Canto Ostinato @ Hedge School Festival with Jürgen Simpson

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Canto Ostinato @ Hedge School Festival with Jürgen Simpson

Post by MarkyMark »

Resolume was present at the latest edition of the Hedge School Festival in Doolin, Ireland.
We hosted a Resolume Arena workshop and did a collaboration with Jürgen Simpson.

Jürgen was there to perform his modular rendition of the classical piece Canto Ostinato(1979) by Simeon ten Holt. We were asked by the Hedge School Festival to collaborate with Jürgen to create visuals for the performance. Jürgen works with eurorack modular synthesizers and we had just released Wire, our modular patching environment. This was a great opportunity to test Wire in the wild. So we sent Mark, our tutorial guy, on a quest to the Emerald Isle.

Visual Concept
Before I started on the visuals I did a deep dive into the piece.
What was this Canto Ostinato thing, and what was it about?

Canto Ostinato is considered to be minimal music, the focus lies heavily on repetition which gives the piece (at times) almost electro/techno-ish vibes. One thing that really interested me was the time signature, which is really uncommon in western music at 10/16.

From a technical point of view I wanted to create one, big, modular, generative patch that would generate the visuals for the entire performance. Keep in mind here that some performances of the piece in the past have lasted up to 4 hours.

From a visual perspective, I leaned heavily on the 10/16th time signature.
I decided that I wanted a trigger for each beat and each bar. This would sync the visuals to the music and embrace the repetitive nature of the piece.
The Patch
The patch has 10 circles, using a Circulate node and an Attack Release node I am able to blow up the sizes of the circles on each beat. I decided against using the Transport Beat node to get beat triggers, instead I created a manual Trigger In node, which gets triggered in Arena using a BPM-synced envelope.The reason for this is that during the performance I used the patch twice, layered on top of each other. One version of the patch responded to the beats, the other to the bars.

To create a near infinite amount of movement patterns I created a preset amount of patterns using nodes like Circle Pattern, Grid Pattern and Linear. Next, I allow the user to select two patterns and crossfade between them. Finally I add Perlin Noise to the final coordinates to create some organic movement.

Using blur and a big feedback loop I am able to create more complex visual patterns.

Feel free to check out the patch and use it for your own projects. The patch is segmented into comment blocks, but not fully documented.

Download CantoOSt
Jügen was using Ableton Live to send all his note data to his modular. Because of this, Ableton Link was the way to go to synchronize. We placed a phone with a local network in the middle of the audience, connected to the network and we were ready to go. While I wouldn’t recommend doing this with big live shows, for a show this size (max 200 people), it works fine.

My Arena setup was as minimal as it can be: two layers, with each 1 instance of the patch I’ve made. Next, I mapped as many sliders as I could to the parameters in the effect, maximizing each button by using different midi-modes.

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I enjoyed doing the performance with Jürgen and taking Wire out for a spin in the wild.
It gave the team many ideas on improving Wire further and in the half year since the performance I would have done things differently now. This patch would really benefit from some Ring Buffer love, which we released in Wire 7.11. Nonetheless , it was a great experience and experiment for me.

We really would like to thank Jürgen for collaborating with us. A big thanks to Simon O'Reilly and the Doolin Arts team for inviting us over. And a major shout out to Crosby Dunkly for doing a back-to-back VJ session with me, that was seriously one of the most fun I’ve had VJ’ing for a while mate!

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