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Zero Input Mixer workshop and orchestra at EM 2014
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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:58 am    Post subject:  Zero Input Mixer workshop and orchestra at EM 2014
Subject description: ZIM at Electro-music 2014
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Calendar Event: September 5, 2014 - September 7, 2014

On the electro-music 2014 festival schedule there appears a two-hour Zero Input Mixer Workshop on Saturday led by Bill Manganaro (a.k.a. State Machine) with assistance by yours truly, Dale Parson (a.k.a. Acoustic Interloper). One outcome of the workshop will be the ZIM Orchestra performance on Sunday morning. I will compose a four-movement piece for the orchestra and conduct, and Bill will serve as first violin/soloist, leading us out of and into each of the movements via brief solo performances. The piece is a framework for group improvisation.

The workshop and performance follow two years of successful ZIM collaborations at electro-music. There has been enough interest in ZIM that we felt that a workshop might be popular. This thread is for planning the workshop and performance. This post is to inform potential participants of what you need to bring. I will write about the orchestral piece in a separate post in this thread.

WHAT TO BRING TO THE WORKSHOP

1. A portable mixer.
2. Headphones. This will be a lab-based workshop. There is no limit on number of participants. There will be a lot of uncorrelated sounds during experimental stages. You will want to hear what you are doing. Also, we'll need to control the chaos Smile
3. A way to limit / compress your signal so you do not get runaway feedback that damages your hearing or, later, the sound system in the room. ZIM works by feeding at least one mono or stereo channel from mixer output(s) to mixer input(s). Some mixers include per-channel limiters or compressors. Those that don't often go immediately from zero signal to maximum, saturated signal, with no fine control. I just got a new, very portable mixer that is exactly like that, so I have to put signal limiting in the feedback path itself. Also, if you are new to this, start off by putting your headphones on the table rather than on your head, and then bringing up the main mixer volume. Make sure that it is not going to blow out your eardrums before you put on the headphones. If you are using speakers, keep the volume very low until you test out the feedback control.
4. FX to put into the feedback path. Some mixers have built-in effects. The mixer's EQ provides the basic control for feedback pitch. Electric guitar stomp boxes, DIY circuits, delays and sustains, basically any kind of effect can go into the feedback path. My old mixer had good built-in FX, but I dropped a table on it, so this year I am putting laptop software-based FX in the feedback path. One of my two 15-minute contributions to the workshop will be on using software FX in the feedback path. A single performer can have all hardware, all software, or a combination of both types of FX.
5. One or two 1/4 inch cables so you can plug into the sound system when we begin working as an ensemble. If we have a lot of participants, we may have to go to a single mono feed from each performer on Sunday.

Before starting ZIM work for the first time, please read Muied Lumens' excellent article on 'Feedback (No-input Mixing)' in the EM Wiki, along with this thread from the Forum.

The format of the workshop will be instruction by Bill interwoven with lab work by all, some individual via headphones, and some collaborative via the PA system in the seminar room. During the last half hour I will go over using laptop software in the feedback path for 15 minutes, and then will go over the composition and plan for Sunday morning's orchestra.

There is no limit on number of participants. As with any large group improvisation, listening is essential. More on the composition below.

I wrote this from memory and may have missed things. Bill, feel free to amend and add. Anyone attending electro-music 2014 can sign up for the workshop and orchestra via this thread. Past, experienced ZIM performers can skip the basic workshop, but should plan to attend the last 30 minutes in order to get the plan on Sunday's performance.

Questions are welcome, of course.

Dale

EDIT: Please use this thread to sign up for the workshop and the performance.

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shivasongster



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:54 am    Post subject: Count me in Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi Bill and folks, count me in!
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm interested Smile

Just depends on what i can get out of the very limited equipment I will be able to bring

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

modulator_esp wrote:
I'm interested Smile

Just depends on what i can get out of the very limited equipment I will be able to bring

Jez,

You can put whatever you want in the feedback loop(s). The only general guideline is to generate signals using feedback from mixer output(s) to mixer input(s). You can put whatever you like in those feedback loop(s). The only thing typically to avoid is completely independent signal generators, and to try to get as much as possible from the signals that arise due to feedback. But, we are not purists Cool It's surprising how much you can get out of EQs and compressors. Any non-linear effect is good.

