Roger Ho has a great eye. He also has really impressive focus-pulling ability. Check out this video he shot of The Octopus Project playing in Dallas on Thursday night.

Also, Roger Ho is an enigma. What’s your story, Roger? Drop me a line.

Last night I checked out my friend Chris’s art installation Synopsis at the Leo Kuelbs Collection in DUMBO. Gorgeous work, elegantly executed. Here are my pics (click for the Flickr set).

Synopsis installation by Chris Jordan

relations between hardware and content/intent

The most difficult stage of preparing for a visual performance for me lately has been the process of preparing a ‘patch’ (lately a project file in VDMX) and deciding on connections between my hardware controllers (Trigger Finger, Xbox 360 controller, Wiimote), the patch, and the content (video files, animations, generative elements). Often I wish I could simply have a one click/drag connection between a particular controller and the effect or generator I wish to control: connect Wiimote to OpenEmu instance, done — not connect 7 of 15 Wiimote data sources to 6 or 12 effect parameters. Thinking about this tonight I was reminded of Lance Blisters, the audio/visual duo made up of Geoff Matters (music) and Ilan Katin (visuals), and what I learned of their working processes when I subbed for Ilan for several shows. Some aspects of that process:

  • Lance Blisters (Geoff and Ilan) chose to use the Trigger Finger exclusively to control the visuals. Unless something went wrong, Ilan would not need to touch the mouse or keyboard during the show.
  • Geoff controls the music with a MIDI guitar. After each song, he sent a MIDI command from the guitar (to his laptop > MIDI > WiFi) to Modul8 on Ilan’s computer, triggering the loading of the next song’s project file, using custom modules they wrote. Again, no mousing: just one MIDI CC command triggering the next song’s visual setup. (And one song’s visuals (Grindcore?) were entirely controlled by Geoff via the MIDI guitar.)
  • The controls for each song’s visuals were fitted to the capacity of the Trigger Finger, not the other way around. (And they chose the Trigger Finger because it has 16 pads, matching the 16 slots in Modul8’s media bin.) If a song had more than 16 media in it, a row of pads was often used as a bank switch. Chorus: tap 12 pads to switch animations in time with the music; bridge, tap one pad to switch to another bank of media (reflected onscreen in Modul8), tap the same 12 pads to bring up different media. Again, custom modules were written to make Modul8 fit the songs, not the other way around, e.g., to change the MIDI mappings on the fly, sometimes a module for each song.
  • Each song was practice-practice-practiced to get it into muscle memory.

What is there to take away from this? Obviously the last point is the strongest. Fit the software to the hardware; fit the patch to the song. Whatever you decide to do, practice the heck out of it to make it second nature, making the set tighter and freeing you to play, even improvise. What else? I’m thinking of rewriting all my qcFX (most of which are wrappers for v002 plugins — thank you, vade :)) so that they fit to my controllers, instead of experimenting with different controller mappings during shows. Maybe get more use out of the Trigger Finger’s pads by creating different ‘stab’ behaviors in the different FX/generators, e.g., use the 16 pads as a spatial grid, turning on and switching the direction of particle systems that stream from/in the four quadrants of the screen. We’ll see.

More on the One Step Beyond show soon, hopefully. In case it doesn’t happen, some thank yous: to vade for his plugins, to Momo for his “Momo particles” QTZ and his four-layer setup, to Benton, Owen, Jasmine, Reid, Emily, SeeJ, Peter, and the museum crew, to Chris Covell for his NES demos, to No Carrier for glitchNES, and to Vidvox for VDMX. 🙂

This Saturday at The Tank, we’ll be doing a live This Spartan Life show, hosting Pulsewave, the monthly chiptunes event. Is machinima. Is funny. Has live music. Hope see you there.


This Spartan Life Hosts Pulsewave at The Tank July 26 with 3 live chiptune acts!

Please note new address for The Tank, below

Damian Lacedaemion will be joined by AeroMC, Fyb3roptik, Dan O’Conduit, Amber of the Solid Gold Elite Dancers and 8 Bit Collective forum members, live on screen via XBox Live!

In gamespace, no one can see you sweat.

Pulsewave is the monthly live chiptune music event in NYC. This Spartan Life is the award winning “talk show in gamespace.”

Your host, Damian Lacedaemion enters the unpredictable multiplayer universe to interview various guests and luminaries all within the 3D gamespace of Halo 3 on Xbox Live.

This time, Damian and the crew from This Spartan Life will be on screen live to host a special Pulsewave with musical guests from the upper reaches of chiptune Valhalla:

Unicorn Dream Attack
Neil Voss

Visuals by the incomparable No Carrier!
Special machinima videos!
Live interaction between avatars and audience!
The bizarre and frightening world of the ub3r 1337 on graphic display!

All with a heavy dose of CHIPTUNES and EXPLOSIONS!

Don’t miss it!

Saturday, July 26, 2008 at The Tank
87 Lafayette St @ White St
New York, NY, 10013
Cost : $10
Doors open at 9PM

<br/> Photo by Anya Garrett<br/>

Tuesday I’ll be mixing a live music video parody in Sara’s show, the ONE SARA SHOW. Sara sez:<br/>

I do hope you’ll come, I’ve been working on this show for almost a year now, and, I don’t wanna jinx it…but it’s pretty much the best thing I’ve ever done. Oh, and there’s music by Meowskers, a band that will likely take over the world, and appearances by Dan McCoy and Tamra Malaga. Plus some fun video stuff by Dan Winckler. Jon Friedman directed the show. Need I say more, people???

BUY TICKETS NOW! (Use discount code SSFAN to get a free drink at the show!)


Tickets are $15. Buy online and use the discount code SSFAN to get a free drink at the show!!!

Also get tickets by calling (212) 868-4444

Offish description:

In her new show, “Sara Schaefer’s One Sara Show”, comedian Sara Schaefer attempts the impossible. To stage a solo show all about herself while simultaneously proving she’s not a self-absorbed bitch. With the help of a hipstery rock band (Meowskers), some friends (Tamra Malaga, Dan McCoy, and Dan Winckler), and a whole lot of glitzy multi-media pyrotechnics (i.e. VHS home movies and clipart), it’s way more than a solo performance – it’s a goddamn miracle.