Playing The Field

Every month of 2022, at the Full Moon’s Zenith, dejacusse serenaded The World with synth improvs, soundscapes from the vault and Waves of Gratitude via Radio iBoD/dejacusse. Listening to the broadcast recordings of synth improvs, I felt so much heart resonance as all frequencies flowed like the rivers they ARE!! As I listened deeply, I heard and remembered gestures that rendered shapes and movements in the sonic spectra. This is how I attend to and expand my understanding of The Field.

What is this Field that I am so focused on at this time? The Field emanates from the Audiorigami template, and turns that template inside out and sideways. The substance of The Field is “all of the waveforms,” so the entire sonic spectrum of frequencies is available here. Much of 21st Century science is pointing loudly at the vibrational essence of everything!! The sonic spectrum covers 9 octaves and is present wherever there is any kind of atmosphere, including gases. The Field includes all frequencies equally; it is a level ground for play! Audiorigami began with The Fold, and all that folding landed us in The Field. The Field is vast and continually shifting and moving in many directions. The Field is alive, it inhabits space-time, and – its electric!

Control voltages are a primary initiator of waveforms, while the shape of the wave enhances and diminishes harmonics in sound frequency spectra. Musicians work with harmonics all the time, but usually as a secondary consideration to the production of melody and song structure. Out here in The Field, it is the interplay of harmonic frequencies that takes center stage. It is the folding/unfolding/stretching/pulsating of timbre itself that is our focus. At times, melodies and patterns emerge, and then they pull apart and disintegrate. In The Field, all of the waveforms are available for transmission to audio cortices, so this is a place to begin transmission.

I knew synthesizers were for me when I heard musicians talk about how hard they are to keep in tune! Synthesizers are living beings and as such, they are constantly attuning in the moment. Their sound is evoked via responsive relationships which involve a great deal of allowing. The Field, made up of synthesizers, offers up the frequencies, my role is to shepherd frequencies through all audio cortices (and beyond!) by studying and demonstrating the attunement process as it moves through The Field. How this all works depends on the components that make up The Field.

My first analog synthesizer was the Behringer Nuetron. This semi-modular synth sings via two Voltage Controlled Oscillators (VCO) that can manifest five waveforms, individually AND the space between them, as one form morphs into another. Right away the harmonic sculpting possibilities are indeterminable, because this is living energy! The ways that these waveforms interplay happen in the present moment! Oscillators can be set to a frequency (Nuetron VCOs can oscillate from .7hz to 55kHz) which is then passed through filters, Low Frequency Oscillators, envelopes, gates, delays, and voltage contolled amplifiers (VCAs) – all of which alter the harmonics, the pulse/beat, the duration and loudness of frequencies, even the beginning/middle/end of the sonic life of frequencies! All of these sound modulators can be routed into and through the oscillating waveforms as they throw out particular strands of harmonics. These harmonic strands are the substance of soundscapes.

Layers are added with new components! The Moog Subharmonicon and Make Noise O-Coast were the next additions to The Field. The O-Control serves as a sequencer for the Nuetron and a clock connection between the Nuet and Moogie. The Moog brings 6 VCOs to the pallette, two main and four sub oscillators. Each of the Moog VCOs is tunable and the suboscillators are harmonically linked to them. These oscillators can be further defined by packaging the frequencies in Equal Temperament or Just Intonation scalar relationships, in 8 or 13 step lengths over 1, 2 or 5 octaves.

For Monday mornings broadcast, the Cre8audio West Pest has been added to The Field! The current palette has the WP receiving pitch signal from O-Control and sending wave forms to the Neutron pitch in. The O- Control is also sending pitch to the Subharmonicon, so there is a tentative connection among all the components of The Field. It is daunting, but rewarding!! Kind of like our shared living experience!

Please join me from 1-3 am Monday morning Feb 20th for whatever will happen. Here is the link to the web-player, it is only live when I am broadcasting.

