Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
Archives: August 2016
August 24, 2016
by Chris Randall
I didn't realize it until I'd rendered and uploaded the video, but this week's quasi-philosophical meandering actually has a theme, and that theme is "milestones." In the first half, I ramble for a couple minutes about the minor yet not minor at all milestone of crossing 1,000 subs on the AI YouTube channel. I also get confetti in my ears.
In the second half, I wander around the subject of actually finishing songs. As to whether I impart any information that one could consider "useful" is open to interpretation. But whatever I'm doing, I feel like I do it with a great deal of charm, and dare I say enthusiasm?
August 21, 2016
by Chris Randall
Like the subject line says... I was curious as to how the Onde Magnétique OM-1 worked. Originally, I thought that these super cheap little decks might be powered directly from the sequencer. I went out and hit a few thrift stores and bought several and gave that a try, with success rates that varied between "not at all" and "fuckin' nope." (I believe I briefly referenced this failure in one of the other Tech Time videos.) So I just set that aside with a shrug and moved on to other things.
However, last night I was looking at the OM-1 video again, and I was like "oh. Duh. He's just throwing 0-5V at the speed pot." So I busted out the video camera and soldered a jack right to the pot, and sure as shit, works like a charm, as the video above shows.
Something I didn't mention in the video: this isn't 1V/Oct. It's more like 5V/Oct. Sequencer 1 actually shows the voltage value you're shitting out the CV outputs in linear mode, so I was able to just put a tuner on the ass end, and scroll the voltage values until it was tuned to 12TET. I got 14 semitones total out of it, which is plenty for demonstration purposes. But if you're going to attempt this, you'll need a sequencer that can output linear values in addition to 1V/Oct. Sequencer 1 is, of course, perfect for this sort of foolishness. I'm sure there are others that will work fine, but I don't feel like talking about them.
When it comes to the cassette itself, take the lowest note you want to play, and record a note a semitone below that (so you have some wiggle room) on your cassette, and you'll end up with a full octave above that note.
You can clearly hear the portamento in the note programming later in the video. This is a result of the time it takes the motor to move to the new speed. This is an electromechanical process, so it's not instantaneous. Something with inertia needs to be accelerated or decelerated, and this takes time. Hence, fixed portamento.
August 14, 2016
by Chris Randall
Part of the problem with having been in this business so long is that some of this stuff seems really self-evident to me. Someone in one of the Facebook groups I follow asked about this contact mic shit, and several others chimed in to say "yeah, that'd be dope!" and I happily complied. The problem is that I don't know how basic to make it.
I think I struck a happy medium here between showing the basic techniques and showing some stuff that more advanced users might find interesting. I'll let you be the judge. Let me know in the comments.
August 10, 2016
by Chris Randall
A nice trip to Oregon last week; visited my mom on the Coast, did an event at Control Voltage in Portland, and visited my 90-yr-old grandparents in Eastern Oregon. A lot of driving, but good fun overall.
Side note: while I generally do the requisite things to keep my creative batteries charged, all the usual shit that everyone does, once in a while, a good set of circumstances can give me an extra boost, and that occurred Saturday morning in Portland. I had some time to kill, and the hotel was right next to the Portland Art Museum, so I figured "fuck it, let's go have a look." The Portland Art Museum has a relatively small permanent collection, largely given to portraits of overweight Flemish bankers, like most small museums that exist due to the largess of a cattle baron or some such. So most of the museum is given over to temporary exhibits.
The combination of shows at the PDX museum last weekend was really stellar, is all I'm saying. In particular, there was an installation of material studies from Allied Works Architecture that really got my gears turning. Super inspirational. I think I caught it on its last day there, but what a great exhibit. Also, the new collection of graphic art in the basement is well worth a look if you're in Portland.
Anyhow, I'm changing the schedule on these videos a bit. I've moved The Weekly to mid-week, and Tech Time will stay in the weekends. Since those are more popular, I'm going to devote the entire weekend to their creation, and bang out The Weekly during the work week, since it is inherently easier to do.
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