Crazy days. The Big Last-Minute Update at work required about three more layers of updates, but we’re getting through it. (Update ADOS so we can update the build agents (requiring new VMs with updated OS) so we can update so they support VSTest 2022 so we can update everyone to Visual Studio 2022 and Fortran 2024 so we can update the three critical third-party libraries, which required writing some code to cover for their mutual incompatibilities, so we can pass a cybersecurity certification.)

The plumbing stuff at my parents’ new home is done except for final inspection and we’ve been doing some final fixes and cleaning. We’re going down this weekend in a rental SUV to pick up their cats and some stuff.

Last weekend though I managed to record 10 more minutes for the next album, putting it at one continuous 30-minute mix. Since it’s an album rather than a live set, I’m gonna keep going… though probably will switch to a “side B” as I did for Parallax. As a thank-you gift for the house work, my parents sent me a small steel tongue drum, like a mini version of my HAPI Origin. This sounds pretty great through Wingie 2 (I heard you like resonators, so I put a resonator in your resonator…)

Scottish Eurorack company InstrÅ«o recently released a dual allpass filter, called DAPF (the only non-Gaelic module name they have). DivKid did a great demo video of it, and I was convinced. It’s 4HP, the size of the last remaining gap in my case. Perfect.

Allpass filters are a bit weird. If you have a basic concept of lowpass, highpass, bandpass filters, the idea of a “filter” that doesn’t filter anything sounds like a joke. But a side effect of those other filters is a phase shift around the cutoff frequency, and indeed, an allpass filter does the phase shift without changing amplitudes. What that means is, if you put a particular waveshape into it, you get a different shape out that sounds exactly the same, having the same harmonic content, just shifted ever so slightly in time according to its center frequency. This turns out to be a surprisingly useful tool:

  • mixing the affected and unaffected signal in various ways creates other filter types.
  • moving the filter’s center frequency induces phase shifts; do it at audio rate and it sounds like FM synthesis.
  • move that center frequency more slowly, and with a feedback loop through the allpass filter (typically with several APFs in series) and you’ve got a phaser effect.
  • altering the waveshape means that nonlinear waveshaping (e.g. distortion, wavefolding) and analog logic operations/ring modulation/etc. will affect the signal differently. This allows you to fold a “square wave” (since it’s not square anymore, it just sounds like one). Shifting that center frequency changes the waveshaping in interesting ways.
  • allpass filters somewhat resemble the diffusion of sound waves in physical spaces. Digital reverbs tend to use combinations of delays, allpass filters and comb filters to do their thing. While you’d need an armload of DAPF modules to patch a reverb this way, putting it into feedback loops of various kinds does have neat results.

I found a particularly cool, unexpected application I found for it last night. Running a unipolar envelope through it, while also patching that envelope to the CV input, lets you get a bit of bipolar ripple/wobble. This reminded me of New Systems Instruments Inertia… so I added a feedback path through the allpass and got resonant wobbles like Inertia. Maybe this is how that module is implemented.

crawling along, but fast

The replacement Wingie 2 arrived, and it’s pretty cool. A little flawed, but I like how sensitive the internal mic is and how that translates to lovely pings and resonances. Just pressing the buttons on the built-in keyboard causes it to ring, as does moving your fingers on the case, a little wind, breath, etc. And it’s a feedback champ if you’re using speakers. It might not be the most versatile instrument/effect out there but it’s gonna get some use. Plus there’s the Blippoo Box firmware to try out.

Second track for the next album is recorded… and it coincidentally fit so well with the first one, it sounds intentional, and they’ve now been merged into one track. Also, another snippet that I made a loop from fits well with a semi-generative loop I separately patched in software, and together, I think it fits with the finished parts… lots of serendipity going on here. Overall, I’m expect this to turn out to be a long-form continuous thing like Slow Teleport or Parallax.

Speaking of serendipity, there was a weird, loud, deep bass hum from some passing vehicle right at the end of my most recent listen which totally fit, sounding like the intro to another section. If I could have recorded that right then I’d have done it.

I had a dream last night about being at a concert in a small room. Several people with various synth gear, computers, instruments, including one woman with a sort of hybrid taiko/doumbek, wooden but with a bowl shape like a tympani. They were having some technical issues with some instruments, and wound up doing a sort of live coding session on two computers which they then just let run for a while and sat back and listened. I had one of those dream epiphanies that doesn’t actually make sense in the waking world, something about how the division between composition and improvisation, or manually played and sequenced parts, was both ironic and illusory, which was supposed to be relevant to how I make music. Whatever, I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing.

My GW2 playing has been continuing. I’ve now got a level 80 staff/rifle quickness Deadeye — which doesn’t use the Be Quick Or Be Dead trait like I first though but is set up to maximize Steal Time. A glass cannon that can solo some champions but gets in trouble when CCd, so I’m probably going to rethink my chosen skills and make sure I have some kind of stun break/escape plan. She’s scary with the rifle, able to clear out a whole bandit camp (or whatever) without moving, but the staff is more fun and satisfying.