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

Waves of Gratitude 2023

Waves of Gratitude was inspired, in early 2021, by Jim Kellough bringing me tiny speakers that could play individual files of sonic material. He envisioned them scattered about in an area out of doors where people come and go. Then Stephanie Leathers and Courtney Om put out a call for artists to come together for a SITES performance at The Accordion Bar in Durham. Perhaps we could make an installation with the tiny speakers for this event? Yes! Then sonic material began to present itself in my head- people saying “Thank you for …” within a sound container of waves crashing on the shore. Mark Boyd, who makes sound devices, made some little speakers that could loop a soundtrack. All these little speakers are battery powered, so another interesting possible shift in the soundscape was if a sound device runs out of juice the file on the device would sound no more at this time.Cool! We started gathering gratitudes and many folks responded which was thrilling. In the end, we had a forty minute soundtrack that included poetry, sound collages, memories, and song. Here is a video clip of the first idea for the installation with small speakers playing the voiced gratitudes and the large speaker playing the Waves! I liked this set up very much.

The SITES venue had multiple performances happening and audience members walking around, so I realized ahead of time that the small speakers could not be heard. So I used a large speaker and one of Mark’s tiny speaker and colorful lights for the Waves of Gratitude installation for SITES Reset in February 2021.

In 2022, I moved to a streaming Internet broadcast format as a way to offer dejacusse and IBoD soundscapes, sound sculptures and collages to The World. At the Zenith of the Full Moon each month of 2022, I broadcast a streamlined version of WoG 2021 and a 2022 version that started with the question “What does gratitude feel like?” and ended in grief and much confusion. These broadcasts featured soundscapes from my 12 years as a soundscape artist, recordings of iBoD – my band of cohorts- and LIVE synth improvs.

Currently, in the year 2023, I am continuing to enjoy broadcasting in alignment with the cycles of The Moon. So in order to amplify this enjoyment, a New Moon Broadcast has been added to the schedule. The first New Moon Broadcast was one hour and fifty-four minutes of LIVE improvisations from The Field (ft Subharmonicon, West Pest and O-Control), and 2 iPad apps-Ripplemaker and Novation Launchpad.) The plan is to review each New Moon Broadcast recording, find those profoundly resonant moments, and cast them into 2023 Waves of Gratitude.

Each month I will post the dates and times for the upcoming broadcasts on the page linked below. The New Moon will be all improvisation and the Full Moon will be Waves of Gratitude in all of its manifestations plus pre-recorded sound works by dejacusse and iBoD aaaand some LIVE improvisation. Here is the link to the blog page.

https://dejacusse.blog/radio-ibod-dejacusse-web-player/

Last Full Moon Broadcast of 2022

This coming Wednesday, December 7 from 10 am to noon, you can hear the last Waves of Gratitude Full Moon Broadcast for 2022. Each month since January, I have streamed a 2 hour radio broadcast of iBoD/dejacusse pre-recorded soundscapes and LIVE Eurorack Synth improvs during the Zenith of the Full Moon. These broadcasts have been special times for me to share with whomever might be listening all that is in my heart. The improvisations involve deep listening and attunement and responsiveness in the moment! The pre-recorded soundscapes, sound sculptures and paintings are where I get to play with co-horts and co-create in The Field, or put together a more musical composition in Ableton Live. All of this sound activity sparks joy within me! I am deeply grateful to Eleanor Mills and Jim Kellough for their avid listening, playful company and interest in growing their ears. All of the soundscape for Waves of Gratitude 2023 came from recordings of our Tuesday afternoon sessions.

The cycles of the moon have always been important to me. From a young age, I knew I did not want to have children, so when my period came along, it was basically a monthly annoyance! Then in graduate school I explored Wiccan spirituality, which lead me to use the moon cycles to track my menstrual cycles, and I embraced that which had been annoying. All of this to say- in 2023 there will be a Full Moon Broadcast AND a New Moon Broadcast each month. I feel a sense of joyful nostalgia in once again attending to these anchoring phases of the moon that were so much of part of the middle years of this life.

