2/14/14 Valentine's Day performance at King Street Coffee House

Fricknadorable Live Picts by Erin Dietrick


Teensy and Wii Chucks

I’ve been returning to my Arduino projects in the past few weeks, and have been taking a course in Processing (the basis of the Arduino IDE) to help with the programming side of things.

Back at EM2013 , I acquired a Teensy 3.0 micro-controller and two Wii NunChuck controllers (pictured above) courtesy of Gordon Good. It’s a nice collection of gadgets. Gordon asked participants to make a blog post about their Teensy adventures in return for these items, so this is my attempt to get started and make good on that promise.

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VS1053 by Adafruit - Photo by JD

Arduino: Adafruit VS1053 Audio Board

Next in my exploration of Arduino-compatible audio boards is Adafruit’s compact and multi-functional VS1053. This board came out earlier this year just as I was getting preoccupied with moving, and I only recently discovered it. I got this board for Christmas from my dad, and put it together as soon as I got home. I wanted this board because – along with being smaller than the others, it appeared to cover many audio codecs.

You can read all about the board on Adafruit’s site, but I just wanted to note a few basic things here. The VS1053 was easy to put together, and since I got version 2 with the built-in 220uF stereo blocking capacitors, I had even less work to do to get up and running.

Here’s the first test of the playback sketch, on Flickr

It will take a LONG TIME to explore this board. The documentation for the board is extensive, and you may want to print some sections for reference. However, it does not go into detail about the specs of the SD card. Most boards I’ve tried have an upper limit of 1 or 2 GB, but the VS1053 worked with an 8GB card with no problem. I still find SD cards a bit finicky when it comes to formatting them, and almost always have to use my Mac to do it right.

The second test I performed was for basic MIDI playback. Again, this board is deep and I can see a lot of uses for the MIDI capability, including interfacing with the Percussa Audiocubes, but that will have to wait for another time. Here it is on on Flickr.

The VS1053 also records, so that will be the next installment, possibly later this weekend.

Dolunay - Photo by Jeremy dePrisco


Dolunay (“Full moon”) performed at Bloomsburg University, and later that night had an after-party at Milk Parlour Ballroom. Dolunay plays Rumeli urban folk music of the Turkish people across the Balkans that will leave your ears bursting with beautiful melodies. This group features amazing musicians from the NYC Balkan music scene who will transport you up and over the moon with their thoughtful interpretation of this lovely music.

Jenny Luna – vocals, percussion
Adam Good – ud
Eylem Basaldi – violin
Rami ElAasser – percussion

Here’s my photo album from the night.


Photo by Jeremy

Percussa AudioCubes Go Wireless

Last year I embarked on an exploration of the Percussa Audiocubes, a MIDI controller designed to add visual feedback to performance and free the user from the computer when working with electronic music (or any other kind of music/audio).

This year, Bert Schiettecatte, creator of the cubes, has upgraded them to include wireless capability, further enhancing their usefulness for live performance, and increasing the “wow” factor in terms of fun and potential for audience interaction. Improvements in configuration options also make the cubes even more fun to use now.

To continue my exploration, I returned to Mark Mosher’s 9box method, which demonstrates the cubes’ potential quite well. The next step of course is to remap my current projects to take advantage of this, and write new material that takes into consideration the new found portability of the cubes.

Below is a quick demo experiment recorded live.

Here’s a little video showing how these look in person.

Photo by Hong Waltzer

EM2013 Recap

Last weekend I attended electro-music 2013 in Huguenot NY. This was my fourth year attending this wonderful festival, and as always I came away with many new musical concepts and friendships.

Highlights included dueling theremins, triple Eigenharp performances and large analog modulars. Attendees ranged from all over the US, and as far away as England and Belgium.

My first performance at the festival was with collaborator Robert Dorschel from Syracuse, NY. We performed a piece based on a composition Rob created called “Empty Nest”, inspired by his son’s journey off to college.

RoDoJede perform - Photo by Geert Bevin

RoDoJede perform – Photo by Geert Bevin

The next day I participated in the Zero Input Mixer Collaboration that included Adam Holquist, Dale Parson, Joo Won Park, and Bill Manganaro. Zero Input Mixer is a concept that involves creating sound simply with feedback loops within a mixer, then sending those sounds through effects. I’ve posted our performance. Warning: This is not for everyone, but it was tons of fun, and I’d love to do it again.

Zero Input Mixer Collaboration - Photo by Ted Johnson

Zero Input Mixer Collaboration – Photo by Ted Johnson




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