"Melding Principle (Three Nebulaes)" - bonus Pitahaya release


A track from my most recent Bandcamp album, Melding Principle, has been released on YouTube -- in a slightly unconventional way.
A streaming version of the track appears here. As usual, YouTube converts the audio into a low-quality mp3 when it's uploaded (in this case by user news.coffee -- thanks for that!) However, a full, uncompressed version of the release can be downloaded along with the video if you have a Linux or Windows PC and a bit of time to install some software.
The video portion of the YouTube, a constantly changing field of random pixels, operates like a QR code and contains all the data from the high-resolution audio file.
The Pitahaya program, created by John Romero, encodes and decodes the video. In order for it to work a handful of other open-source programs need to be installed.
As a non-expert, I was able to install everything and get it working with Linux Mint. It can be run on Windows with a program that translates Linux-type commands to Bill Gates World. The only thing I couldn't do was upload the mp4 video to YouTube, since I don't have an account. Thanks again to news.coffee!
Pitahaya has two modes, Archival and Privacy. I used the Archival mode to encode the file; Privacy has a somewhat different goal, which is encoding lower-res audio streams into videos that are silent, or running some other audio, such as Kenny G sax solos. (Your own videos, of course, not other people's.) As far as I can tell neither mode challenges YouTube's terms of service. I'm the copyrightholder and gave permission to have a video version of my song uploaded. The work exists as video (abstract art) and just happens to contain a better version of the song than is normally offered!
Some of Romero's thinking behind Pitahaya can be found here. Short version, yes, there are scads of places on the web to store stuff, but as we are warned ad nauseum, "the internet" is narrowing to a handful of gateway platforms. Many, such as YouTube, are quite profligate with their bandwidth in order to show every hair of your cat's fur with aching clarity. Pitahaya repurposes some of that waste in the service of loftier goals (e.g., starving artist product distribution).

PDF of 1995 Art in America article on abstract painting in Texas


(These thumbnails aren't click- or tap-able; please read on.)

Finally getting around to learning to make PDFs with LibreOffice.
I started with the .tif scans I used for this "poor man's PDF" a while back.
The scans were of pages from a 1995 Art in America article on abstract painting in Texas, featuring David Szafranski, John Pomara, Jeff Elrod, yours truly and others.
The .tifs were huge -- like 24 MB per page, at 300 dpi. I loaded them in the "Draw" portion of LibreOffice and exported them as a PDF, reducing the dpi to 150 and choosing jpeg compression at 85%. Voila, a legible PDF at only 2.6 MB. Feedback/comments on this would be appreciated, since I plan to do more of these.

good news from ardour re: midi looping

Have noted several times the errors in Ardour's midi looping. Apparently it's finally going to be fixed:

Tue, 2018-03-27 10:24, paul: MIDI looping will be an area of intense focus for the 6.0 release. It is known to work incorrectly in all existing releases, at least in cases where note boundaries coincide with the loop boundaries (it does work in other situations).

But some people are never happy:

Thu, 2018-03-29 11:44, ccaudle: All these kids and their new fangled loopty loops. In my day we had to play a song all the way from beginning to end, and we liked it that way. :)

Tracktion Waveform 9 - Multi Sampler

Tracktion Software just released version 9 of its Waveform digital audio workstation. I've been learning it because it runs on Linux PCs -- one of the rare proprietary DAWs that does. Version 9 includes a new instrument called "Multi Sampler." It's intuitive and easy to work with. Essentially you drag any sound file into the sampler, cut it up, and assign it to a MIDI note. Multiple samples are assigned to keyboard zones a la Kontakt. It also records and resamples. Best of all (for me), it plays Soundfont files.

Individual sample; some light processing with filters, envelopes and LFOs is possible:


Sample being sliced in the "Record" pane:

multi sampler slices

Keyboard "zone" assignments:


The zones in the third screenshot show a Soundfont file (.sf2) version of a 1990s E-Mu synth module, Orbit 9090 v. 2. This is a kit of electro-style drum hits.

Screenshots, top and middle, were found "on the internet." The bottom screenshot is mine.

LSP oscillator plugin

LSP Plugins: Oscillator plugin tutorial [hooktube]

This Linux audio plugin (I'm using it in Ardour) works as a simple vocoder for speech samples (or any sample). The chosen clip in the demo is "Hello, this is Linus Torvalds and I pronounce 'Linux' as 'Linux.'" Prepare to hear it in a zillion metallic renderings.
Thanks to hooktube -- while it lasts -- for allowing users not to have to link directly to [Eric Schmidt's company] should they so choose.