Izzy Kinect Quartz

The rabbit hole. As I follow down the path of others, I’ve come to another obstacle to cross. Synapse for Quartz Composer. And in order to use it will require me to get familiar with Xcode. I’ve avoided coding for the last 8 years, but I guess that’s going to have to come to an end if I want to make the kind of interfaces that I have in my head.

It’s a bit of a whirlwind, and following of directions that I don’t entirely understand. But, you just have to dive in right?

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Now to figure out why Synapse crashes on startup…

Digging Again

I had the privilege of sitting in a class, while the teacher taught the class about remix culture.  Where it comes from, historical references, etc.  It was a surreal experience to have my memories taught to a class, that I’m sitting in.  My brain immediately turned toward music, and then out of some weird knee-jerk reaction, I turned against me first instinct.  I started thinking of a 3d piece that fit the requirements of the project, without fully discarding my musical attachment.  I was drawn to the idea of bringing the sampling tradition in hip-hop into a physical world.  I played around with the idea of dissecting a sample-based song to determine the percentage each sample was of the song’s whole.  I would then cut out pie shapes from the records that the samples came from, in the corresponding percentage of a whole record.  The next part of the project was to find a song.

This became a project changer, as the records from most sample-based songs have become expensive due to their collectibility.  As a solution to this problem, I realized that my first instinct would make for a more original work, and help push me to make music.  Using records I have laying around that I wouldn’t be sad about cutting up, I sampled selections from 3 records.

It woke up a sleeping part of me.  I had to make a song.

The records that were sampled were chosen at random from my yard sale collection. They were all in poor condition, scratched, dusty, stored for decades without dust covers. I made no effort to repair the sound. I wanted it crunchy. I recorded the parts I was interested in, and laid them out in Audition. Conveniently this is how I started making music in the first place, back in 2002. I used to use Cool Edit Pro, which was later bought by Adobe, and then called Audition. It felt natural to use it for this kind of work.

For the arrangement of the song, I allowed the elements of the some to simply present themselves, without any effects, and only minor EQ’ing. I kept the arrangement simple, until the finish of the 1st part. The 2nd part introduces the use of timestretching and stereo field manipulation to pull the sound apart into the listening space. I do not normalize my tracks, as I love a dynamic range of volume. The whole some serves to set up the 3 part. This is where I take each sample and stretch it excessively to create an entirely new feel, while maintaining a subtle connection to the rest of the song.

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 10.48.18 PMThe secondary intent of the work is to take the mood from slow and lighthearted, to a more aggressively introspective one.

Critique for this was a bit more complicated that I initially thought.  I was caught in the idea of making, more so than how it would be received.  Although, I did think that music would be tough to crit, as many social factions define themselves using music more than any other cultural aspect.  It quickly dawned on me that it was being presented where all other projects were visually driven.  At least half of the critique was on the visual presentation of the music, ie. how the speakers sat on the table, the table, and the fact that I chose to set up the records sampled.  One crit included commentary on the style of the album covers.

From this I took away a couple things.  Next time, I’ll use a couple pedestals, and turn off the lights, to focus the attention on the aural display.  The other take away is on generational, and genre considerations; it can’t be pandered to, and cannot be avoided.  If I’m going to make music, it is to be for myself, without compromise.  And there will be people that wont like it.


I’m now working on a new (to me) computer.  This means some things have to be done all over again.  That includes installing the needed drivers and software for connecting my Kinect.

I started my research with this article explaining how to get things up and running:


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The process as already gotten easier since I last installed it last year.  It no longer requires command prompt use.  Progress.  The application’s interface allows you to control the distance from the camera that you’d like to focus on.  This makes it much easier to isolate unwanted movement.
Test shot of my office, using the Kinect's infrared camera.

Test shot of my office, using the Kinect’s infrared camera.


Now to get started on getting Isadora to see the Kinect…

I’m currently pouring over the TroikaTronix Forums, as there seems to be several people that have already worked out the process.


Izzy Door A

Izzy Door A

Isadora it seems, is a program that fills in a lot of holes of possibilities in my work.  I’ve frequently had very fragmented ideas of combining scripted function, with the use of multiple forms of media.  This could get really exciting.  It has gotten exciting.

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I’m still sorting out the simple things, like starting and stopping the video without having to mouse around and click.  Something more like a key stroke.  Basic controls really.  I’m finding that there’s no shortage of information, and it seems almost everything has been done before.  Once I’ve picked up steam, my endgame is going to be something related to a Kinect, controlling the manipulation, and playback of a video.

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Baby steps.

My start stop playback setup

My start stop playback setup


My first bit of play with Isadora.  It looks very promising.  I first off want to use my Kinect with it.  Time to read up.




Mnemonic Device


A route I remember more than any other, is my walk from home, to my elementary school.  Which is odd.  I normally took the bus, and when I walked, would typically walk a different route.  My most travelled route being through a residential area.  It maybe that as I got older, and brave enough to walk on the busier street, I became more aware of the details of this route.

_MG_2896I see the route from as my doorstep.

_MG_2897I was shy as a kid.  I tended to look at the ground when I walked.  I was self-conscious of my shoes.

_MG_2903My route was quiet.  It was rare that I would see anyone.  As an only child, my perspective of the world was that as a individual,  inspecting the world from the outside, looking in.

_MG_2905_1Then there was Stark St.  A more serious street name there never was.  5 lanes wide, with a speed limit of 40mph.  It was a thrill to cross. Marked crosswalks were 20 blocks apart.  Frogger taught me everything I needed.

_MG_2909There were several small business along the street.  Chiropractors, Lawyers, later to be replaced with gun shops and convenience stores.

_MG_2915There were a few undeveloped lots that I would skip through to save time.

_MG_2916If I was walking, it was because I missed the bus.  When walking up to the school, it was always odd to see the grounds without other kids running around.




Project 1

The first ideas of the project are always the hardest.  Mining the ether. The first ideas thrown around with Tara and I, were to use several devices to orchestrate an interactive graphic.  Similar to a magic show using mobile devices.


This is where we got caught up in trying to expand the project to incorporate something a little more directly interactive.  Another suggestion was to create a group drawing using an app, and a group of users in a common space.  The speed of motion would affect the rate at which the participants line would “bleed”.  The drawing would have some basic outline that the participant could use as a starting point, or they could ignore it entirely. And then the group disbanded.

I then moved into Avery and Teagan’s group. The run down I picked up is that we are going to interview volunteers on how they think the internet and holistic healing work.  We would have a designated interview space. I mentioned using the recorded videos and use common references as sync point in the video, displayed on separate monitors, and using multiple channels of sound.  With a third screen showing the face of the viewer.

As the project has evolved, it’s led me to continue to take on a production role.  Each of us in our group are interviewing two people, and the footage presented per the project spec.

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Old Dj Files

I was digging around an old hard drive and found some old recordings of practice mixes.  Some were bad and clearly experiments.  But, I found one pretty decent one out of the bunch.  It’s simple, mostly mistake free, with a very nice selection of music.  The mix runs around picking up old breaks and prominent sampled bits.

Twelvizm – Getting The Funk Out There 


And here is my very last recorded mix.  It was meant to be a no-holds top-40 club mix.  NSFW, Explicit Lyrics.

Twelvizm – The Back 40