This Wednesday morning broadcast will feature Waves of Gratitude 2021 and 2022, the full album Audiorigami: Meditations on The Fold, Carnatic Water Music, and other soundscapes. The time is 10 am to noon est. Here is the link:

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

Stop by and have a listen, a move, a vocalization! Improvise like no one else cares!!

Full Moon Broadcast May 15 11pm-1am

I am creating a juicy ocean wave sound for Waves of Gratitude 2022. Yesterday the Behringer Nuetron gave up a sound like when a wave wumphs and then fades into a hiss. Pretty cool! And I got some gorgeous hissy wet ebb and flow from the Make Noise Strega (Thank you, Christopher Skully-Thurston for access to the Strega) In addition to sculpted sounds from The Field, the ocean wave soundscape for 2022 is a blend of sounds from numerous water sources including the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Eno River, several outdoor fountains, and our home indoor fountain along with the sound of running water. Now those are sources to be grateful for and I am!

The Waves of Gratitude Full Moon Broadcast for May will stream as the Zenith and a total lunar eclipse occur nearly simultaneously. There is so much love here for us all! This is one of those moments when it is flowing in! To celebrate and lend voice to the flow, the soundscape Shadow/Doubt will debut. This piece emerged from the sound pieces I created for Libby Lynn’s 250 Degree encaustic art show in the Fall of 2013. I worked on Shadow/Doubt over the years since then, and now it is complete. The soundscape evokes in me a deep longing, and a sad satisfaction with that longing. The voices argue with what is, they try to explain, they try to understand. Interwoven throughout is a voice of comfort. This is a place I am familiar with, but do not visit as often as I did in my youth.

My first version of Ableton Lite Digital Audio Workstation was purchased in 2009, so I have been soundscaping for over a decade. I have lots of soundscapes to share with you! In April’s Full Moon Broadcast, I released a 30 minute set of completed soundscapes. Most of these pieces were composed in the Ableton Live DAW with the intention that they would accompany something else – like a dance or a film. They are soundtrack soundscapes- each one contains a story, actually many stories just waiting to be brought out by the proper pairing. They all stand on their own as well.

And there will be LIVE IMPROVISATION from The Field. The Field is my modular synth configuration, which I am privileged to sculpt and play with. Feel free to play along with whatever instrument you have available! And remember to stay out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing – just listen and play!

Here is the link to the webplayer which will be live from 11pm May 15 to 1am May 16. The Zenith is at 12:14am and the eclipse is 12:11am:

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

As Waves of Gratitude 2022 Evolves…

Three rivers of sound are coming together to create Waves of Gratitude 2022. First, the living Control Voltages that trigger, modulate and end waveforms in vast timbral washes that display the harmonic patterns of the very life force which they embody. These building blocks of sound are available in modular and semi-modular synthesizers. Within this sound context of synthesizers interacting, iBoD practices “conversational interactions” which involve presence, deep listening and responsibility (intentionally exercising our innate ability for dialogic response). Second stream is the voices- people sharing gratitudes, sharings sounds they are grateful for, and in particular expressing what gratitude feels like. This is the question I am asking now in 2022: What does gratitude feel like to you? Take the question wherever you want! Third stream is the sound of Waves – I loved the ocean wave container from last year and want to take that sound and swell it up a bit. The Waves need more water! So I begin here!

And, at this point, I have much material in the “conversational interactions” context. Jim Kellough and Eleanor Mills come over every Tuesday and play within and around the synths. We have an array of sounds, from reedy melodica to bright sparkly recorders and Native American flutes to growling digital horn!! The synths set the table with rhythmic tones and unusual harmonic smears which can be maddeningly stable to giddily hither and yon. The smallest turn of a knob opens up whole new vistas of sonic relationships. Then the three of us engage with the synths and each other in an exchange that changes over time. A few weeks ago we played for an hour and 20 minutes. WoW!