The update that adds more new weapons is coming soon. Some look super cool, some a bit more plain but might be fun. So I’m not gonna start into End of Dragons with anyone until that’s here since I might have a new favorite… or might get tired of GW2 again before I get there. (But that’s okay if so, I’ll surely be back later.)

I also just picked up Deep Rock Galactic: Survivors a couple of days ago. Where other “survivors” games seem to be a combination of strategic building and twitch action, this is more about tactical movement choices. Slower pace but it keeps you thinking on your feet the whole time, not just avoiding the hordes. You’re a Dwarven asteroid miner, there are thousands of alien bugs and some specific objectives to fill in a fairly short time. You could tunnel through some rock to force the bugs to go through in single file and set up a choke point, but you move slower doing it and they might catch you. But there’s some health crystals to mine for. And should you let them get a little closer so more of them get squashed when the drop pod falls? Depending on your weapon, upgrades and class, you typically auto-aim at the nearest bug, which means to take out the boss that’s your objective, you have to keep it fairly close but outside the reach of its claws. If you’re the Gunner, you mostly aim in the direction you’re running but you’re trying to run away from the bugs while shooting them…. so yeah, lots of stuff along those lines. Overall, I still think I prefer Soulstone Survivors, but this is a different-enough-yet-similar style to be fun too (despite some slightly-off voice acting and mediocre writing).

warped and glitched

I’ve spent a few days digging into Unfiltered Audio SpecOps like it deserves, and wrote up my notes on it.

Next I’m going to release Slow Teleport on Bandcamp and go back to just making music for a bit, before doing another one of these deep gear dives. But I feel like this one was especially enlightening, and I’ll be able to wring a lot more out of SpecOps. Already have in fact, with a captured bit of glitchy weirdness that’ll surely find its way into a release.

Work got a bit crazy. We were very close to a release candidate, for a long-delayed release that has a TON of improvements and new features in it. But we’re held up by some cybersecurity certification that requires us to update 3rd-party libraries that we were going to wait to update until the next release. We’ve fallen behind on these updates because Thing1 requires OtherThing 35.0 while Thing2 only supports OtherThing 32, but it’s time to cut through the Gordian knot with either Occam’s Razor or the Sword of Damocles so we can launch the Ship of Theseus.

And my parents’ house stuff is a mess too. The plumbing waste stack had to be replaced, an expensive job that dug a hole in the concrete of the basement floor and other holes in the bathroom wall; that’s all done but the county inspector says they have to do some other thing, and we’ve been waiting on that so the hole can be filled, drywall redone and the fixtures put back. My folks are moving in 3 weeks.

I traded my Mutable Instruments Blinds for a Meng Qi Wingie 2, which was kind of a lucky accident. I didn’t expect anyone to actually have a Wingie, PiezoThing or N0b Control for trade, but it happened. But the Wingie arrived DOA: lights lit, no audio, firmware wouldn’t update. The seller is sending me another one and we’ll sort out the return of this one, but that delayed my getting to play with it for a week or so. Fair enough, there was stuff to do anyway.

I’ve been playing Guild Wars 2. I got an Elementalist to level 80 using a hammer, and that was quite cool. I’ve got a Thief using a staff and rifle to 71, and that’s been fun but considerably more risky. I’m still not sure what character I want to do End of Dragons with, and may start up a Revenant… except that the expansion that brings additional Weaponmaster choices is probably coming soon and I’ll want to dig into that for sure.

Also Soulstone Survivors, still — unlocking the second costume for each character, currently on the Paladin. The class balance really isn’t; some classes simply have access to better skills and special features than others. Stacking buffs (Arcane Power, Might, Bloodlust etc.) with a couple of the strongest damage skills seems to really be the way to go. Pretty much every class has at least a couple of strong damage skills, but having access to two buffs by default and then getting a third through Skill Mastery makes a big difference.

They’ve announced a whole new character (The Monkey King) and a ton of new spells including a new category (Earth, which several existing spells could fit into alongside new stuff), so things certainly keep moving with this game.

men are from Tatooine, women are from Omicron Persei XIII


The Playhouse at Westport is once again running “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” which they made such a big deal of 10 years ago. There’s a giant poster in the hallway.

I’ve always hated that poster to an irrational degree.

The artwork is super annoying for some reason — the two faces look both super smug and yet somehow infantilized. The whole concept behind the title is stupid, stereotypical, gender essentialism and probably mildly harmful in some way.

I always want to vandalize that poster:

Men are from EARTH, women are from EARTH, you’re really not that different, get over it.

or: Nonbinary comrades, we must defeat the alien menace!

or: You’re all immigrants.

or: I am from Pluto.

Speaking of Venus, Zoozve is official now. Congratulations on your naming, little quasi-satellite!

Now if we could just get justice for Pluto…