If this doesn’t mean anything to you then don’t worry. I have to admit it’s a very obscure niche. Sonifying the bio data from plants might seem odd, esoteric even, but to me it’s something really interesting.
I remember seeing MIDI Sprout on Kickstarter, but felt that the price point was prohibitive. However, I always felt that it was something that I wanted to try out. So I watched for one on eBay, and finally one came up at a reasonable price. So I bought it and it worked beautifully.
The little video is with a coffee plant. My plan is to try the MIDI Sprout with a range of different plants to see if there are noticeable differences in each plant’s musical output. As and when I do I’ll post the results. Probably with video too.
However, this isn’t the only kind of sonification project I have on the go, but more of that another time.
Given the current situation I think that now is the time for me to start this off. I’ve had it for a while, and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to get it out and give it a try. That moment is now.
I was glad to get along to this. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan. In fact, it was really only 2018 when a friend asked me if I wanted to come along and see them live. I went. I was really impressed. It was an amazing night.
Since then I’ve listened to bits and pieces, including, very recently, the entire “In Search of Hades” box set. Which was quite a big thing to listen to. So I thought it would be worth checking this out.
To say that this was a small exhibition would be something of an understatement. It was to be honest, tiny. It is tucked away in the Barbican library music section. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but I do think that a band of this stature really deserves better. Perhaps something thoughtfully curated. Something that provides a deeper understanding to the music, the ideas behind it, the process itself?
Personally I’d like that. This, at the Barbican, was fine as a taster, but essentially it wasn’t enough. I understand why it was small, but I do think that someone like the Barbican could have done more to make this something to celebrate and show what an enormous contribution this band has made to electronic music specifically, but also to music making and musicians in general.
I had one of these for a fair old time, and did, on occasion play with it a little. In 2019, along with lots of other bits of technology, I decided that I didn’t really need it anymore. Don’t get me wrong. It was fun to play with. I enjoyed it, but at times you just need to move on.
So now it’s gone to someone else who will hopefully find it useful, fun or whatever. I hope that they enjoy it.
Last year I decided that I wasn’t doing anything interesting with my collection of littleBits components and modules, so I finally gave them up and sold them. I hope that they’ve all gone to good homes.
They were fun, and very useful at times. I did enjoy them, but I think I had got to a point where I’d stopped doing anything creative with them.
The littleBits bitLab that is. I’d always wondered how sustainable it would be, but apparently there’s already an answer to that question. So it’s a shame. I think that there were some very nice projects in there but obviously not enough money to make it work. It’s a shame. It was a great idea.
For a long time I’ve been thinking about the idea of being able to create a synth in hardware which reacted to the virtual world, more specifically, to being tweeted at. To that that end I got myself a littleBits CloudBit, which works quite well, albeit it isn’t able to provide as much data as…
I’ve been a fan of the Mute Synth from Dirty Electronics since the very first one. I’ve got 3 now, Mute Synth 1, Mute Synth 2.0, and now the 4.0. It’s certainly the most complex of the Mute range, and, after a very brief play I think it has some very interesting possibilities.
I’m also interested to see how it can work with Mute Synth 2.0. Hopefully I’ll get to experiment with that in the not too distant future.
I thought I’d post a little more about the set up for the gig I played at Cafe Oto earlier in the week. I thought it might be useful or interesting to see the devices I used.
Originally, when Robyn asked me to do this, I thought I would use these plus an Olegtron 4060 (MK I). In the end the Olegtron was too complex and difficult to change patches with any speed.
So ended up with the 2 Kastle synths, a 1.0 and a 1.5. Actually the mix of the two is really good and works very well. Patching across the two devices makes for some very interesting possibilities.
What I’ve realised is that I really need a simpler way to load patches. Not physically of course, but a way to record patches. I thought that taking pictures would help, and it did, but it wasn’t the easiest way to recreate a patch. My next thoughts were to write down the patched information. That was my solution for the Cafe Oto gig, and it worked ok. But only ok.
So now I think I’m going to have to create my own patch sheets for the Kastle 1.0/1.5, and, when I do, I will post some templates here.
On Wednesday I had the rare privilege of playing live at Cafe Oto with the amazingly talented Robyn. She is a gifted trumpet player and had a whole night of acts at Cafe Oto. I’ve been there many times and seen some amazing artists, so to play there myself was incredible.
It was a really great night too. Robyn was, of course, amazing. My small part was to bring some improvised electronics in the form of a couple of Bastl Instruments Kastle synths. To be precise a 1.0 and a new 1.5 Kastle. These little synths are amazing and incredibly versatile. There’s so much you can do with them.
Hopefully I’ll be able to get some of the footage and sound from the gig. When I do, I’ll be sharing that.