Every Full Moon this year, 2022, Waves of Gratitude is transmitting vibrational appreciation via streaming radio broadcast. These vibrations are shared one hour before and one hour after the Zenith of the Full Moon. The Zenith is when the moon reaches its highest point in the sky above the observer. This time is like the sun at noon, and seems energetically auspicious to me. During the broadcast, we will listen to Waves of Gratitude 2021, to Waves of Gratitude 2022 as it evolves, and to live improvisations with Nuet, Moogie and OC! In addition to this, dejacusse and iBoD (idiosyncratic beats of dejacusse) have a back catalogue of soundscapes and other tunes which will be highlighted during the broadcast. Maybe the 2022 WoG will be an album!

As I have lamented in the recent posts, the voices speaking gratitude is not happening. I have not even recorded myself, so what can I expect of others. I am going to answer the question “How does gratitude feel to me?” and start the Wave! If you are inspired it is sooo easy to do. First, if you know how to record yourself on your phone or other device, record your answer to “How does gratitude feel to me?” and then send it via email to ibodgwave@gmail.com! If we are friends on Facebook, you can send me an audio Messenger message. Go to the space where you would normally type your message, tap on the space. You should see a microphone icon, give it a tap and start talking, when you are done talking, tap the send arrow like you would if you had typed in text. I will have your audio gratitude for The Wave! Thank you for sharing yourself with me and with listeners all over the world.

Waves of Gratitude for April will broadcast from 2 pm to 4 pm Eastern Time Zone on Saturday April 16th. This Wave will begin with the first 15 minutes of WoG 2021. If you are curious as to how your audio gratitude might sound in The Wave, tune in at the top of each hour for WoG 2021. WoG 2022 will actually get started during this broadcast with a recent iBoD recording from our Sun Ra Room Sessions mixed in with this year’s Wave sculpture! There will also be live improvisations on the synthesizers! I hope you will join me!

https://www.radiomast.io/station/ffa9c47f-f6bd-4eb9-ad61-c2c636ca88ca/pwa/app

“Timebral Artifacts” Soundscape for Busker’s Day

Studying the effects of waveforms in a sonic environment and transmitting those waveforms to audio cortices is a mission of iBoD. To that end, we have partnered with three synthesizers to explore the ways of waveforms. First came the Behringer Nuetron, which is a puzzle and a playful soundshaper. My first challenge was (and continues to be) getting sound out of it (VCA Bias and Overdrive Level knobs need to be wide open.) Nuet has lots of internal routings and moveable parameters including blending between oscillator waveform shapes, and multiple LFOs and VCFs. Next came the Moog SubHarmonicon, which is extremely fun and responsive and more intuitive. These two are “tied” together by the Make Noise O-Control, which serves as a sequencer for Nuet, and receives clock from Moogie. So that is my crew for this event: Nuet, Moogie, OC and me.

Using internal and external routings, iBoD explores the shifts in timbre and rhythm presented by the synthesizers. These instruments make sound from oscillating frequencies shaped by waveforms and envelopes, which are the basic building blocks for timbre (and EVERYTHING, but THAT is another story, which can be read in the links below). All of the action is triggered, directed, and massaged by control voltages. Sparks of electricity drive the whole show, which makes for alot of unpredictability and maleability.

A friend asked me “What is timbre?” Yes, we are all familiar with rhythm and melody, but timbre is a kind of behind the scenes aspect of musical sound which isn’t as easily apprehended because it is so essential. Timbre is the “dna” of sound presented in harmonic code. Our brains decipher these codes so we can discern a foghorn from a racing engine from a baby crying. Please read these previous posts where I offer my understanding of timbre:

The Law of the Octave

Nature’s Chord

So that is what I will be playing with on Saturday. Since my favorite part of symphony concerts is the settling in and tuning that the orchestra does before they start the program, Timebral Artifacts will begin with some tuning and retuning of parts, followed by propagation and meanderings until an undercurrent of structure appears. When this happens, I will play Native American flute in call and response play with the synths.

iBoD will play from 2-2:45 pm. See map of Sculpture Garden for exact location (2a)

I hope you will come and listen!

