We don’t need no water, let the m%(&f§)/”a burn!!!-Introducing the “firestarter” 3D-Printed digital musical interface (beatjazz controller)
In the video, I had literally just gotten the system to work. I had mostly assembled the system by Monday evening but I, in my great wisdom, decided that it would be great to use hot glue to cover all of the open wiring in various places. I discovered that this particular brand of hot glue conducts electricity (for future reference I should use silicon). I burned up two arduinos and a couple of radios as well. By Tuesday morning (the day of the show in the video) it was very apparent that this wasn’t going to work so I just said "screw it" and built new sensor boards. It wasn’t hard, just lots of small tedious steps. But by 8pm I was getting proper data from the system so I packed it up and finished configuring it in the dressing room. I really didn’t know if it was going to work or not for the show, but the new hand units are very much a "musical prosthesis" now and felt very comfortable and intimate.
Over the weekend, the first controller contributor from the 1st crowdfunding campaign, winter 2011, came to berlin to finally receive his perk. I was still working on it when he got here. Needless to say, he was quite happy with how it turned out. I had the headset from the "firestarter" system (yes, that is what I call it) so we basically spent a couple of hours playing around like kids in transformer costumes.
I decided to go ahead and give him the working one because (a) I had already started on building the red one that would be mine (b) he has been so patient and supportive for waaaaaay longer than I thought it would take to complete his perk, and (c) he has had 3-4 versions of the software already and thus has a decent idea of how it works. That said, I didn’t realize how complex the system would be for others. I forget that I have played this system ALOT. I was overwhelmed with the list of little weird shit I needed to explain like when holding two joystick positions on the same hand, the last one latches until you click it again. And many more little things. I will use the next couple of weeks to make the software easy enough to use, out of the box, with simple instructions. I am very interested in an interactive tutorial built in PD-which I have begun-but I will hold off on that until the gestural synthesis system works (very soon).
There are a few design aspects that I am most proud of with this MkI design. The adjustable mouthpiece is EXACTLY how I imagined it. It sits in a perfect position for playing and besides the ear-hang thingies making me look like I have pixie ears, the whole contraptions so flexible and very comfortable. I put padding on top of the FSR's to spread out the finger presses across their surfaces and it gives the "keys" much more feedback. Much like drumpad pads. I feel that this new feel deserves a "tabla mode" just for playing percussive hits.
The lights illuminate the interior of the controller in a nice unexpected manner. It very much looks like a circuit, itself, when the lights catch its angles. I will definitely play with various lighting configs once the campaign has been wrapped up.
I can begin to be, like, slightly more normal again now. 18 hour days will shrink to 12 hour days until the software is functional...ok, that’s a lie. I will probably still do 18 hour days because that’s just my pace, but I can diversify my activities beyond simply learning cad and printing parts. Gestural synthesis is the main focus now. As well as printing perks for the other campaign contributors. I have been working on some very interesting 3d printed perks that are going to blow their minds and I can’t wait to wrap up this phase of the project so I can show them all how much I appreciate them for supporting my project. Without them, things would be very different.
from Monday I will begin a new series of posts based on the my analysis of electronic music sounds and how I will create their "spirit" within the gestural synthesis system so if you don’t like tech talk mixed with hippie talk, you won’t like them....otherwise, I will see the rest of you at the rabbit hole on Monday. l8r!