The entire synthesizer rig featured on this website was crated up and shipped to Linz, Austria, and was featured live at the Ars Electronica 2004 "Timeshift" Festival and Exhibition. The Synth was on display for the entire festival duration (Sept. 3-7, 2004), as a standalone installation. Every day, I publicly created a new patch, starting with a rudimentary idea in the morning, and finishing with a full "composition" patch by evening. All patches ran autonomously, without human intervention (although some patches did exploit analog signals from a pair of Doppler Radars to provide a bit of crowd interaction). I was amazed at the number of people who came up to me asking where the sequencer was and how I entered the program to make the sound. Essentially each synthesizer "program" was formed from the patchcords and control settings - every patch essentially builds out an improvised hardware design that produces and controls the associated sounds. Yes, a very old way to do things, but one that tends to force creativity, as there are no presets - once a patch is pulled out, it's gone forever. I discuss this a little more in the short paper I wrote for the festival proceedings. In the course of the five days of the festical, I generated five new patches, with a few small variations. I recorded long excerpts from all patches on DAT, which I am now slowly going through to excerpt chunks that could be releasable.
Other photos of the synth rig deployed in the Bruckner Haus at Ars Electronica 2004:
The synth rig at night.
A darker shot of the synth rig at night, with a bit of motion blur, showing all those flashing LED's.
A closeup of some cabinets.
Another close angle, showing the maze of cords in a typical patch.
A photo of me beginning to debug the rig just after we unpacked it all.
This is what it looks like inside one of the synth cabinets with the back taken off. Yes, the endless hours of work on each hand-built card!
A view of the Bruckner House from above, showing its beautiful location on the Danube and the speakers outside (which played the live synth patch running the evening of 9/6), with old Linz in the background.
Another view of the huge speakers hoisted over the Danube, with the twin steeples of Postlingberg in the background. It was fun to hear the synth playing through them - talk about stereo separation!
I've now posted audio excerpts from all patches at this website.
Link here for a Quicktime video clip showing the synth running a few of the patches and excerpts of me tweaking and building the patches up. It's a bit long (38 Meg), so you'll need a bit of bandwidth to download it quickly