4 Years of OscilloScope

Oscilloscope ident

This week marks four years since I started Oscilloscope, a monthly event focusing on experimental electronic music. I’m currently writing this as Wales in under lock-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as such, any form of gathering is impossible.

Over the last 4 years we have been completely voluntary and survived on donations of time, energy, talent and even sometimes performance space. It has been an amazing experience. With a growing team of organisers, an supportive and articulate audience and performances over 50 different artists from at least 12 different countries producing genuinely world class work, I am truly humbled.

I could go on singling out highlights and kindnesses, but that would seem to neglect those that did not get mentioned, and perhaps I will return at a later date to update this blog and expand on some of those memories. However at this stage I think that the double bill of streaming that was put together with next to no budget and a lot of goodwill for the anniversary double bill on the last day of June and and the 1st of July 2020 speaks for itself.

Thank you to all in these videos of the two live streams from 30/6/20 and 1/7/20; but also a massive thank you to all those involved in the 4 years leading up to them.

Stay safe and enjoy!

OscilloScope 4th Anniversary Event Day 1
OscilloScope 4th Anniversary Event Day 2

The Black Cloud-video

A video of a performance 20/11/19.

For more information about the piece itself please have a look at my previous post 🙂

Many people ask about the kit invovled so here is a quick rundown of that was on the table if you feel the need to geek out completely!

There is a synth which I put together, comprising the following modules:

Manufacturer ModuleDescription
2hp FreezFreez is a voltage controlled locked looper
2hp TMTM is a probabilistic random sequence generator.
DoepferA-110-1VCO
DoepferA-124 SEWasp 12db/oct Multimode Filter
DoepferA-140ADSR Envelope Generator
DoepferA-145Low Frequency Oscillator
Erica SynthsPico CV MIX3 channel DC coupled mixer
Erica SynthsPico DSPCustom stereo effects
Expert SleepersDisting mk4Many-in-1 multifunction module
Gershom ElectronicsTrash-80 One of a kind evolving generative FM
Make NoiseFunctionFunction generator
Manhattan AnalogCVPControl Voltage Processor
Mutable instrumentsEarsContact Microphone
Mutable instrumentsVeilsQuad VCA

2. This was processed with a Korg Kaoss Pad KP3

3. The audio book sections and prepared sounds were played from a Zoom H2

4. The audio was routed through a Soundcraft Spirit M12 (which was overkill but does have busses and direct sends!)

Snakes and Ladders (in development one rung at a time)

This is part of an on going project making music from games.

The video shows a self generating game of snakes and ladders for 4 robots. The robot must roll a 6 to start and must land exactly on ‘100’ to finish otherwise must retreat the remaining number of ‘spaces’. Double flashes show extra moves from rolling a six or landing on a snake or ladder.

Obviously this turns out different each time, but not in this pre-recorded video.

For the moment this visualisation of the rule/chance programming feels oddly beautiful in its own autonomous way!

The programming behind this video will be used as a basis for computer music composition, as things like position on the board, number rolled, difference between last roll or position can all be mapped to things like pitch and volume but also choice of sample and pull out some of the innate structure of what is going on. The basic chance, decision making and rules have been set up, now comes the opportunity to take those processes and apply them to something even more interesting than repetitive flashy lights (which in my experience can take some beating!).

I have been recording audio from various games of Snakes and Ladders and plan to use those audio samples as the basis for the musical material, eg the rhythm and spatial elements of the dice rolling, the fine differences of the tapping as pieces progress across the board and the precise sliding gestures of moving up or down via a ladder or malevolent serpent! The hope is that when scaled up, it will eventually drive a stochastic piece of electroacoustic music based upon the sounds of a game of snakes and ladders on a wooden board.

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Thanks to the ever silly Mike Kirkpatrick for helping with the audio (not included on the video…. yet!)