tom moody

"Hardly Soft"

"Hardly Soft" [3.9 MB .mp3]

The main melody was done with Calf Monosynth in Linux Ardour. It was mixed with several Moog Concertmate parts in Cubase Windows.

"No Windows" got some slight EQ and volume tweaks. [3.7 MB .mp3]

- tom moody

February 6th, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Posted in music - tm

make your PC like a phone!

Responding to our latest smartphone rant, reader lolumad writes,

Why not just use a smartphone emulator on your desktop? That way you can participate in the "majority's experience."

So we checked it out and look, the article is so smart it recognized our operating system (it's Mint, not Ubuntu, but close enough):


- tom moody

February 4th, 2016 at 8:25 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

web recorder, heal thyself

So, recently announced it had been awarded a $600,000 grant to develop a "web recorder" that essentially does what the Internet Archive "wayback machine" already does. Our old friends at ArtFCity breathlessly and uncritically reported this development, so here is the critical, huffing-and-puffing version:

Just before it won the $600,000, Rhizome did a site redesign that broke much of its own content. Using webrecorder (beta version) I've been submitting reports of Rhizome page URLs that have missing text and/or formatting. One of these was fixed after I submitted a bug report. (I've also sent some emails -- they are aware of these issues but fixing historic content is clearly on the back burner as they forge ahead with new projects.)

Here's another example, Ed Halter's squib on the so-called "Rematerialization of Art," from 2008, which touched off some extensive commenting by yours truly and others. Ironically, this page can be viewed correctly on the Wayback Machine at but on Rhizome Halter's text has gone missing. The comments are there but they make little sense without showing what they are reacting to.

The same thing happened four years ago when Rhizome did a top-to-bottom site overhaul. Eventually most of the problems were identified and fixed, just in time for the current site overhaul, where everything was broken again. It's obvious where the $600,000 needs to be spent.

Update: The content of the Halter post has been restored. Next post in need of rescuscitation: (also missing text by Halter).

- tom moody

February 4th, 2016 at 7:16 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

"No Windows"

"No Windows" [3.7 MB .mp3]

My first track produced on my PC running the Linux Mint OS. Ardour is the software used -- a DAW (digital audio workstation) that handles similarly to Cubase.
The sound sources are

--the Moog Concertmate keyboard, played live and recorded into Ardour
--some found old school synth beats
--Doepfer modular mini-synth, triggered by MIDI from Ardour and recorded simultaneously into the DAW
--Calf's Monosynth, a softsynth plugin for Ardour that can be played using an Ardour MIDI track and exported as audio
--"Reasonable," a default softsynth for Ardour MIDI tracks

For a soundcard I used Native Instruments' Komplete Audio 6 (hat tip Joel for suggesting this). The ALSA driver in the Linux "kernel" recognizes this class-compliant USB device; audio ins, outs and MIDI are ported to/from it using the JACK streaming & connection program. This took a few days of reading forums to set up (although Ardour installs JACK automatically, I had to add the NI hardware in a separate Jack control called QJACKCTL, and instructions on how to do this varied).

Am very happy to be able to make music pretty similar to what I've been doing on Windows and have a final mixdown without (unintentional) clicks or glitches.
MAJOR NEGATIVE: At present the only way I can run Ardour is with an unacceptable amount of latency (about a fifth of a second). When I reduce the sample buffer I get pops and the dreaded "XRUNS" -- dropouts in the audio. The next task is to try to optimize the PC (which has a fast-enough processor and lots of RAM) without interfering with other things I use the computer for. Ardour also has a tendency to crackle when moving windows and clicking graphics inside the interface while audio is playing. This is annoying but doesn't affect the final output.

- tom moody

February 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Posted in music - tm

to phone or not to phone

Dumper cheseball was pounding hard last night on a certain blogger's decision to double down on Linux PC art-making at a time when millions of sheeple are ditching their PCs for phones.
Apparently cheseball believes that if you are making "networked art" you must use the majority technology in order to respond to present-day culture.
Becoming obsolescent and losing an audience is certainly a concern for any creative type. Yet ultimately the work is still going "on the web" whatever hardware and operating system is used to make it. Whether it will be found on the web is another issue. Do you have to be on social to play or can you rely on search/word of mouth? Paying for a mobile plan doesn't guarantee a shot at a large audience.
Or is it that we're supposed to be making apps now, with the Apple store as the new commons? Arguably that's networked art but it's not the freewheeling, variegated network of interchangeable parts that the WWW was. Better to keep making autonomous objects (on Linux or any other means you can still mostly control), objects/processes that can be displayed, distributed, and remixed, for as long as the WWW model continues to exist. Regardless of what "millions" have decided to do.

- tom moody

February 1st, 2016 at 9:55 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

Small Model Internet


This is my GIF from this year's version of The Wrong digital biennale, which closes today.
Links (which may or may not be taken down soon):
Utopia Internet Dystopia pavilion, curated by Valentina Fois
Small Model Internet (with interview)

I plan to keep the "official" (html + gif) version up indefinitely.

- tom moody

January 31st, 2016 at 9:38 pm

studio diary: music on linux

My five year plan (which is about four years ahead of schedule) is to move all my art and music production to a PC running Linux.
I made some progress this week getting my music studio set up. Linux Mint is a great all-purpose operating system but is not particularly "professional audio friendly."
So I've been getting a USB audio card to work with Ardour (essentially Linux's version of Cubase). There is a tricky interaction of drivers for the hardware, a low-latency streaming/connection protocol called JACK, and Ardour itself. I had to adjust the CPU governor to allow for maximum speed, which took a couple of hours of reading forums and watching out-of-date YouTube tutorials.
I'm hoping by later this week (or next) I'll have a new Moog Concertmate piece done using Linux instead of Windows for sequencing, recording and mixing. If I never mention it again it means I didn't get it working.
Hat tip to Joel Cook for suggestions and letting me vent in emails.

- tom moody

January 31st, 2016 at 9:37 pm

Posted in music - tm

"Oh This Moog"


A new music track:
"Oh This Moog" [4.4 MB .mp3]

A friend lent me his Concertmate MG-1, which works amazingly well for a 35 year old analog instrument.The image above is from Vintage Synth Explorer, which explains:

The MG-1 was built by Moog for Realistic (Radio Shack), and was designed specifically for the home market. Very basic and easy to use, this is a nice cheap way to get your hands on Moog sounds!

The MG-1 is a 2-VCO monophonic/polyphonic analog synth with a genuine 24dB/oct Moog filter, however the overall sound is thin. On the MG-1, the VCOs are referred to as 'Tone Generators'. It can produce sawtooth, square and pulse waveforms, and the oscillators are detunable and syncable. A simple ASR (attack, sustain, release) envelope called 'Contour' can be applied to both the amp and the filter. The LFO section provides triangle or square wave patterns as well as Sample-and-Hold. Additionally there is a simple Ring-Mod effect called 'Bell'.

It doesn't have MIDI control so I was forced to play the keyboard. That got old fast so I used the MIDI-to-CV converter in my modular synth to drive the pitch and gate controls in the back of the Concertmate. The MIDI and hand-played parts were overdubbed in Cubase for "Oh This Moog." No other sounds were used -- this is all Realistic Moog.

- tom moody

January 28th, 2016 at 7:45 am

Posted in music - tm

annotation (2)


- tom moody

January 25th, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Posted in general



- tom moody

January 25th, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Posted in general