Shruthi Adventures

A nice board

The first test: OK

The Analog Filter

Victory is near!

The Sound Test

LCD on

Final touch
It's alive! :-) [my very first 5 minutes with Shruthi]

Maker's Notes:
1. Pay close attention to the resistors' color codes, we are trapped once, (luckily) with the digital control board
2. Be careful not to cut too much or too little the pins to connect the two boards
3. Mounting LCD avoiding contacts with the digital board is the most complicated part, we put an insulation in between for safety (clipping of an anti-shock sachet)
4. To calibrate the analog filter I recommend using a spectrum analyzer (we used this one).
5. Pay attention to the choice of the power supply, ripple is your enemy.
6. To start the test tone and the internal sequencer push the dial knob for 1 second (and not the s1 button as written on the quick-start guide)

A very nice sounding & looking little box, and a lot of fun making it! :-)


Happy birthday Nintendo DS (2004-2014)

My glorious original Nintendo DS, released in North America 
on November 21, 2004 and in Europe on March 11, 2005. 
Bought immediately. It has overcome, with some ailment, 
the ravages of my newborn daughter (2009), 
who now plays with his grandson 3DS.
A forgotten song found on my Korg DS-10 cartridge (2008):

Import n.1: Toshio Iwai Electroplankton, japanese version. It
was a limited edition with blue headphones. I unfortunately
had (probably) lost the nice package and the headphones... 

Nice graphics from the japanese booklet.

Import n.2: Daigasso! Band-Brothers (2004)
There were three very nice posters i
n the box,
with the legendary Barbara The Bat! :-)

Single Play with Barbara. The game, mostly
incomprehensible to those who don't know
Japanese (like me), it's kind of Rock Band,
only 4 years before...

Barbara says something... but who
knows what! :-)

Yeah! You can edit the scores
(if you can find the function in the menu...)

Some cartridges. Great fun!
5 games that you absolutely must play on the Nintendo DS:
  1. New Super Mario Bros. [IMHO the best Mario ever]
  2. Polarium [it replaced Tetris in my heart]
  3. Advance Wars Dual Strike [the third chapters are always the best]
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass [when you have to close the DS to go forward... I still remember the "Wow!"]
  5. Mario Kart DS [the usual fun and the first in the franchise to go online]

"We believe that the Nintendo DS will change the way people play video games and our mission remains to expand the game play experience. Nintendo DS caters for the needs of all gamers whether for more dedicated gamers who want the real challenge they expect, or the more casual gamers who want quick, pick up and play fun." Satoru Iwata



Ableton Live User Library Automatic Sync on Multiple Computers

I spent last weekend trying to collect all my Live devices presets, clips etc. in the correct (Live 9) User Library folder, to finally tidy up my stuff but also to have Push browser accessing these presets. Because I use Live from version 6, I had 3 or 4 different huge (nested) folders to look inside. Live 6 and 7 were a big mess, while starting from Live 8 things got better, thanks to Hobo-tech. Ok, however, despite some blasphemy I managed to complete the job. Now what? I said to myself it would be nice to have it all in sync between my computers (an iMac and a MacBook), so I can create my own presets on both and then don't have to move them manually in the right folders. Today I found the solution: MacDropAny by Zibity.
With cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, you're limited to only syncing files that are placed in their special sync folder. Thanks to this little app you can sync any folder on your Mac with your favourite cloud storage service. Clever. [Anyway if you are a geek, I think you can do the same with a few commands in the terminal].
Use Dropbox (everyone knows it's the fastest one) and download the app on both macs. To avoid unspeakable disasters, follow only these 4 basic steps:
1- Make a backup copy of the two libraries you're going to sync (and probably merge).
1- Pause Dropbox syncing on both machines before you run the app.
2- Be carefull to pick the correct User Library folders (it seems obvious but it's not. I messed up the first time.)
3- Make sure to enter the same name for the app created folder aliases, on both setups.
To see if everything is ok, open Live on both macs, try to save a quick&fake random device preset on a machine and after a while you should see the same preset appear in other computer's library. Cloud magic!
Furthermore, from now on, you will have the library on all your devices (smartphones, tablets), accessible from anywhere via the web as well as a nice cloud backup always up to date.


