Supernormal 2014!!

Yes! We did it again! This year at Supernormal was awesome, I (with Kim Da Costa from Form Constants) was involved in Sam Francis’ Shed Project which was an unplanned evolving sound stage along with a number of other artists. Others projects and individuals involved in The Shed included Sam Underwood, Bermuda Triangle Test Engineers, XXXTipex, Cymagick, Music by the Metre and Emma Lilwall. The weekend saw these projects played out and intertwined in spontaneous collaborations, it was great!

I was also involved in Field Sports/Fold Music which was an evolution of the Team Sports trio (Ian Watson, Matthew Lovett and Jimmy Otley). This project involved Nic Finch and Jimmy Otley on cello, Tina Hitchens on violin, Matt Lovett on acoustic guitar, Nick Harrison on drums and myself on battery powered electronics. We played in the living room / hall inside Braziers House, my home made amplifiers I built for Supernormal 2013 were a feature here again being used to amplify my electronics and play back field recordings the group had made.

I will add pictures and recordings around here as I acquire them and/or get permission…

Field Sports Performance:

For now, here is a great video of many highlights of the festival with The Shed being featured a lot, enjoy!

Fragments and Memories of Supernormal 2014 from hyperoculus on Vimeo.

New Instruments!!

Erk! I haven’t blogged anything in ages!! Woops!

Well I have been busy, lots of DIY projects have been coming together, here are some snippets of two today:


I made the Benjolin in Manchester a few months ago, and added the mods at home – today I converted the patch points to banana jacks as I have a couple of other banana based systems in the works. The Benjolin is a unique simplex 2 oscillator analogue synthesizer designed by Rob Hordijk. It’s main feature for me is a chaotic circuit designed by Rob a couple of decades ago called the Rungler – I’m going to write more about this on a page I am developing on Chaos Theory and music, so stay tuned! The synth also features a very tasty features and mods allow for some interesting outputs.

2014-07-08 21.41.51

Above is a rendition of the Ciat-Lonbarde Rollz 5, PCB realised by Meng Qi. It is a drum machine of sorts, but a pretty twisted one. The pic shows it in its current state, waiting to go into a clear acrylic case once the mounting hardware I need arrives in the post. The Rollz 5 designs by Peter Blasser feature 4 circuits that have many variables down to the component level. The Meng Qi features 4 of each of the voice circuits, and 8 of the Rollz circuits which define the rhythms of the instrument, so there is plenty to play with. My favorite circuit is the “Ultrasound Filter” which converts ultrasonic pulses coming from the Rollz section into quite a variety of sonics, sometimes sounding like cosmic radio interference, other times sounding like digital formant vocalisations. Richard Brewster has dissected the Rollz 5 circuitry and provided detailed schematics along with modifications on his blog which you can find here: Rollz 5 Schematics

Today I started some experiments patching the two instruments together and got this:

Hyperspace Error

Another modular session, this time exploring a largely generative patch with random step sequencing dictated by LFOs and then LFO frequency controlled by the random step sequence – there’s a whole bunch of other stuff going on as well but I mainly just sat back and listened!


ART Synthesizer Store and Swashbuckler

So the Swashbuckler is mere millimeters away, I am just sorting out the final bits now. Planned launch is… let’s see, ummmm… TOMORROW!!! So I have set up a Big Cartel page and you can buy a kit from there using Paypal. The URL is here: – for the record, first round of postage will be on Monday the 3rd of March.

I have been busy / lazy and I haven’t managed to put together a demo of the Swashbuckler yet, which is a bit rubbish – so I guess I should stop typing and maybe put a little something together tonight? I can say that the few people to have had the Swashbuckler experience have been transformed into instant noise junkies!! Here is Kim playing with her build: (001!!)


Swashbuckler nearly here!

***Update: I am planning on releasing the complete assembly kit on the 1st of March, more details to come soon***

You may or may not have caught the recent post on my Swashbuckler project, (look down a bit) I am now happy to announce that the boards have arrived from fabrication and I have built the first working Swashbuckler project!

The Swashbuckler is a pocket sized instrument based on the CMOS 4093 chip. Here is a list of features:

  • 4 square(oid) wave oscillators, stacked so that 2 modulate the other 2
  • Two light sensitive frequency controls
  • Touch sensitive modulator
  • Knob for modulation
  • Starve control knob for chaos
  • An optional passive low pass filter for more tame squaroids
  • Volume control knob
  • Power Switch
  • Red LED
  • Packed full of swashbuckling goodness

The project will be available as a complete set of parts with a PCB or a fully assembled instrument ready for action. You will need a soldering iron, solder and some wire snippers to build the project. You don’t need any experience to build this project and it doesn’t require any wiring.

Kits will be around the £20 mark

I am in the process of gathering the components to make a number of kits, watch this blog for updates and demos coming soon! For now, here is a pic: