a new architecture that will allow me to not just "play" sounds that i
create before a show, but to actually "create" those sounds in performance,
using nothing more than gestures and sensor latching.  This is the most
exciting aspect of the project to me because it will enable an incredibly
intimate level of expression.  the ability to make the sound you feel,
exactly when you feel it.

this will be intimately ties to the new looping system I'm working on that
will make it easy for any number of "beatjazzers" to loop together, in
synch.  the solution is so simple, it'd make you sick, but i want to wait to
talk about the exact technique, once i#ve got it working and have a few
Guinea pigs to test it on.

and if that's not enough, I want to also use this campaign to fund a
complete resource of "how to's", from how to build it to how to play it.  i
think this will make it very much easier to get to grips with the whole
concept.  I hope to have at least one or two up on my website by the time
the open source project debuts in MAKE Magazine on Sept 27th (Oct 2011
edition).  in this way, there will be an easy path to getting started.  My
first Guinea Pig (i.e. student) is Michael Bürge.  he has the distinction of
being the first person to buy a controller from me and as such, i will
experiment my teaching/youtube-fu on him, but i promise not to get too
"officer and a gentleman" on him;-)

so there it is.  that's what ive been plotting for the last 3-4 months.  I'm
surprised i didn't ramble about it more.  this is all I've thought about,
whether awake or asleep, since...well, since the beginning of the first
campaign.  anything resembling a social life beyond the stage, is a distant
memory, and i couldn't be happier.  If you want to be part of this crazy
ongoing journey, please go on over to www.indiegogo.com/beatjazzsystem
and check it out.  don't be shy either.  I offer every thing from a DVD all
the way up to a multi-city busking tour!  and don't forget to pass it on to
any and everyone you think might be into it.  Time to make the future
happen!!

Besides this ongoing saga, or maybe, part of it, I will be in NYC this
weekend for the  World Maker Faire at New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th
Street, Queens, NY  I will be not only performing with the current iteration
of the beatjazz controller, but will also be presenting it, its concepts and
some of the upcoming technology slated for the next revision.  If you're a
geek, it's gonna be fresh.  if youre not a geek, just go get a drink while i
talk, then come back and dance.  everybody wins!!
   http://blog.nysci.org/post/10131586003/feel-the-beat-with-onyx-ashanti

be well.  I look forward to an intense 72 days! l8r.

0

My Laptop is dead. long may she live.

 IMG_0178 This post was supposed to be a big "Yippee!!!" for getting the TRON campaign fullfillments in the mail and moving on to the next one and all that, but upon returning home from celebrating, I wanted to get started on some graphics ideas and went to turn on my laptop and nothing.  hmmm...checked everything...nothing.  replugged it back up....nothing.  and a variety of different computer-voodoo culminating this morning in complete disassembly....nothing.  at this point, i think i must accept that my prized machine, is no longer of this earth.  ( i refrained from using the term "obituary" in the title of this blog post because last summer when i wrote "Obituary for a hat", i got loads of emails from people who just saw the word "obituary" and thought the worst)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This post is a dedication to my laptop.  My fellow geeks will understand the bond between an individual and their computer, especially laptops and portable devices. they are the externalization of your memory, your voice, you ideas, dreams, obsessions, and desires.  it becomes the buffer through which you interface with this life.  For some of us, there is no "offline", there are only brief moments of vague "in-between" time.  although my iphone has become the defacto way that i keep in touch in all ways (email, sms, social networking, twitter and voice at dead last), my laptop is my imagination made real.  it is the train station from Matrix;Revolutions; the place in between worlds.  it is no less of a dimension to me than any that i could imagine.  it is where all the random sacattered thoughts that go through my head every sec, find order and purpose before taking on corporeal form as a song, a book, a controller, or a blogpost.


IMG_0006-1 I purchased it off of craigslist in 2007.  i was able to afford it by selling my coveted honda ex650 generator, which i used to power my busking setup.  the winds of change had started blowing as i realized that CPU power was more important to me than the electrical variety.  I met the seller of the laptop at a cafe just outside of oakland and had a choice between a lenovo 3000 n100 and an acer something or other.  it was no contest.  Lenovo, a Chinese manufacturer, purchased what was previously IBMs laptop division. the thinkpad brand is the bomb! It was and is still the best PC laptop you can buy.  IMG_0036 the machines, even the old ones, still hum with purpose, the keyboards clack with confidence and the they just work like no other pc based machine. over the years, this machine has been dropped, sat on, shaken violently from being carted around in my bike mounted laptop bag, and used on hot dusty streets as well as hotter humid clubs, including having a drink spilled on it and it still worked flawlessly up til the end.  i have replaced the battery 3 times and upgraded the HD 4 times (all still working).

Only recently had i begun to think about a different machine.  i never intended this machine to work this well for this long.  everytime i would consider upgrading to a new machine, i would find a new means of optimising my software.  most recently i started my migration to open source alternatives.  they seem, as a class, to focus less on latest and greatest and more on compatibility with a wide variety of hardware from a wide variety of era's.  but even with this shift in perspective, 2gb ram was starting to become very cramped.  Kore2, my synth host, is cool with smaller synths, but once you attempt one of those monster ass sample sets they are so fond of now, both the cpu and the ram are easily maxed out. SANY0006 recently, after attending and performing at the Pure data convention in Weimar, i began, in earnest, to focus on self created synths, fx, and looping, because i saw multiple examples that it was more than possible.  but even with pure data's vastly more efficient system, my machine was struggling.  so i knew her days were numbered.  the synth arrays, interactive visualizations, augmented systems and surround processing i am working on, would choke the hell out of this machine.

 

Now, in the past, i'd be completely freaked out from having lost my main work horse, no matter what "post-workhorse" plans i had laid.  but it just so happens that, first and foremeost, the hard drive and all of its data, are just fine, which is the main thing anyway. I have a netbook that, while underpowered for most of my systems, is enough to be able to concentrate on basic coding in the interim. as well, this week i will be unveiling my new crowdfunding campaign in the continuation of the first campaigns focus to "create the most amazing live music performance system ever!" and i am optimistic that it will do well.


Picture 006 I am also silly enough to think that there is a chance that i might be able to create a bare-bones complete beatjazz system on my netbook.  meaning basic looping, synthesis, and fx, by next weekend.  i don't know if its possible but at the moment, its the one option that i have, so i may as well investigate it.  if i find that it is too involved, i'm sure i can hobble together something useable.  but after the crazy year i've had, i am optimistic that its, at very least, not impossible.  although the PD forums are about to catch on fire from all the questions i'm about to inundate them with!


so it is that my laptop has fullfilled its purpose and shall now reside in my closet to be used for spare parts, should the need arise.  and although it might seem odd to name something after you have finished working with it, this machines name was "Stellar" and she will always have been an important part of my trajectory.

y2k9pic1


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