top: Man Ray
bottom: Chessex (hat tip andrej)
artist unknown, via superamiga
Have been following this saga via RSS (the "days" stretch out over weeks) and getting the device to boot up is a major step.
The Alto is the computer Steve Jobs "borrowed" many of his ideas from back in the '70s. The degree of work to restore a 40-year old machine should give anyone pause about the longevity of current data.
Microsoft Paint, 2007
.bmp file saved as a .gif
429 (w) by 404 (h) pixels
Christopher Priest, The Inverted World
--An early (1972) almost-straight-science-fiction work by the author of The Prestige. This should be better known, it's exceptional British new wave that is not as glum as J.G. Ballard (although it's pretty glum). For much of its length it seems to be masquerading as a "hard" sf novel a la Hal Clement's Mission of Gravity. Ultimately, though, "inversion" describes both the setting (a world of spatiotemporal distortion) and what the book does to genre expectations.
David Goodis, Black Friday, Cassidy's Girl, The Burglar, Street of No Return
--Goodis is dark without making you want to hang yourself, a la Jim Thompson; these four are the best I've read so far. Library of America included the latter two in its collection of five books in a single volume but I would swap Black and Cassidy for Nightfall and Moon in the Gutter. Another strong contender is Down There, which served as an unlikely basis for Truffaut's film Shoot the Piano Player. Shoot is manic and lighthearted, where most Goodis is lugubrious and fatalistic. Truffaut follows the source novel's arc of a societal rise and fall almost exactly but makes subtle changes of tone and attitude throughout. Down There has humor but it's not as rollicking as Truffaut's "Gallic absurdist" (?) twist on the material. (E.g., the indelible quick shot of an elderly woman clutching her heart and falling down after a gangster says "strike my mother dead if I'm lying.")
Georges Simenon, "Inspector Maigret" novels.
--Penguin is republishing and retranslating all 80-some-odd of these books and that's a smart call -- they are highly addictive and not in the least repetitive. There are a few standard recurring themes, such as a small town with local aristocrats hiding dirty secrets, but Simenon keeps it fresh with unexpected plot developments, keen observations of people, and lush but economical descriptions of French locations ranging from the Atlantic seaside to Paris to the Cote d'Azur. Start at the beginning and read the first thirty (they're short) -- the next translation is due in late November.
Update, September 26: Major rewrite of post.
interpretation of a mike's free GIFs GIF
"Nebulous Gates" [6 MB .mp3]
This may end up as the rhythm track for a fuller song but am liking its current minimal state.
The Qu-Bit Nebulae is a Eurorack module now out of production despite much hype and hooplah when it launched a mere couple of years ago. It has a high degree of latency that makes it incompatible with other modules but is nevertheless capable of playing eight CD-quality samples simultaneously (in "one shot mode") and allowing the pitch of each sample to be adjusted with physical knobs on the module. With latency compensation it can be triggered and recorded so as to be in sync with other tracks in a DAW (in this case, Linux Ardour).
For this tune, samples were loaded in batches of eight, then played (i.e., triggered) with a hardware sequencer (Doepfer A-154/155), synced to Ardour's MIDI clock. Ardour was then used to record the resulting polyphonic riffs and arrange them singly and in combinations (along with a few other riffs, such as hihats, previously recorded from the modular synth).
At first the Nebulae was dropping notes -- this made for some interesting pauses and syncopation despite being unintended. Turns out that the MIDI clock module (Vermona qMI) receiving Ardour's clock signal and passing it to the sequencer was sending trigger pulses that were too brief to register. A way to send gates (longer pulses) that the Nebulae would recognize was jerry-rigged.
Continuing the theme of "recently obsolescent hardware and software," all the samples come from NI Battery's Machine Kit (which collection has been dropped in the current Komplete roster). The Machine Kit consists of drum hits and pitched sounds made with the Elektron MachineDrum. The samples used here are raw, that is, not additionally processed with Battery effects. Which of the samples to be loaded into the Nebulae was determined by crude aleatoric means -- the first eight samples in an alphabetical list, followed by the next eight, until about two-thirds of the Machine Kit samples were used. Each group of eight responded to the sequencer notes set up for the previous group, unless it sounded bad, in which case the sequence and/or sample assignments within the Nebulae were adjusted.
This is lot of nerdy detail -- sorry, these are my notes so I'll remember what I did.
Update, September 26: Major rewrite of post.
Came across this in The Archives. I don't remember drawing it but it was likely done at a DQ when smoking was still a thing.
coiffured announcer (voice on large-format TV screen overhead): ...it seemed important for the mayor to say the incident wasn't terrorism...
customer (talking back to the TV): That's because it wasn't terrorism.
drycleaners proprietor: It wasn't terrorism? What was it?
customer: Some guy with a grievance.
drycleaners proprietor: Huh.
customer: It's important for the ruling class to keep us scared at all times.
drycleaners proprietor: That's the way it is.
"Half Clocked" [5 MB .mp3]
More modular synth sounds, assembled into a tune in Linux Ardour 5.3.
For this one I tried to build a techno-style track from the ground up. Kick, snare, and hihat sounds are individually concocted using white noise, FM, sine/square waves, envelopes, a mixer module, and a compressor (the last of which makes the beats audibly more dynamic).
The melodies are chords emanating from individual modules (analog and sampler).
The "clocked" refers to Tiptop Audio's Clocked Delays cartridge for their ZDSP module. The white noise snares get a fair bit of that treatment here. Also used was a sample-and-hold module to change the filter settings on the main tune that runs throughout.
The only "cheats" are kicks and static-y sounds borrowed from the tune "Eight Gates," crafted with the Octatrack.