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Acoustic Interloper



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:25 am    Post subject:
Subject description: the score
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The outline for The SCORE is here at the illustration labeled
Quote:
If you’ll forgive the resolution, the following figure from Langton’s “Life at the Edge of Chaos” illustrates these ideas using Wolfram’s universality classes:


It is worth at least speed reading that page.

MOVEMENTS

1. FIXED

For each movement Bill will lead us into the movement, and 5 minutes later out of the movement, via a solo. We will go over cues for transitions during the previous day's workshop. I will conduct. I will use a police whistle as needed

FIXED is static. Drones. Drones beating against drones. Gradual transitions across pitch ranges. Gradual, gentle transitions across timbre. It is warmup.

2. PERIODIC

PERIODIC is repetition. Repetitive cycling of rhythm, repetitive cycling of melody, repetitive cycling of timbre, repetitive cycling of whatever other properties come to mind. Bill will lead us in with rhythm/melody of his choosing. If we start to slip into uncoordinated chaos before 5 minutes are finished, then stop playing, listen to Bill, and follow his lead.

Actually, volume -> silence -> volume is a nested cycle. Yes, everyone will follow this cycle except Bill. Play repetitive structures (while also listening), but roughly at every minute, fade out, listen to Bill, and then fade back in following and working off of his structure. I will work out cues. So Bill gets to "solo" 5 times during the second movement, once at the start, and once at the start of each minute thereafter.

3. CHAOTIC

Descent into noisy hell. Don't over-do your amplitude. We don't want to damage hearing or the PA system. Alternate between trying to match a class of noise to what everyone else (initially Bill) is doing, and doing your own thing. Even noise can have structure. Classic definitions of chaos talk about hyper-sensitivity to initial conditions, the so-called butterfly effect. Bill supplies the initial conditions.

4. COMPLEX

This is the hardest to achieve, and also the opportunity for the most creative movement of the piece. It is basically non-cyclic structure. As the linked diagram shows, it sits between periodic and chaotic. It partakes somewhat of each, but it is its own region. The main guideline is to create variations of themes, initially supplied by Bill, although anyone can suggest a theme as we play. As usual, if it starts to become chaotic, back off and listen, then respond with a variation. If you don't have a variation, just follow. If everyone tries to introduce a theme, it will become chaotic. Feel out that boundary region between Periodic and Chaos!

EDIT (By State Machine): Attached of these movements in downloadable PDF format for study and practice.

Also attached is the workshop agenda.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Acoustic Interloper wrote:
modulator_esp wrote:
I'm interested Smile

Just depends on what i can get out of the very limited equipment I will be able to bring

Jez,

You can put whatever you want in the feedback loop(s). The only general guideline is to generate signals using feedback from mixer output(s) to mixer input(s). You can put whatever you like in those feedback loop(s). The only thing typically to avoid is completely independent signal generators, and to try to get as much as possible from the signals that arise due to feedback. But, we are not purists Cool It's surprising how much you can get out of EQs and compressors. Any non-linear effect is good.


I will see what I can do with my Edirol M-10MX, mini kaoss pad and pandora mini Smile

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thank you Dale for putting this wonderful program together. All these movements are exciting, should contrast each other well, and are most appropriate for this mode of live - improvisational - electronic music performance . I shall do my best in the role of lead/soloist and thank you very much for this opportunity.

While using feedback techniques to generate sound compositions has its level of uncertainty and unpredictability, it can be a quite achievable goal to extract out some predictive sound structure and harmonic qualities with a bit of practice. The key is to use the, and I hate to use the word, "correct" processing element in the feedback loop. Thus, to avoid pigeon holing anyone, the general theme of using any technique shall then be "what ever works use it" from here on. Thus, the more proper thing to say is that the techniques that I use are what works in my compositions and can be used globally as guidelines. Saturday mornings workshop shall focus on ZIM techniques (and pitfalls) in a general format, then focus in on more specific ones that would work the best for each of the four movements in this years ZIM Orchestra collaboration.

As for effects in the feedback loop, here is one of my personal favorite hardware units :

http://www.korg.com/us/products/dj/kaoss_pad_quad/

Kaoss Pad QUAD will give you an abundant amount of control all with selection of different effects in the chain and the movements of your fingers across the X-Y pad to change the FX parameters.

Other units that work well for feedback are the Korg Kaoss pad series of touch control effects units from KP1 to KP3. While I am at it, the Kaosscilator is a fantastic piece of gear as well.