Aphex Twin Syrobonkers Mystery: what happened to the noyzelab interview?

A few days ago the world of electronic music fanatics was shaken by a bombshell: the legendary Aphex Twin (aka Afx aka Richard D. James aka rdj)  issued a rare and lengthy interview (in 2 parts) on the noyzelab blog and also released thirty new tracks on sound cloud, free download. So much stuff, really.
Check the audiogeeknerds main titles:
Ok. Now all this stuff just seems to be evaporated into thin air. I only read the first part and some little bits of the second one. Not downloaded the audio samples. Too bad.

The interview was very funny, a lot of gear (synths, samplers and modulars galore), sound design techniques and studio notes, and some mind blowing hyper paranoid ideas. It comes to music produced by children who may not exist. In the end he said he was someone else pretending to be rdj. Weird stuff.

What happened to the noyzelab interview? An Illuminati conspiracy, some copyright issues, identity theft, or (more likely) yet another brilliant idea to be talked about disappearing completely? (rdj has accustomed us to the most mysterious & incredible marketing solutions).
Perhaps we'll never know, but for your luck, when I read something that I think it is of historical interest (and this is the case) I take notes.
And here they are my notes for the Part 1. I know right now I'm in danger of being hit by some microwaves weapon. [however, it's not so hard to find anything online = Part 2 Compendium incoming...]

