lørdag den 20. oktober 2012

Virgin Concert at The Academy

The first week at DIEM we plunged right into what it is all about: we had to prepare a concert for the weekend under the annual Aarhus Festival. I decided to combine all the elements from my application video (as shown in my first blog entry) into a useful setup on stage. I had help from my fellow student, Sebastian Edin, to feed audio into the 'Stomach', which is the name of my Max/MSP patch responsible for combining all the chunks of sound into a weird regurgitation of the sound on stage.

My brother was so kind as to bring his video camera and eternalize the moment.

I was very thrilled with this performance, it's the first time it really works out for me with this patch and it was just a giant playground with all the possibilities we had up there. The big band before us left their instruments on stage so Sebastian could bring the mic around and record the various instruments.

Here's some shortcuts for some of the more interesting parts in the video:
00:45 - Tuning the system - weird animal noises!
12:05 - Force-feeding the 'Stomach' and Sebastian on Joystick.
16:02 - Sebastian feeding with percussion.
19:37 - Mallet jam and Arduino scrubber.
25:57 - Open piano and Strings.
33:05 - Fooling around.

To tell a bit about the technical details behind this setup, I combined all audio inputs (mic, theremin, the homemade string instruments and contact mics) to a small behringer mixer, the output going into the soundcard, as the drawing shows. I wanted some tactile control for Max, so I built some sensors for my arduino board and I used a flight simulator joystick with a nice 16-bit resolution.

Preperation of Arduino-based controller (left) and drawing of the setup before realization. (right)

For the arduino controls, I used a DC-motor reading from one of the analog inputs - the current is either positive or negative depending on which way your turn the motor. This made it into a nice rotary encoder, using only 1 AIN. I used it for scrubbing in a short audio buffer in Max. A photo-resistor was used to control feedback of a delay and I had 2 potentiometres for LP and HP filters.
The joystick controls a variable waveform-oscillator, the X-axis determines the waveform from square to sine, the Y-axis is distortion of the waveform, twisting the stick opens up 2 filters for letting out the sound.
The bassdrum-like sound you can hear is a simple sine-wave with a pitch curve. :)

onsdag den 17. oktober 2012

First Entry: A little bit about Dögenigt

Hi fellow avant-gardiste, passionate tinckler or abstract thinking composer. Whoever you are, I guess you must hold some sort of interest for weird sound and electronically generated music.
I'd like to tell you a little bit about what I do.

In november 2011 I applied for an education here in Denmark under The Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. As the only Music Academy in Denmark, they have a department for studies in electronic music. Each year, a small handful of composers are picked out, to attend DIEM (Danish Institute of Electronic Music) where there's classes in acoustics, aesthetics, studio technique and general guidance and support for each student by a personal "mentor".

At the point of my application, I'd been making a lot of electronic music - for nearly 10 years - and in 2008 my artistic outlet culminated with 5 releases under my former alter ego, 'Sövnigt Sind'.

(All Sövnigt Sind releases are available for download and streaming here:)

But I got tired of making these fixed arrangements on my computer with which I couldn't do anything but press on the play-button on stage, so I started looking into Max/MSP - I have a friend who's a mastermind with patching in Max - and got pretty good at building the software I wanted.
Here's some recordings I did with my patches, under my 'Paleorama' project.
Paleorama on Soundcloud

I searched for ways to control my patches with controllers, to get a tactile connection with my music, looked into the MidiBox project, which was quickly getting mentally replaced with an Arduino board (with a nice 10-bit resolution), then I fell in love with DIY electronics, effect boxes and circuit boards in all shapes and shades, which gave me these unpredictable and "authentic" sounds that I felt the computer lacked a bit of.

Basically one thing led to another, and I decided to shoot a video for my application to DIEM, showing my journey away from the computer as a fixed composition-machine to an instrument which spits out unique sound every time you "pick it up" - just like any other instrument one would play.
Here's the video I applied with.


In march, while I was travelling Nepal, I received a mail from the academy saying that I was amongst the 4 persons they decided to let in this year! That made my journey so much better! Right now, I've been attending for about 2 months and it's a just the perfect setting for my musical and artistic process right now.
Thank your for your time! Stay tuned.

Dani Dögenigt