Benjamin Cerigo > Instrument Lab #2

I came to Steim wanting to work on the performance moment of MoEFE (Moment of extreme force exertion). Once at Steim the presentations and lectures that I had at Steim pushed my work a great deal and I now feel that there is many more interesting directions. One of the most interesting parts for me is how you instrument effects the composition and thus the music that it produces. I hope to do many more experiments on this and to take instrument building further than just the MoEFE gesture.

I firstly learning about the history of Steim which fascinated me and I am in awe of work they have done. Seeing what was possible opened up my ideas of what I wanted to do in a live performance context. From this I started to work on different ways of working with live sampling in MaxMSP.

Wjh~

wjh~ patch

I have always felt that during an improvisation there would be a great moment or sound and I would have missed it or I want to use it again. So I wanted be able to go back and play with that sound that just happened. This lead me to develop a constantly recoding buffer that I could record off backwards from the moment I press a button so that I would never miss what just happened. This is when I worked on wjh~ a MaxMSP object which does this.

We also Learnt about JunXion the software developed by Steim that can help to get the control Data from Human interface devices on to the computer so that it can by used as an instrument. Learning about this helped me to order ways of controlling human interface data on MaxMSP. JunXion uses states of patches for each input to control a desired output. I used a similar method of states that I could change between in max.

From many of the conversation and workshop made me aware of the importance of how you map your controls to your sounds. This is because this mapping is what gives the instrument its feel and can dictate what kind of sequences are possible and thus the compositional possibilities of an instrument. As a composer this excites me as instrument can give new and possibly interesting limitation to music and composition and something that I hope to look at in the future.

The Rattle Hammer and MoEFE

This was made first made in response to the workshop with Kristina Anderson in which we were given a lot of materials to make a instrument that would make a sound we had drawn. The Rattle Hammer worked well and I felt summed up my intentions in the MoEFE project.

The Rattle hammer

I developed the rattle hammer further by putting two contact Mics on the outside of the box. I then filled the box with different object to change the sounds that the rattle produced. Keys in the box I felt worked well.

During my time at Steim I worked on MoEFE’s with the first step to get the computer to understand when energy was about to be exerted and when it had been. This I work on by using a wireless game controller that used accelerometers, and mapping the movements of this controller.

Using this gesture mapping, the buttons on the wireless game controller in conjunction with the Rattle Hammer I created a method of sampling the rattle sound and distorting the rattle sound. I also used these sampled sounds to create what I call “sound piles” which is actually just granular synthesis with large chunks instead of grains. I then used the tilt sensors to be able to control the volume, pitch of the sound piles.

Once I had the basic of the instrument functioning I wanted to make the controls more malleable so I could change what I was controlling. This was hard as I only had 6 buttons, I however took an idea from beat ‘em’ up games and create combinations of buttons to change what the controls would be doing. For instance I wanted to choose what I was sampling out of four different options so I used different combinations to be able chose between them.

I had lots of fun making and coding the instrument but I did not have very long to develop it as I had agreed to perform with it on the Tuesday after the course. This meant that I had to quickly learn the instrument and all the combinations I had written. This was fine but I didn’t get to the point where I couldn’t use the on screen info to tell me where I was in the controls.

I had developed a short performance that showed what I could do with the instrument. However before the show the patch started to break and became problematic. I later found out this was because of a third party external for MaxMSP but it meant that I could not perform. Working towardsthis performance had meant that I had created a lot in a short amount of time.

I feel that I have made a good start on the MoEFE instrument and I like how it sounds and playing with it is fun. I feel however it is still very basic and I am a beginner at playing so it does not run smoothly. I am going to work on practising and developing it further.

There is also an element that I did not get to explore because of the short time period. It was to use the MoEFE instrument to hit and make sound with other object. I would like to experiment with using a hammer with the similar gestural controls that can hit object that make interesting sounds. I would like to experiment with this being a destructive act as I am interesting in the satisfaction of a destructive gesture and the ideas of Auto-destruction and Auto-creation as ways of creating art.

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