Archive for June, 2011

Brunel Electronic and Analogue Music (BEAM) Festival 2011

Posted in conferences, creative practice, culture, DIY, research with tags , on 30/06/2011 by sync24
BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011
BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011
BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011
BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011BEAM Festival 2011

Brunel Electronic and Analogue Music (BEAM) Festival 2011, a set by Brunel University on Flickr.

Here’s some more pics by Ashley Knowels.

Beam Festival from Mike Cook on Vimeo.


MFM DPhil Day, 24th June 2011

Posted in creative practice, research with tags on 28/06/2011 by sync24

I couldn’t make it to this years Dphil Day at work as I was booked in to attend workshops at BEAM at Brunel University (see separate post), but was asked by Vicky to provide something as I’d initially said I would set up some work.
So after a bit of sorting, I got the following stuff organised:




CC popped in for a short while and took a few pictures for me too:

As you can see, I decided it’d be a good idea to display the Dreamachine to be experienced whilst listening to some of my music and sound pieces. I don’t know how well all this went down during the actual day, but PV, SR and KC from work all had a go whilst listening to music and responded really positivley!

Purely for the sake of it, I decided to make the statement a bit hard to read… The background image is made-up from schematics of the Shruthi-1 and Dreamachine plans with text from the Dreamachine plans pasted at the bottom (already posted here).

The statement itself is as follows: Through an exploration of the past, present and future of DIY Electronic music, this practice-led work investigates how such artefacts are to be created and distributed in the digital age.
Presented today is my work-in-progress blog ( where you can look through some of my experiments and thoughts from the last two years.
Through the blog you will find some of the sound pieces I have made using a combination of vintage analog synths and machines I have built.
Please experience my sound pieces whilst using the Dreamachine.
Dreamachine use:
Wear headphones to listen to sound pieces.
Face the Dreamachine with your eyes closed.
Move your face close to the spinning cylinder, allow shapes to form on your eyelids.

I had a great time at BEAM!

BEAM 2011 – Saturday pt 2

Posted in conferences, culture, research with tags , , , on 26/06/2011 by sync24

The main thing i wanted to attend on Saturday was John Richards Dirty Electronics workshop.
I found out about JR a while ago when he was doing a session at De Montford Uni with Chris Carter, i couldn’t go to it.
So this was an ideal opportunity!
John ran his session differently to Tom Bugs, he started off by getting us all to make some music together in readyness for the final day. I didn’t get involved as i had to leave later in the evening, but it was good to watch.
John talked a bit about the history of these Dirty Electronics pieces and showed various projects he’d made. The Dirty Carter from De Montford, The original Skull version (I bought one) and one he’s done for MUTE Records…!
Have a look here for more info:
We then got soldering and people kind of drifted off once they’d finished building.
Here’s my ltd edition BEAM Synth:

it’s a simple circuit you complete by putting wet fingers across contacts – the beams which are surrounding the fist.
it’s nice!
i’ll make up the Skull version asap and post pics too.
John didn’t go through any soldering techniques and you could see some people really struggled because of this, there was a ‘how-to-solder’ workshop running, but i think it was running in parallel…

BEAM Festival 2011

After Johns session i had a bit of a wander about, looked at the installations and headed home.
Overall, I really enjoyed BEAM, there were more academic related people/things than I’d anticipated, no bad thing because it kicked me into thinking about mine again – which was the purpose.

Thanks to Sarah Nicolls for organising it all!
Hopefully there’ll be another one next year and I can try and get involved more…
her blog:
and her website:

BEAM 2011 – Saturday pt 1

Posted in conferences, creative practice, culture, research with tags , , on 26/06/2011 by sync24

The end of my time at BEAM today, part one:
Petcha Cutcha thing – ‘listened to various participants talking for three mins about their work. The session was pretty badly organised, unfortunatley, and people didn’t have ppts set up properly, just a bunch of single slides in a folder. it got a bit painful watching the tech trying to do stuff on the mac – he was obviously not a mac person…
anyway, DJ Sniff said something really interesting along the lines of ‘building electronic instruments is a good way to become a good electronic musician’. Brilliant. After the presentations, the two chairs opened the session up to discussion, i left part way through the first weary question from the audience.
Here’s a pic of a piano:

BEAM 2011 – Friday night

Posted in conferences, culture, links, research with tags , , on 25/06/2011 by sync24

Quick post about the performances on the Friday night of BEAM.

DJ Sniff from STEIM – not my bag, i got bored with the scratching and repetition from his machines… it went on toooo long.

Alex Nowitz from STEIM – using Wii motes he was transforming his amazing and versitle voice. It was as if he was using the WiiMotes to capture his voice and then navigate the sample with his genstures affecting playback and processing. again, it went on toooo long.

A Drummer who had responded to the Open Call – imagine mic’ing up a stairway with various types of microphones, connecting them up to a MAX patch which recorded samples here and there and processed them for out-put, then kicking a drum kit down it. enjoyable madness, which needed a groove, and went on a bit toooo long…

Ryan Jordan
(the only one worthy of a link) – Fantastic! he’s straight in to the ‘hero’ list. Inscense, strobe lights, black metal face paint, biofeedback and TV noise, all really LOUD!. Fucking brilliant!
here’s a link to watch an earlier performance of Channeling Interference:
Here’s a pic too:

Stelarc and an opera singer – yeah, i’d have been chuffed to see Stelarc about 20 years ago. this performance was boring, opera singer sampled Stelarc avatar voice sounds, whilst the drummer from earlier went random on his kit, again… and it sounded the same.

Final performance was from Chikashi Miyama – he has these micro controller boxes he’d built with infra red light sensors sensing the position of his hands. not really my thing – entertaining to watch though as Chikashi was full of energy and produced lots of crazy noises. His final piece was my fave as it was very atmospheric.

BEAM 2011 – Tom Bugs WOM Workshop

Posted in conferences, creative practice, culture, DIY, gear, music with tags , , , , , , on 24/06/2011 by sync24

Had a great session at BEAM today!
Made the Tom Bugs WOM – Workshop Oscillator Machine.
Here’s the workshop link (again).

Tom was great! He led the workshop in a really interesting and entertaining way –
He went through the basics of how the WOM worked, talking to us about what the different components were for and what they did.
He then talked to us about hwo to solder and let us get on with building.
As he says, the kits are really straigh forward, the BOM is clear and you can match all the parts up with the board just by being logical.
I got mine finished nice a quickly, then helped the chap I was sat next to.

Its a fun sounding machine on its own, the little speaker is ok for testing and the contact points along the bottom of the board are a laugh!
I really like how the ‘power starve’ works, to a certain extent it simulates the battery going flat, there’s also a ‘stabilser’ option for it.
The little postcard sized machine sounds really beefy through a PA too, so once i get home i’ll have to add it to my other gear and see what i can make of it.

Tom had also brought along one of his modular systems, so I had a go on it and made a load of crap…
‘need more practice with those things.

Dreamachine listening > MFM DPhil Day

Posted in Uncategorized on 23/06/2011 by sync24