Aphex Twin Syrobonkers Compendium


  • "My eldest son[8yrs] just looked at me one morning and said syrobonkus, I asked him what it meant he said he didnt know."
  • "reamping on huge scale, can get lots of different types of distortions that you won't get running thru hard/software, i like the fact your releasing something from the inside to the outside 'real' world and then back again"
  • "computers in 2014 as amazing as they are, are not made for one job and thats their massive weakness, when you just turn on a bit of equipment and its designed to do just one job, theres no fucking about."
  • "I think your more likely to learn something 'new' by someone who doesnt know anything as opposed to someone who has been doing it their whole life."
  • GEAR: Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 http://www.vintagesynth.com/sci/p600.php
  • "ive got at least 3 names for most of my tracks, not inc the released titles most of the time. it gets pretty confusing."
  • "a lot of people see music these days as some kind of utility that just does expected things, its very, very sad, sad shit., spiritually lowest point of humanity vibes.."
  • "i recommend btw to anyone who has never tried it, try proper tape flanging, cheapest way to do it, buy a double tape boombox/ghetto blaster] record whatever you want to flange onto two cassettes or one and then use high speed dubbing to other tape !-)  then just play both tapes at the same time using the pause buttons to cue em up and then, you might have to take the tape cover off to slow down either cassette to change the flange sound. This is where the flange sound from fx units or plugins originates from!"
  • "you dont need any hardware to make electronic music apart from a computer, thats it, you have to be slightly mad to want to use hardware these days, its just what ive always loved for many reasons, so i keep doin it, its what buzzes me up. the more equipment u have the harder it gets, its that simple, i think no equipment is actually the best situation because then you have to sort something else out and its totally open, as soon as u add ONE piece of equipment it adds constraints to wot ur about to do ..so bear tht in mind. I battle this by either putting things out of sight & mind or going to a different place without anything from time to time."
  • "Ive just got this genetic algorithm based fm resynthesis app written for me by a very clever chinese computer student girl, its VERY promising but needs more work, it was originally on the kyma system and they wouldnt give the code to me, I wanted to run it natively as i sold my kyma system or was it chucked out window..not sure.., eventually would like to control banks of tx816's with it to reconstruct the sounds,ha, we'll see. I love coding but its not my strongest point, im better at ideas so makes sense to pay someone else to code while I provide the rest. I did some pretty far out stuff with supercollider1 , very mental ui's, mental patches with faders that crossed through each other , ha, I never followed it beyond version 1 in much detail, u can get it on raspberry pi now, might try it. there r bits of supercollider all over my stuff like the fm bit at end of izus is supercollider fm. I've got loads of  old patches files somewhere , that i should make safer somewhere in the datamaze..ahh"
  • "looking forward to when a robot arm that you attach to the modular watches/records all your actions and then you can recall presets and watch it patch it up super fast,if it runs out of patch cables, have option to make new ones from any wires in house"
  • "all we need is a transmitter module, then we can patch to different rooms"
  • "intuitive micro tuning is the real biggy, should be legal to have it on all synths, sequencers"
  • "USB all in one mechanical drum kit kits! so USB to modular HUB with up to 16 i/o's Say you get 4 to start with and you can buy more to expand it to 16. So you plug in your solenoid beaters which on the same cable have a contact mic which takes audio back to the USB port of the thing its hitting, cable to be at least 4m long,would need a really nicely designed flexible clamp to fix solenoid to hit whatever you like, drums, saucepans, children&pets heads , windows etc. Then sell additional 1 cable/contact mic combo cables to plug into your hub, could have large and small solenoids for smaller or larger objects. would be fuckng amazing, could be so compact , just take your laptop anywhere and start sequencing rhythms out of everything and anything and be able to record it easily and in good quality."
  • "when i was at a scouts camp about age 11 , I got a radio cassette player and put a track on it, then attached it to a long piece of rope and starting swinging it in a circle around me, to also kind of show off to other camp people I suppose,...but slowly letting the rope out so the player is in a really big circle, like 10m in diameter, you get an AMAZING doppler effect, people should try this, its so good, you can re amp like this also!"
  • "putting a bank of ldr's and a few thermistors over the oscilloscope of the synth 100, its 20 ldr's and  3 or 4 thermistors, so you get a nice visual feedback thing going on, sounded insane, got to record it next time! pitch transition were so nice..also got to record synthi100 with all oscillators synced,..that IS a sound...all oscs on that thing have sync but like that you are going from electricity to light waves then back to electricity and then finally to sound waves in air, top...oh and then electrochemical in yer hed and then. ve got a cv in control on the lights of the synthi 100 so can also use those to operate the ldr's, also putting the bank of ldr's behind a fish tank with light on other side, fish modulation :)"
  • "ive been writing down for years installation/invention ideas which im thinking of releasing either as a book or with an LP or something, coz i now know im never going to get around to building/doing them all its in 2 categories, fantasy ideas and realistic ideas, fantasy ideas are things like attaching stuff to planets and comets etc and the other category is stuff which could actually be made without help from other entities. I dont want to say yet what they are as i really want to make some of them in next few years and you know its really bad to talk about things before you do them? I tell my friends all the time, dont tell me what your GOING to do tell me what youve done, it takes a lot of the energy away and motivation to do something if you talk about it first."
  • "usually the idea is the way easy part , making it happen is the fight, you have to be so single minded to make it happen and everyone just looks at you like a cunt UNTIL it works then its like ah yeah we knew it was going to be good all along. But you gotta start off small and then hopefully build it up if and when it works...to get funding and trust."
  • "the birds on that piano track by the way were picked up by the mic's at the same time, i angled them slightly towards the doors to pick it up, the birds hear what I'm doing also !-) Oh and its all programmed, I think I've almost got to the point now when i can think music and then program it pretty much in one go, not quite but almost, it was never an ambition actually, it just happened that way. Most people I know who heard it think its played, which is a really nice complement, coz every little timing imperfection in that is purposefully programmed in...i find it very mediative doing such tiny little things, tempo is regular though so it could be mixed with amen break :)"
  • "if you want to archive your music for longest period of time, vinyl is the one.. so weird to think of all the cd's ,tape &and vinyl in the world today in few hundred years time, none of it will work anymore, all hard drives etc will be fucked in 10 years. i bet usb sticks don't last long, I've no idea, not looked into it but bet its hardly anything and nowhere ask long as vinyl. How about people who store music in a stupid sound cloud? ha what a joke, like leaving all your records around someones house you never met and expecting them to be there still when you get back, :)"


rdj rendition of Steve Reich's Pendulum Music: VIDEO1 and VIDEO2


Comet Song

The Rosetta mission has detected a mysterious signal coming from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta scientists speculate that the oscillations may be driven by the ionisation of neutral particles from the comet's jets.
Source: ABC Science

The legendary live coder Thor Magnusson made available on twitter brilliant SuperCollider code to synthesize that sound.