Dale will cover some of the uses of computer/software based techniques as the sources of feedback.

In my next post, I shall present the outline of the ZIM workshop. For now, the format will a bit of theory/lecture, then lots of setup and hands during the first 1.5 hours, afterall, it is a workshop and not a college lecture. Most important of all: we should have lots of fun Very Happy

I do believe we are all on the edge of a new popular movement in electronic music composition and Dale and I are happy to share the ride with all you fine and talented people !!!

Bill
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have a Kaoss Pad Quad, not sure if I'll be able to bring it, but it is cool Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
I have a Kaoss Pad Quad, not sure if I'll be able to bring it, but it is cool Cool


Jez, most awesome if you can bring it. A perfect tool for ZIM. I understand the baggage limitations so If your unable to bring it, I have a KP3 you can use in place of it. You can't serially chain the FX like the KP Quad but its the next best choice as a tool for ZIM. Cool Wink

Bill
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is a nearly half hour example of what I been getting out of my rig of which I shall write about in later postings. The opening passage is mostly rhythmic. I used mainly a Klee sequencer to modulate the feedback audio output then mix it back in. A Klee GATE output drives a Doepfer Linear VCA. The VCA IN is the feedback audio from the mixer, the VCA OUT is the modulated feedback routed back into the mixer. The Klee sequencer clock source is a Doepfer envelope generator operating as an LFO.

After all the feedback processing, I added a pitch shifter to the MAIN MIX and then route this through a Behringer Delay processor.

A diagram would suite this best but have none at this time.

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:57 pm    Post subject: Shivasongster Zero Input Mixer Rehearsal ZIM070814A Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's a little experiment from today...

Zero Input Mixer Rehearsal ZIM070814A - SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/shivasongster/zero-input-mixer-rehearsal-zim070814a

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Finally managed to have a play with my M-10MX, mini kp & pandora mini, got some good sounds just using mixer to generate feedback and running that through the fx, next need to try with them in the feedback loop
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

modulator_esp wrote:
Finally managed to have a play with my M-10MX, mini kp & pandora mini, got some good sounds just using mixer to generate feedback and running that through the fx, next need to try with them in the feedback loop

Take care for your ears that first time around Cool

Looking forward to hearing some of your work

Been working on some graphics+music generation that I'll probably use for my AI set. Back to ZIM work after I get home from a conference trip to Vegas, with a side trip to see my daughter in New Mexico. Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm really interested in the workshop and just have a few questions:

For limiting, will an outboard stompbox of the compressor/sustainer variety work, or does it need to be something more specific?

In terms of effects, I'd like to use a Nord Micro Modular and a few outboards, but I'm curious if there are things that are kosher/unkosher in ZIM work.

Does a ring modulator sully the zero-input philosophy by introducing an oscillator, even if it's not directly heard?

If you're catching loops of the feedback signal and then pitching them up or down to feed back into the mixer, is that within the concept as well?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
I'm really interested in the workshop and just have a few questions:


Good, happy to help.

Quote:
For limiting, will an outboard stompbox of the compressor/sustainer variety work, or does it need to be something more specific?


That should do fine. The objective would be to control your amplitude and if your mixer does not have a compressor in the channel strip, than an outboard compressor in the feedback path will be fine. As an extra insurance that things wont go out of control, I never use the main out of the mixer as a feedback source so that if things get too loud, I just work the MAIN fader and bring everyting down. Setting the compression ratio high would make it act like a hard limiter.


Quote:
In terms of effects, I'd like to use a Nord Micro Modular and a few outboards, but I'm curious if there are things that are kosher/unkosher in ZIM work.


There are currently, and probably will not be, any limittations to what you can use in terms of an FX processing units in the feedback path. The only thing that is discouraged is that you refrain from putting an audio oscillator in the mix. This would be ZIM in its purest form but as Dale mentioned in an earlier post, its not a hard rule. In ZIM, the source of sound is the oscillation generated by a mixers channel strip by means of positive feedback and manipulated by effects unit(s).

Quote:
Does a ring modulator sully the zero-input philosophy by introducing an oscillator, even if it's not directly heard?


Not at all, the ring modular is considered effects.

Quote:
If you're catching loops of the feedback signal and then pitching them up or down to feed back into the mixer, is that within the concept as well?