Art of a Scientist 2020/2021

Art of a Scientist is an annual offering from Duke Department of Science and Communication. The curators pair up artists and scientists in experimental collaborations to make science and data accessible to a wider audience. The 2021 exhibit was an online zine produced by The Power Company Gallery and ran through the month of March 2021. Some people had trouble accessing the piece via the Zine so Latent to Lytic is posted below.

This year brings another opportunity to stretch my understanding of scientific data and ideas by sounding them out! I worked with graduate student Elizabeth Goins from NCCU on her study of the effects of exogenous ethanol and acetate on Kaposis-Sarcoma -associated Human Herpes Virus (KSHV). In addition, visual artist Heather Sanchez rendered the process through illustrations/animation!

KSHV enters the cell via glycoproteins on the surface of the host cell. The virus is carried through the cell by a special protein, and ends up in the nucleus. The virus remains latent in the nucleus until triggered into the lytic or active infection phase. Once triggered into lytic, there is a gene “cascade” that functions as a sort of assembly line of viral replication and is cytopathic to the cell. Goins found that both ethanol and acetate accelerate replication of the virus in human cells. Acetate, which is a biproduct of ethanol in the human body, not only accelerates viral replication but can actually trigger the change from latent to lytic.

The sonic illustration begins with the song phrase of a healthy cell replete with an active lipid bilayer! A rustling, rattling sound is the virus entering via the glycoproteins. Then a new voice enters and attaches to the song phrase of the healthy cell- this is the voice of the virus. The virus adds a new melodic aspect to the healthy cell song phrase, then works into and alters the nucleas, represented by percussion. Acetate burbles into the soundscape and triggers the lytic phase. The virus is now reactivated in its own song phrase with multiple replications resounding. Sanchez’s illustrations depict infected latent cells, the virus itself, with a 40 second animation of the entire process at the end of the sonic illustration.

How Data Was Used in Sourdough Sketches

The data used in RISE: Sonic Sketches of Sourdough Cultures is depicted in the graph you see below. This is the Optical Density growth profile over a 48 hour period for the 8 most prevalent strains of yeasts and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) found in The Sourdough Project’s 500 starter samples. Using these data defined shapes was suggested by their similarity to the motifs of Terry Riley’s In C, a piece that continually shapes and sharpens my appreciation of timbre and harmonics.

This data set turned out to be less important in the great scheme of the final Sourdough Project paper, however by assigning chromatic pitches to the OD levels from the lowest measured amount (.0867) to the highest amount (.8816) among all 8 taxa, a unique motif emerges for each one. The intervals between sampling points/tones reveal the growth rate and expansiveness of each taxa. The notes at each sampling point when strung together create a pentatonic pattern spread out over four octaves that will be the sonic profile of each strain of yeast and LAB. Here is an example of the motif for L Sanfrancisensis, a lactic acid bacteria common to sourdough starters.

There were 40 density amounts over 4 octaves, so 10 notes were needed in each octave and two notes had to go. Leaving out C and F in a scale with G as the fundamental pushed the scale toward more dissonance, which helps to create the “sour” part of the sound. The chromatic scale runs from G0 to G5 (the scale runs from G0 to F#4, and then jumps to G5. G5 is heard only in W. Anomalus). Here is the piece that introduces the yeast voices and pattern profiles –  String of Yeasts

The LAB voices are horn, synth, brass and a plucked resonant instrument. LAB do not reach levels higher than .5 on the OD scale thus are lower in pitch class range overall. Several of the yeasts soar into the 4th octave, but the LAB all stay in the 0-3 octaves as they grow slower and less abundantly.

