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Archive for November 2012



equations relative to each other are beginning to synergize. aesthetic based on function is proving to be a decent guiding principle for not just design, but sonic interval interpretation, formerly called music. the rabbit hole has heiroglyphs on the walls of its interior. the myth construct has become self-aware...


The Function Aesthetic

SANY0111I have seen a truth.  It’s all I have been able to babble about for the last two weeks.  I knew this truth already but i had not given it a name.  it was an invisible guiding principle that slowly revealed itself as the unseen force that governed progress.  Function.  Function, or, specifically,  focusing the attention in this project, to function over any aesthetic consideration.  the logic? imagining something has a finite range, but by parameteririzing what you think you want, it builds a bridge to what you really want, but didnt know how to put into form, mentally.  to build a construct around the idea so it can express itself.

SANY0105Function itself is an aesthetic.  the idea of making a design that is perfect for the task at hand.  so by creating a system of pure function, all possible states are within a graspable range of expression vectors.  and when the idea of function becomes a guiding principle for not just the hardware design, but the software, the musical concept and the movements, an aesthetic creates itself from those variables.  this function aesthetic is now fully an all encompassing goal.

SANY0109if all of the sounds become functions-meaning that an "element" can cover all utterances of the common phenomena (like a hit or a scrape or air turbulence like a horn ), then the way they are assembled becomes more varied, giving voice to the mind that does not speak with words. function wires the ideas directly into your nervous system, especially considering the use of sensors.  what it is becoming has outstripped my ability to guide it by imagining future sonic outcomes.  I cant imagine what i am playing TODAY. 3 months from now may as well be 1000 years.  so by becoming a sort of "function engineer", i can work to create the best iteration of a function and learn to operate that function over time, then repeat.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been creating music from a more function-focused perspective of investigating some new capability like the timestretching and pitchshifting, in a methodical way, in performance and i have found that once the mind knows where things are, it can consturct its own statements without having to try too much.  so by focusing on things like, timestretching and pitchshifting in a controllable manner, repositioning the accelrometers just a few degrees for a more natural hand position, and even adding a small robot made of servos i had lying around, and using it as a parameter feedback system (more on that in the next post), i enhance the function, even if i dont understand how this enhancement will manifest itself.  the results have yielded a few recordings that i consider to be the new me based on these criteria.  my sound wont be able to go back from this place.  the "function aesthetic" is Beatjazz v3.0(beta).

And, it is the EP that i can finally send to all of the contributors of my now year old crowdfunding campaign.  I just couldnt do it unless it was representative of something different than the last one.  The sound is very different to anything i've done before, in really interesting ways.  for instance, now, nothing is a mistake because i can "transform" it into something else, endlessly.  and the current sounds work well together.  they are mostly gesturally active, with 2 or 3 fully gesturally programmable.  so the "thoughts" end up in some strange places but can be resolved easily at any time, in multiple ways. 

the album is three parts; the introduction and 2 "thoughts" which can be thought of a complete musical expression vector.  not quite a song or a mix or a track or agroove.  a bit of all that, but something else. I split them at the point in the "transform" where the idea had shifted from one to the next, definitively.  so there is a lot of interesting stuff at the end of the tracks as they transition from one to the next. 

the first "thought" is free to download for everyone, but the album is $5 because that was the contribution amount that contributors gave for this album.

after i get everybody sorted out with download codes (and updated shipping info), i will write a little post on some experiments with robotic parameter feedback and a beatjazz controller for painters.  holla...


Accelerometer Planes

What a difference a small tweak can make.

earlier this week, i was watching some vids from the previous weekends Black Dynomite party.  I do this so i can improve things that may not be obvious.  there is still much to do sonically but within the realm of the hardware design i was a bit irked by the hand positions i subconciously end up with.  webcam-toy-photo8 when i need to alter parameters i assume a hand position that looks as if i am climbing into a window or trying to scare small children.  that position is that way because i use accelerometers to vary an increasing number of overlapping parameters. accelerometers measure the force of acceleration in one of 3 dimensions; left to right (X), forward to back (Y) and the pull agains gravity, up and down (Z). 

when i built the first prototype of the hand units, which i constructed from cardboard, i determined at that time that placing the x axis under the keypad would allow me to tilt the device left to right to, say, vary volume, in a manner that was like turning a volume knob.  SANY0080and i could vary the y axis by simply moving my hand up and down at the wrist.  and that worked then because the cardboard version was ergonomically less precise than the 3d printed version.  the "boogieman" pose was an issue back then as well but gestures were less important to the system than they are now.  the combination of the "controller" becoming a "prosthesis" combined with designing a software system with gestural axial accuracy at its lowest level, the need to reorient the hand positioning became glaringly obvious.

webcam-toy-photo7So i started looking for what would be the most natural way to express precise x-y-z gestures.  what i discovered was "point position".  if you hold your arm out in front of you and point, the point just under the lowest 1/3 of your forefinger is absolutely the most memorable position for natural x-y control.  it is unconcious because the ranges are constrained by the range of the hand at the wrist.   it is always perpendicular to the thing you point at and no one points sideways or upside down. SANY0053 the x-y are perfectly in the center of their respective ranges and if you, say, point down, the y axis moves down to that position.  it is freakish how accurate it is now, without thinking.  so much so that i can draw circles or waves or letters although i havent  written any code (yet) to take advantage of that.

i reprinted the accelerometer mount pieces to incorporate the new angle. my newly created scratching technique is much more predictable and my hands now assume more of a Bruce Lee stance than before.  the gestures are making way for "kata's" now that keeping the keypad on a flat plane is no longer necessary. 

SANY0065so saturday nov. 10 at Backlit Lounge #5 i will get to play with how these new forms combine with some new vocal processing concepts i am dying to work out with.  just thought i'd share this tidbit for those toying with accelerometers.  if youre in Berlin, feel free to bring em to the thing. l8r

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