the residency, I worked closely with Kees Tazelaar, who's
keen advice, tireless enthusiasm, and no-nonesense approach
made my somewhat overly ambitious idea feasible in the
time I had allowed.
a snapshots of all the gear I was attempting to combine
what I was trying to fit it in to:
had obviously overestimated and perhaps Kees's best advice
was to keep the indeterminacy
machine (the bent keyboard) as its own instrument
and to focus on a set of 5 or 6 smaller units to fit in
much experimentation, I ended up building and installing
two circuit bent Major Morgans (something I'd been working
on for a while), a newly designed circuit bent effects
unit based on a toy megaphone, and a Weird Sound Generator
built during the residency. I also included a cusomized
4ms Triwave Picogenerator, an Alesis Philter effects unit,
and Behringer eq pedal. And finally, I especially purchased
as the 'heart' of the new unit, a lovely (and expensive)
Malgorithm effects unit with Doefer support units
to provide power and line level inputs. All this eventually
was to be housed in an aluminum case designed originally
to hold a dj turntable.
killing a few prototypes, I finally had all the units
ready for installation. I needed to add structural support
to the case though as it wasn't built to hold this type
of gear. I also had to somehow even out the height of
the units so that the playing surface was even.
I tried using cut pieces of foam but it was looking a
little too Charlie Brown (I've never claimed to be much
of a craftsman) so I switched to an old trick using dvd
cases that were glued and taped together to make different
hieght platforms for each unit to rest on.
unit was then affixed to the case using velcro strips,
so that they can be switched out with other units in the
future, and reordered as needed.
in order to truly make this a modular instrument, I need
to build a matrix mixer to connect all the units together.
Here is the interface I designed:
actually is feasible, but just not within the time I had
available at STEIM. But on later consideration, I felt
that it would have made the unit too fixed and I wanted
to keep it as open as possible. So I decided an open ended
matrix mixer was the best approach. I ordered the the
parts from the States and they've just arrived, so soon
I'll be building the final component which will be a 7
by 7 matrix mixer with 49 dials, and 14 input/outputs,
with Light Resististors to modulate the pots for use in
And then it'll be time to go on tour.
should say that while I was at STEIM I also attended a
brilliant one week long PureData
workshop taught by Florian Grote that cleared up some
questions I had been struggling with for a long time.
I had hoped to interface my computer with this instrument,
but that will probably have to wait for a future residency
to acheive that goal.
I met some great people, including the excellent staff
at STEIM (Nico, Taku, Robert, Frank, and Minouk) as well
as other 'residenciers' such as Vilbjørg Broch
and Alex Nowitz who have become good friends.
soon as the last modules arrive and are built I'll be
posting sound samples below and maybe a small video ot
two. In the meantime, please enjoy the pictures.
dangers of instrument building:
Major Morgan Units:
Megaphone FX Unit 'Scar':
Wierd Sound Generator:
Malgorithm Box and Unit:
few more construction photos:
The Final Product:
Samples and Video to follow soon...