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. :)

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