Starlog 2017

Hello! This is my Starlog for Earth Year 2017. I'm maintaining this to keep myself accountable for creative projects throughout the orbit of our host star. I will share and talk about the things I've been working on, as well as monthly 'capsules' of some of the media that's fueling my creative work.

Content warning: The Starlog may contain candid discussion of depression, mental health issues, and chronic illness. I'll try to warn ya before it crops up. It never warns me.

Friday, July 7, 2017 - Mothsound and Belated June Media Capsule

Starlog 201707.07 : Here's the media capsule for the month of June. It contains the music that I worked on throughout the month, and a collection of songs and performances that had me feeling feels or whatevs.

In mid-april I obtained a so-called Roland Go:Mixer, which allows me to mix and record audio directly to videos with my Android smartphone. Previously, this wasn't quite feasible. After getting the hang of it with incomplete recordings made specifically for social media, I began recording full pieces for YouTube. mothsound is a new moniker, concerned with live synthesis, monochromatic imagery and letter casing, and some kind of emerging fiction. There are early hints of this in my all-lowercase work from February of this year.

The work has been very consistent - uploading a video every weekend throughout June - and really rewarding. It's like some kind of aesthetic playground, especially since it's uploaded at the Anodyne Institute channel which currently has two subscribers (both of which are just other accounts that I run, lmfao). I get to do some cheesy attempt at production design for each video, and there's a really healthy feeling of having a finished, complete thing with each one.

I think that my musical attention span is rather short these days, so the possibilities presented by the Anodyne Institute channel are exciting. Exploring different 'eras'. Amidst the mothsound videos, I made a demo video of a synthesizer module with "sound only, no talking." I wanted the video to complement the rather dubious nature of the Anodyne Institute, so I 'borrowed' some blue gloves from my visit to the doctor, and lucked out at the local thrift store with a lab coat. It was like 100° when I was recording, and I was wearing a dress shirt and lab coat, neither of which you can see in the final video ^~^. But I'm hoping to use the lab coat for other synth performances - maybe some spacey stuff in the vein of old Berlin School records. DOCTOR SYNTHESIZER.

More of this throughout July, I hope. I'm taking part in the 50/90 songwriting challenge, though I hope to simply continue working at this healthy pace.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - First Entry and May Media Capsule

Starlog 201705.31 : Here's a YouTube playlist of some stuff that I was enjoying throughout the month. There are notes! The first two items are the projects I worked on. The playlist is hosted on the channel where I talk about synthesizers. Enjoy!

My primary focus for May was digitizing some media for the Anodyne Institute, as well as registering the nifty new domain, hosted right here on Neocities! Of particular note are the two newest pieces and Quartz. For years the Anodyne Institute's students have transformed public domain media in interesting ways. These are both dated from the late 1970s, previously only available in the archives on film reels and videotape. I definitely do not make everything at the Anodyne Institute and the Anodyne Institute is definitely not just me doing weird stuff with strange media available freely to the public.

Since the work mentioned above was mostly done in front of the computer, I had some palate-cleansing excursions with a few of my synths. I recorded some stuff with the Arturia Microbrute, using its self-oscillating filter as a sound source, tracking the pitch of the keyboard inaccurately to create informal micro-tunings. It's fun to play in this way, when you anticipate certain melodies, but get drastically different results.

I was able to take some walks (not always easy, especially on sunny days), and recorded this video of me in the nearby meadow playing with a portable synthesizer out in The Nature.

Earlier in the month I was craving some creative coding and briefly delved back into the charming fantasy console PICO-8. The work was rather unfocused, though I did learn more about modeling basic forces on objects. I did have an "a-ha" moment - it feels silly to say out loud, but these are crucial turning points in learning, I think: When you're drawing pixels on a screen in two dimensions, the pixels are merely represented by x and y values, stored in variables. You create additional variables to represent the forces to be applied to the x and y values. You perform some math with all of these values, 60 times per second, and render the x and y values as a charming pixelated sprite. Us humans perceive these mathematical interactions as realistic or pleasing because they're based on laws that we've experienced all of our lives. Note to self: it's OK to create many variables to model all of this! You need 'em. Coming from the background of coding for business apps, it's still difficult to wrap my head around all of those variables being updated many times per second. It's still easy to forget that computers are performing operations billions of times per second. It's a lot to hold in your head. Thank you, Computer.