And then there are the Acetic Acid Bacteria that have not received much attention in previous research. One of the findings of the Sourdough Project is that highly variable abundances of AAB are a key driver of functional diversity across the 500 starters in the study. The AAB also contribute heavily to starter aroma. In the soundscape AAB will take the form of sculpted noise- mixing various shades of noise with audio of watery bubbling sounds. And since AAB are drivers, percussion will be used as well. The primary AAB, Acetobactor Malorum, is represented by a polyrythmic frame drum statement.

The Yeast and LAB sonification profiles are what I call “data-driven” in that specific data points have been used to depict each Yeast and LAB voice. The AAB sonification is “data-derived” in that the use of percussion as a driver, of burbling, watery sounds as fermentation, and of post-soundscape frequency artifacts as VOCs were all suggested by descriptions of AAB in the published paper.

Three individual starters were sonified for the album. SD_522 was chosen because it may demonstrate the impact of Acetobacter Malorum on functional diversity in starter microbiomes. This starter had 6 of the 8 articulated taxa in measurable amounts and Acetobacter Malorum as the primary AAB. SD_131 contained Acetobacter Malorum and hit 4 of the 6 aromatic notes, so the last 30 seconds of the soundscape are the audio artifacts representing volatile organic compounds (VOC). SD_299 was chosen because it is mostly LAB and DOES NOT have any S Cerevisiae and very little AAB. This allowed me to play with a very different sonic pallette from SD_522 and _131.

The album is available March 30, 2021 on Bandcamp, and within the month on all other music platforms! Thank you for your support!

Experiments in Human/Audio Origami: Entanglement

Glyph by Carol Vollmer

Glenna Batson and Susan Sentler have continued their exploration of the visual-somatic signifigance of The Fold through a number of intensives and workshops on-line during the last year. I attended a weekend intensive and found it to be an amazing healing experience which drew people from all over the world. I enjoyed participating in their Deep Dives. Since sound is so compromised on Zoom, sharing of sound explorations in The Fold has not been possible. Until Now!

About a month ago, a new sound folding idea was suggested by Cathy Moore, who has attended a number of Human Origami Jams over the years. Cathy is a retired lawyer, community activist, and dancer. She also lives with Parkinson’s Disease – actually she dances with PD. Cathy is interested in the science of Parkinson’s and some recent research suggests that one of the factors in PD is misfolded/clumped/entangled proteins at motor synaptic junctions. These alpha-synucleins are responsible in part for triggering and stopping movement, both of which are hallmark PD symptoms. So Cathy suggested we work with the idea of entanglement.

My own felt sense is that entangled folds might feel crowded and tight at first. We are enmeshed in a network of folds where beginnings and ends are less clear and accessible. There is some holding/resistance in entanglement that constrains the fluidity of The Fold. The dampening of movement creates more stability, perhaps? And while there is a sense of being caught up in entanglement, there are many nooks and crannies to be explored as well.

The soundscape begins from a place of deep muffled constraint around which arises a whispy buzzy drone. The journey of the soundscape is to explore and release/cut through constraints. Entangled strands of sequences evolve and emerge from the muffled sound. They dance and resolve or dissolve as the muffled sound is released.

On March 20, 2021, a group of us met on Zoom. Thanks to Zoom audio improvements and YouTube assists, the soundscape had fidelity and was mixed with Glenna’s voice in a way that carried our intention across the ethers. The participant feedback after the dive indicated that many people engaged with and allowed the sonic/imagistic landscape to enter their worlds and bodies. While each person articulated their own unique journey through the dive, the one common response from most everyone was experiencing “release” and “letting go”. WoW!

With Glenna’s permission, here is an excerpt from the recording of our dive into and through “entanglement”:

Carol Vollmer’s glyph above was in response to Glenna’s prompt to “doodle” after the dive. The discussion was rich and heartfull, and so much wisdom was shared. I was honored to explore sounding The Fold with this community of curious and insightful people.