Musica Universalis by NASA

According to Pythagoras, the Sun, the Moon and the planets of the solar system, as a result of their movements of rotation and revolution, would produce a continuous sound, inaudible to the human ear, and all together produce a harmony. As a result, the quality of life on Earth would be affected by these sounds heavenly.
NASA has shared actual electromagnetic recordings taken from throughout our solar system. These signals scaled to the range of frequencies audible by humans, although are not "wonderful harmonies", turn out to be very beautiful ambient drones. I wonder what Pythagoras would think  listening to them.

Radio Astronomy live 24hr sound from space

via Consequence of Sound


Gene2Music: Translation of Genes to Music

"The primary goal of this work is to convert genome-encoded protein sequences into musical notes in order to hear auditory protein patterns. Although there have been previous efforts to do this, one of the main problems has involved the large jumps between consecutive notes in a 20 note range (2.5 octaves) that results from a one-to-one amino acid-to-musical note assignment. Some other concerns include assigning rhythm, dynamics, and accompaniment according to the characteristics of the protein sequence.
We derived a reduced 13 base note range according to hydrophobicity and pairing of similar amino acids. The amino acid pairs were differentiated using variants of three-note chords, namely the root position and first inversion chords. A rhythm has been encoded into the musical sequence according to the organism’s codon distribution used in the genome-encoded protein sequence. Such a designation allows each amino acid to be represented by different note durations. The result is a set of rules that produces musical compositions that can be applied to any protein sequence [1]. As an example, we have used a prototype human protein, Thymidylate Synthase A (ThyA). A detailed description of our coding assignment can be found in the Project Evolution
In addition to the primary goal, we also aim to use this conversion to help make protein sequences more approachable and tangible for the general public and children. The project also opens opportunities for visually impaired scientists to access protein sequences more readily. We show and allow one to listen to examples of several proteins translated into music by these methods and also provide the opportunity for others to convert their own gene of interest using our GENE2MUSIC program.
  1. Takahashi R, Miller, JH: Conversion of Amino Acid Sequences in Proteins to Classical Music: Search for Auditory Patterns. Genome Biology 2007."


Brian Eno on the importance of limits

“We are born endowed with a lot of creativity. We then go through an education system that very carefully is designed to get rid of most of that creativity.” Brian Eno (56:00)


Nature Sound Form Wave by Anna Marinenko

"Last weekend I spent in nature. Sitting at riverside and watching the opposite side I've been very calm. Water was moving slowly and meditative. It made me thoughtful and concentrated, I noticed line of reed on the opposite riverside reflected in water, it was so similar to picture which I see everyday on my music player screen. This graphical expression of sound is called sound form wave. What a beautiful name! I didn't know it before. On my way home I was looking for other nature views."

Brilliant concept by Anna Marinenko  


ChucK Demos

ChucK Demos site by Arve Knudsen collects demonstrations of the ChucK music programming language, with the useful ability to play them back in your browser (provided that your browser supports the Web Audio API). In-browser execution of ChucK programs is made possible by the ChucKJS JavaScript library.

The site will host my Risset's Arpeggio code,  re-written to use only functions and no classes, since ChucKJS does not have support for the latter. Sporking was eliminated as well, since that too is not yet implemented.

The nice Arve version:


Inharmonique 1

I composed Inarmonique 1 as a first study on spectral composition using sine wave interference patterns, aka Jean-Claude Risset's harmonic arpeggio. I have written previously on this topic here
The particular approach of the piece is to use "spectral scans", that involve the beating effect, of inharmonic partials.

To get the result I implemented the famous Risset instrument in chucK, wich, compared to csound, in my opinion allows for greater freedom of instrument design and parameter setting, given its OOP nature. 

First of all I needed an efficient additive synthesizer to create the wavetables:

Then in a 'score' file, the core 'risset' function. Delta is the basis on which detunings are calculated:

Finally, in the same score we can experiment with the 'classic' examples, and 2 new ones:

Since there isn't (still) an efficient way to destroy an object in chucK, I used concurrency (spork) as a workaround.
To run the code smoothly, remember to 'add' (spork) the class file shred (the additive synth) before sporking the 'score' file.
Inarmonique 1 is based on an extension of the last instrument inharm().