I love to do that myself. In fact, I use samplers in the feedback path all the time. My Koass Pad Quad has a cool loop slicer and pitch shifter program and I use that quite often

Bill
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Finally managed to have a play with my M-10MX, mini kp & pandora mini, got some good sounds just using mixer to generate feedback and running that through the fx, next need to try with them in the feedback loop


Jez, yes, and things get even more interesting when the FX are in the FB path Cool I usually put FX in FB and on MAIN.

Would love to hear some audio examples.

Bill
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:13 am    Post subject:
Subject description: FPCC_ZIM_2014
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Attached is an updated copy of Bill's PDF of the score with a few text tweaks and, primarily, an embellished copy of the illustration from here. I think the illustration on the second page of this doc will be useful during the performance, will bring copies.


FPCC_ZIM_2014.pdf
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Fixed Periodic Chaotic Complex (FPCC ZIM 2014, score for Sunday)

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Looks great ! Thanks Dale. Printed mine. Cool Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think you guys will enjoy this NO INPUT BEATS demo on Youtube !!
Awesome !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxM98JI44OQ

Bill
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Bill Manganaro (State Machine) won't be coming to electro-music 2014, so I will lead Saturday's ZIM workshop as well as Sunday's ZIM Orchestra performance.

A couple of people have signed up. We will need more for an orchestra! If you have a portable mixer, you have what it takes. If you have FX that you can put into the feedback paths, you really have what it takes. You need to be able to limit / compress the signal coming out of your mixer. Having a limiter / mixer per signal path is a good idea, but not essential.

Please read the first post at the top of this thread, also my most recent post in this thread regarding the Sunday composition, and see my attached outline of Saturday's workshop.

On the down side, this is short notice, so I will wing it.

On the up side, I teach college, am used to improvising in class, and seem to like working on the edge of chaos.

Bring a cable or two, the usual 1/4" connector, so we can mix us all during our practice. Bringing headphones is a good idea, too, so you can woodshed your sounds. I never put my ZIM headphones on until I am sure the levels are safe.

Please post here if you plan to participate. Please participate!

Dale

NOTES for the tutorial (also attached):

1. Putting a compressor or limiter before your ears and the PA.

2. Try to put a compressor or limiter in each feedback path.

3. DEMO two isolated channels, using EQs / filters to tune the feedback paths.

4. Bleed the two channel drones slightly until you can get a beat signal.

5. Long terms beats -> LFO without adding a LFO.

6. Clean oscillation, saturation, regenerative & degenerative feedback.

7. Compressors add non-linearity. Find non-linear control regions on pots.

8. The minimalist mystique of being a purist. Pure analog filtered Xstr noise.

9. The pragmatic approach of using whatever works in the feedback paths (me).
9a. I am absolutely not averse to digital FX, software, whatever, but …
9b. I usually save anything with additional oscillator(s) or non-mixer
feedback path(s) until later in the piece.
9c. The conceptual point is regenerative and degenerative feedback
processing of quantum tunneling. OK, but . . .
9d. The composition & performance are the thing.

ADDITIONAL TOPICS:

Delays in feedback paths.

Chorus, flanger, phaser, grain FX, ring modulators, all the usual culprits.

Mixing them up as modular building blocks.

How does all this relate to Sunday's ZIM Orchestra performance?


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Outline of Saturday's ZIM Workshop

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the thread, this is a great idea! Have fun at the electro-music fest next week.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here is the recording of the electro-music Zero Input Mixer Orchestra from Sunday, September 7, 2014, at 11 AM EDT. We had a workshop the previous day for 2 hours, with all ensemble members and some additional festival goers attending. The score appears above in this thread.

The festival was not streaming at the time we played this, so it is making its premiere on the net right here!

THE ENSEMBLE
Jez Creek
Jeremy DePrisco
Bill Fox
Adam Holquist
Joe Wall
Dale Parson (organizing, composing, conducting and performing)

VISUALS by Steve Mokris of Project Ruori

SOUND ENGINEERING and PHOTOS (to be linked below) by Howard Mangrum

RECORDING and PORTER by Robert Dorschel

Thanks to everyone who participated and attended. It was a blast Exclamation

wave


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ZIM Orchestra Performance at Electro-Music 2014

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:40 pm    Post subject:
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Photos of the ensemble are here.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

well done well done
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
well done well done

thanks

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