Week 25/04/16

Ordered and received a mini 2.5mm jack extender cable for the Gametrak foot-switch. The cable attached to the foot-switch is only a few inches long, meaning that in the performance it would have to sit on the table with the Gametrak and be accessed by hand. As I am going to be using the foot-switch to change between states in more than one of the pieces, where I would also be using both hands, I need it to be on the floor and hidden from the audience.


I’ve been having troubles with the timings of  metro objects controlling cycle sequences when creating my Gametrak patch. The audio does not stay rigidly in time and seems to sometimes erratically speed up and slow down, especially when the computer is taking in any other input. Only just discovered the ‘overdrive’ option this week which gives priority to midi timing and audio processing over screen drawing, when this is selected the timing is much better.


Week 18/04/16

I had another meeting with Patricia this week, where I wanted to speak to her about the possibility of cycling through all four of my patches without having to touch my laptop in the performance, with each patch muting all of it’s signals after moving onto the next piece. Patricia showed me the mute object which disables signal processing in a subpatch. This would mean combining all my patches into one large patch, and placing each in a subpatcher. I could then use an external control (such as one of the Ototo keys) to cycle through each subpatch.

Also got around to buying a new soundcard. In a previous meeting with Patricia we had discussed what audio ins/out I would need to perform all of my pieces. My current soundcard was limited to 2 ins and 2 outs. In the performance I require 2 audio inputs for my Zoom recorder (using as a microphone for the wine glasses) and 1 audio in for the contact mic. I also need two USB ports, one for the Gametrak and the other for the Ototo. My current soundcard was USB connected so it took up one of my two ports meaning I couldn’t also use the Gametrak and Ototo at the same time.

The new soundcard is a Saffire Pro 24, which has 4 audio inputs, 6 audio outputs (useful for recording the audio from the performance on an external device) and connects via firewire so I have both USB ports free.


Week 11/04/16

This week I began to compose the music which I’ll perform using the Ototo kit. I also sourced the objects I’ll use when performing this piece. I decided to use recycled baked bean tins, however I also wanted three identical larger objects for the bass notes played in the piece which are different to the other sounds being played.

I found these three tea/sugar/coffee pots in a local charity shop.



Week 04/04/16

Went back to Goldsmiths metal workshop to create grooves towards the bottom of the 3 thick rods so that the alligator clips can attach to them. Had to use a lathe, a machine that rotates an object on it’s axis as you cut into it.

I started the groove 20mm from the bottom of each rod so that the bottom of the rod still fit perfectly into the holes created on the chopping board, and made them 7mm wide so that there was enough room for the alligator clip to fit inside.


Week 28/03/16

After further experiments testing the ping pong ball & frying pan interface, I decided to change the pan component to a different material. This is due to the long, resonating tail of sound that the impact between the ball and the metal surface creates. Even when using thresholds, the tail was making it hard to differentiate between two impacts in fast succession.
I’ve decided to use a chopping board instead of a metal pan, the large flat surface is perfect and the sonic tail of the impact is considerably dampened when using wood. I purchased this board from the local TK Maxx.


The idea of using a chopping board also inspired me to take the interface further; I could drill holes in the surface and insert metal rods which would also be connected to the Ototo device. Touching each object could send midi data to open up a new bank of sounds which are triggered by the bouncing balls whilst also triggering sounds themselves.

This interface would also fit the visual aesthetic inspired by the recycled junkyard DIY instruments built by Mark Applebaum and Terry Dame

I went to the metal workshop in Goldsmiths and searched the scrap metal bins for thin metal rods which I could possibly insert into the board. I used a hand saw to cut two large pieces I found into six smaller rods.

After this I went to the wood workshop to drill suitable holes in the board using a pillar drill. The rods fit perfectly, however after getting home I realised the alligator clips used to connect them to the Ototo kit would not fit onto the thicker 3 rods.


Week 21/03/16

This week I’ve started creating the patch to use with the Gametrak/lampshade interface. I have attached the lampshade to the Gametrak in a rather crude way, by simply tying both tethers to the top.


The Hi (Human Interface) object receives data for the x and y coordinates of both tethers on the Gametrak as well as on/off data for the foot-switch included which plugs into the front of the Gametrak unit. I have used the route object to only receive the y coordinates of both tethers, and also the foot-switch status.

The screenshots below show start with the main section of the patch, the first outlet of the route object is the first tether, second outlet is the second tether, and the third outlet is the foot-switch. The second screenshot is inside the ‘if statements’ subpatcher connected to the first tether, the list of if statements send integer data to the ‘sounds’ subpatch (third screenshot) where samples are triggered depending on how far the tether is extended from the Gametrak.

One issue I came across was the ability to trigger audio clips without triggering every clip which you pass whilst getting to that point. That’s why I implemented a system using a selector~ object combined with a trigger and a bang received from the foot-switch data. This means that in this instance, a clip will only be triggered when you are within the correct threshold AND you press the foot-switch, and using the selector~ object means only one clip will play at a time.