26. Hands

Today my focus has been disparately spread. All these tracks are just little experiments. I don’t really know whether I regard any of them as complete or not.

The first is a very simply created wavetable synth whose operation I attempted to make unique. It takes six wavetables, each 64 samples long, and applies them as modulation to one another. The first three act on each others’ amplitude, the second three act on the first three’s pitch. Using an analogue input (from a MIDI keyboard) I can edit the shape of each wavetable as an invisible head writes across all six in succession. This is quite difficult to explain. Anyway, the result isn’t quite as interesting as the process:

Wavetabler right click and ‘save as’

After lunch I made a very quick device that plays back two samples with three playheads at random speeds and locations. There is a slow (60 second) modulation applied to the random number generator that controls the speed of playback. The hope was to get a noticeable variation in texture over the span of the song. It uses samples of guitar and of fingers tapping on tabletop. The second is a simplified version of the same thing acting on a sample of me reading from John Grisham’s ‘The Summons’ (The Times calls it “Classic Grisham”). Makes a change…


Grisham 3 right click and ‘save as’

Finally this afternoon I returned to an old device that uses the ambient light sensors in the laptop (just a pair of LDRs used to tell the computer when to dim the screen). I added a couple of twiddly controls on keys and messed about for a bit. I think it’s probably a lot more fun to play with than to listen to, but here it is:

Lightning right click and ‘save as’

It has been an exciting jam-packed weekend (by no one’s standards but my own, obviously).

Yesterday provided a welcome opportunity to clean the house of the visitor’s messy remnants. I also did some laundry, which has just finished drying. On Saturday night there was a power cut, which put an abrupt halt to my plans of partying the night away (hoho).

On Friday night something truly horrifying happened. Whilst sitting at the computer doing not very much, I was horrendously startled by a tapping at the window. At first I put it down to just general windy-night noises, but it became so petulant as to be unmistakable. I couldn’t see anything out the windows, so i ventured outside, ready for a punch-up, shaking with adrenaline, no torch, shitting myself, only to discover that it was a distant firework display whose muffled pops had tricked me. It was a very convincing rapping-at-the-window sound which lent my loneliness a sharp, Poe-esque terror.

I have been wondering about my recent difficulties to find real engagement with my work. It occurred to me today that I am absolutely desperate for input and feedback, and I started thinking why that should be the case (apart from the obvious). Actually, I don’t think there is a cause beyond the obvious. So forget it.

There’s only two weeks to go now. Every time I realise this fact I am fit to burst with excitement. Thinking about the outside world fills me with a massive nostalgia. What a bizarre emotion that is. I love music which has the same effect. Wax Stag is extremely good at it (see ‘Fantasy Gay’ and ‘George White’) and almost every song of Skate Rock’s album ‘At Home With…’ does it (see the Best New Fun website for free download). There’s some kind of joyous melancholy in the melodies (it’s quite difficult to make coherent comments about music when you can’t listen to it). Makes me feel I would like to try and write something that can evoke that.

Errrr, yeah. See you later.


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