Read more:


David Toop 13 questions

An interview with David Toop, author of several nice essays on postmodern sound and a pioneer of prepared guitar. 

"When musicians say they dislike writers or they don’t like to talk about music, only play, it makes me laugh. Music exists at many different levels within the self and running through societies. We can’t even talk about it clearly because we have few ways to speak directly about sound or listening, nor do we have an integrated way to conceive of the experience in a unified way. Still we think of the body, the mind, emotions, intellect and feeling, the self and groups, all as distinct entities, even though music clearly needs to cross those boundaries to produce its effects." 


Vittorio Camardese

Vittorio Camardese, an italian radiologist, developed an interesting tapping technique in the sixties. His style is much more similar to that of Stanley Jordan rather than that of Eddie Van Halen. But it is known that Wired Italia writers are not very versed in music.


TDR VOS SLICKEQ Mixing Mastering Equalizer

Tokyo Dawn Records did it again. After the great TDR FEEDBACK COMPRESSOR II, they have decided to give away another top notch plugin, the TDR VOS SLICKEQ. 
This little beast emulates classy analog audio gear offering a switchable EQ non-linearity and an output stage with 3 different saturation models. 

The main features: 
  • Carefully designed 64bit “delta” multi-rate structure 
  • Three EQ bands with additional 18dB/Oct high-pass filter 
  • Four distinct EQ models: “American”, “British”, “German” and “Soviet” with optional non-linearity 
  • Four output stages: “Linear”, “Silky”, “Mellow” and “Deep” 
  • Advanced saturation algorithms by VoS (“stateful saturation”) 
  • Highly effective and musically pleasing loudness compensated auto gain control 
  • Oversampled signal path including stateful saturation algorithms 
  • Stereo and sum/difference processing options 
  • Tool-bar with undo/redo, A/B, advanced preset management 
Windows and mac free download. Added immediately to The List.


Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists aka Chuck 101 video lessons

UPDATED 07/01/2015

Due to the many requests from friends and colleagues, the mythical Coursera/Calarts Introduction to Programming for Musicians and Digital Artists (aka ChucK 101) course video lessons can be downloaded below.


Download is offered for educational purposes and I do not have any permission to make these files available. If someone feels offended in any way, please drop a comment below and I will immediately remove the download link.

This course is one of the best introductions to electronic music composition (in addition to programming) I've ever seen. The teachers involved are kind of rockstars in the field: Ge Wang is the creator of ChucK and Smule, Perry Cook is a guru of computer music. A bit as Einstein and Bohr had done an online course in theoretical physics.

The best way to take advantage of this course is to follow along with the official textbook, which exemplifies and explores topics while maintaining the same course structure.
Have a nice trip!


An intro to Eurorack modular synthesizers

"This article is intended to clear up some of the foggy entry points to Eurorack and make it a lot easier for people to get the systems they want at an affordable price."


CDP Composer Desktop Project Free Download

CDP has always been a sort of mythological being for those interested in electroacoustic music.
After nearly 27 years of development, CDP is offering the CDP-Wishart sound transformation and editing functions as a free download.


10 Great Selfies of the Past

"Selfie" was Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year 2013. Defined as "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website", is used today by celebrities to promote themselves (or to promote products/warm bodies) and by ordinary people to satisfy the perverse sense of narcissism inherent in the human being. 
Some say the selfie is a revolution against the camera's tyranny, because it puts the person being photographed in control of the photograph, and in this sense it is an art of freedom. 
And speaking of art, in fact the self-portrait is an ancient art form and it has always been functional in some way to self-promotion and narcissism.
Let's see the best selfies of the past, when brushes and palettes were used in place of smartphones and social media was churches, courts or exhibitions.

Botticelli - "Adorazione dei Magi", 1475 (detail)
In the fifteenth century artists was rockstars in their society. They were often in competition with each other, always very worried to be replaced in the good graces of the client by new talents. The self-portrait, often added in a great work, is a small (or large) narcissistic revenge to remain in the memory of posterity.
Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, aka Sandro Botticelli, made a wonderful selfie in the "Adorazione dei Magi".

