ASAC Presents Ben Miller/Doug Van Nort Duo, Barn Owl and Shape Shifting Shepherds

Ben Miller

Doug Van Nort

Albany Sonic Arts Presents Ben Miller/Doug Van Nort Duo, Barn Owl and Shape Shifting Shepherds

Saturday May 1 @ 8pm
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany NY
$5 suggested donation

More about the artists after the break.

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Arduino On Board

Photo by Nicholas Zambetti

I recently ordered an Arduino board to try another approach for getting sensor data into my computer. More and more of my students are using them, too, and I wanted some first-hand experience. Most of my previous work has been with the Basic Stamp family of boards. The Arduino arrived this week and I promptly sat down and gave it a try.

The first thing I noticed (aside from the price: the entire Arduino setup costs significantly less than similar boards!) was how much easier it was to get the Arduino going than the Stamp. This isn’t exactly a fair comparison, since my initial experience with Stamps was way back in 1999 or 2000, and it was also my first time fooling with microcontrollers. I’ve learned plenty since then, and the products (along with their attendant software) have come a long way. I have to give the nod to the Arduino for its cross-platform, open-source software. (When I first started with the Stamp I kept a junker 386 PC around, just to run the Stamp compiler. No fun.)

I’m also impressed by the Arduino software. I’ve admittedly done little more than fire up the example “sketches” and tweak a few lines of code. However, the Processing/Java-style language seems a better fit for my (weak) coding style. The community around the Arduino seems very active. There are already a number of projects that simplify moving data from the board to common software such as MaxMSP and Processing.

Then there’s also the luxury of the USB cable that serves for both communication and power supply. This may seem trivial, but I look forward to the day when I don’t need to change the battery in my sensor box before every performance, or carry a spare 9-volt wherever I go. I may also jettison my USB MIDI interface along with a MIDI cable required by my Stamp setup. Suddenly, though, my USB ports are getting a little crowded…

The one niggling worry I have is the serial communication with Max. Using MIDI is certainly slower, but seems foolproof to me: no handshaking necessary, a dead simple initialization process, etc. I hope my fears are simply due to a lack of experience; that once everything is setup and tested I’ll feel just as confident with the serial connection as I do with my aging MIDI cables.

ASAC Presents Defragmented: Marko Timlin and thenumber46

Albany Sonic Arts Collective presents Defragmented: A concert of emergent systems featuring Marko Timlin and thenumber46 (Suzanne Thorpe + Philip White).

Saturday April 10th
Upstate Artists Guild
247 Lark St.
Albany, NY

Suggested Donation $5 (all proceeds go to touring performers)

This concert features Finnish- based composer/sound artist Marko Timlin alongside thenumber46, the collaborative effort of electro-acoustic flutist Suzanne Thorpe and electronic musician Philip White. Both Timlin and thenumber46 employ improvisation and non-linear analog systems to create music in which a delicate balance exists between the human and machine. A music at once intuitive and mechanical. Explosive and subdued. Violent and meditative.

More about the artists after the jump.

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