Let a thousand knobs bloom


Conversation around work to undertake in Leicester commences. Bowers is full of ideas, many with historical connections. There’s ghost radio, the use of a radio as a control signal for his modular set-up. He cites Morton Subotnick’s ghost scores, silent tracks/signals used as control voltages/information. And there’s scrubbing Wagner, much like David Ocker’s Ring Cycle complete in one second. There’s been quite a few reductionist approaches to Wagner. More info here. Tim Shaw suggests that a gesamtkunstwerk knob could be conceived. Bowers, despite the one knob to rule theme, wants to collectively let a thousand knobs bloom. A discussion also takes place as to whether there will be a mass knob-off at the end of the performance. There is an overall preference for restraint within the group.

Bowers also has a fascination with the work of Alan Turing and has coded a virtual Turing Machine in PD. Bowers finishes with talk about knob code federated. Later over lunch at the Cosy Club, Leicester, Bowers and Richards take the opportunity to discuss how Bowers’ PD Turing Machine could meet Richards PIC and feedback device Colossus. Ideas about early approaches to coding are brought up along with wavetables as a method for constructing ‘rules’ and using tapeheads for data input. Bowers debates the best way to send control voltages from his PD environment. These include: DC output from a MOTU, Adruino and CVpal (usb/Eurorack module).

In summary, Neal Spowage is set on his no-input mixer where many knobs are tied together and controlled by a pulley system (one knob). The scenario of a massive control system controlling nothing enters the debate. He sets off to skip dive and rummage, hunting for artifacts to employ in his knob sculpture. Shaw comes up with the novel concept of knob feedback that utilises a DC motor, a self-oscillating knob where movement and sound correlate. He also plans to work on a realisation of the piece Fields. Patel goes to the studio to explore the Colossus one knob/one button sequencer in more detail. He plans to make a series of sketches and recordings of the device and work with Richards, Topley and guest Agnes Cameron on a small group performance for the instrument. Richards needs to consider how to best synchronise multiple Colossus devices for the performance and starts wiring cables and connectors. Topley has been knitting, and presents a garter stitched purple woollen that she plans to stuff with padding and electronics to become a wireless controller. Rolling the object across the floor to make sound as an interaction/performance is her aim.

There’s a short description of Ben Freeth’s Para-Babble below:

SpeakJet, a type of integrated circuit featuring a five-oscillator synthesiser, is capable of producing human vocal sounds called allophones. An allophone is one of a set of possible spoken sounds (or phones) or signs used to pronounce a single phoneme in a particular language. It has been appropriated as paratechnology, a haunted electronic device used during Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) sessions to generate scrambled words and sentences “in the hope that the spirit world will manipulate the scrambled up words into understandable sentences”. These communications are used by ghost hunters and paranormal groups as evidence of spirit communication.

Used in a “One-Knob” context the SpeakJet chip is controlled by an Arduino micro controller using single potentiometer mapped to generate streams of user controlled, random allophones forming a haunted Para-Babble. Paradoleic illusions invite speculative and unquantifiable searches for sonic entities with a dubious ontological grounding. The streams of allophones are supported by drones generated from filtered noise and controlled feedback loops generated within Max/MSP and Pure Data. (Ben Freeth)

The majority begin to build a Hyperpot:

Spowage’s pulley system one knob; and Lee Ray’s sketch in Processing

Richards breaks at various points in the day to discuss via Skype Lee Rays’ work, an application written in Processing to explore the themes of virtual plastic surgery, deconstruction of the face and databending (image to sound).

Sam Topley’s garter stitched knob

Two Colossus synths synced:


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