(Probably) Leonardo - "Autoritratto di Acerenza",
second half of the XV century
The mysterious "Autoritratto di Acerenza" was found in late 2008 by the historian Nicola Barbatelli.
After 5 years, the scientific and technical studies, supplemented by historical-artistic ones, are now definitely orienting the scholars toward a convinced attribution of the work to the hand of another rockstar painter, Leonardo Da Vinci.
The painting shows the artist at the age of 50. Those who have already had the opportunity to see the painting up close claims it is very beautiful, with an almost magnetic charm. To corroborate the hypothesis of the selfie, would also be present on the back the term "PINXIT MEA" ('painted by me') written in reverse, one of the marks typical of Leonardo.

Rembrandt - "Self-Portrait", 1629
The dozens of self-portraits by Rembrandt were an important part of his oeuvre. This is one of the first, he was 23, and it really seems that his facial expression is ready to his twitter followers...
Rembrandt created nearly one hundred self-portraits during his lifetime including approximately fifty paintings, thirty-two etchings and seven drawings. The self-portraits create a visual diary of the artist over a span of forty years.

Diego Velazquez - "Las Meninas", 1656
One of the greatest masterpieces of all time (and perhaps my favorite painting ever). Velasquez made a selfie at work.
Michel Foucault wrote an interpretation of this masterpiece in the introduction to his book "Les Mots et les choses", focusing on the aspect that exhibits the first signs of a new episteme in European art: in a fabulous game of mirrors, the audience becomes the main figure of the painting, while the real heart of the art of representation is barely represented. "The necessary disappearance of the person to whom it resembles and the person in whose eyes is only a resemblance."

Gustave Courbet - "Self-portrait (The Desperate Man)", c. 1843–1845
Another great mirror game by Courbet. In his own words: "imagination in art consists in knowing how to find the most complete expression of an existing thing, but never in supposing this thing or create it." Nevertheless, perhaps because of the technical perfection of this selfie, the mad desperation does not seem an existing thing.

Arnold Böcklin - "Self-Portrait with
Death Playing the Fiddle", 1872
Böcklin was one of the most famous exponents of the Nordic symbolist painting that is rooted in the romantic tendencies of the early nineteenth century. To quote his own words: "A painting should tell us something, suggest the viewer like a poem, and let him feel like a piece of music."

Vincent Van Gogh - "Self-portrait", 1889
Van Gogh also created many self-portraits during his lifetime. Most probably, his self-portraits are depicting the face as it appeared in the mirror he used to reproduce his face, so his right side in the image is in reality the left side of his face. 
I love this selfie, painted in Saint-Rémy less than a year before his death, especially for its typical trademark background pattern, which always gives me a sense of anguish.

M. C. Escher - "Hand with Reflecting Sphere", 1935
Escher loved reflective spheres. Selfies in reflective, spherical surfaces are common in his work. Probably this one is the most prominent and famous example. In much of his selfies of this type, Escher is in the act of drawing the sphere, whereas in this image he is seated and gazing into it. On the walls there are several framed pictures, one of which appears to be of an Indonesian shadow puppet.

Francis Bacon - "Self-portrait 1971", 1971
"Francis Bacon's painting is of a very special violence. Bacon, to be sure, often traffics in the violence of a depicted scene: spectacles of horror, crucifixions, prostheses and mutilations, monsters. But these are overly facile detours, detours that the artist himself judges severely and condemns in his work. What directly interests him is a violence that is involved only with color and line: the violence of a sensation (and not of a representation), a static or potential violence, a violence of reaction and expression."

Andy Wharol - "Self-portrait 1964", 1964
And finally we approach the social (and aesthetic) sense of today selfies, with the inventor of Pop Art and '15 minutes of fame'. Warhol made selfies on many occasions throughout his entire life. They were part of his self promotional nature that made his deadpan face and trademark white wig as famous as many of the celebrities he painted.

The next time you will post a selfie, remember that you are epigones of a long social and artistic tradition.

Update by the Prof:

 Albrecht Dürer - "Self-Portrait", 1500

Artemisia Gentileschi - "Autoritratto come martire", 1615

Michelangelo - "Il Giudizio Universale", 1536-1541