I was inspired to start this discussion by the latest esoteric modulation podcast with Soma Lab’s Vlad Kreimer. At the beginning of the podcast Vlad talks about the importance of the esoteric approach to engineering. He describes the esoteric as relating to the “dark ocean” of our brains that are completely separate from the part of our brain that identifies as the “self”. I highly recommend you listen to the whole podcast because he’s really interesting, but this concept also felt like one that was starting to happen a little bit in the modular occultism thread that might be interesting to tease out separately. I am by no means an electrical engineer so I don’t have the ability to get super technical, but the super technical is also interesting if people want to get into that. Here’s a few thoughts that jump out to me to start:
Vlad is building instruments that are highly expressive, built to last, and require practice – in a sense, a more traditional idea of a musical instrument compared to the DAW or drum machine/sampler/etc. In my modular practice I’m interested in building something that is like an instrument, and so am interested in performative ways to interface with the instrument that differ from the keyboard or the sequencer. Cold Mac’s survey for example is something that always blows me away as a perforative knob.
I recently watched @hermbot’s video about maths without maths and they mention the gestalt of maths, which i think is an essential idea to the concept of circuit building as well as instrument building. I love the idea of gestalt, let’s talk about that too, beyond simply interface design (is this topic just about cold mac?)
NLC, IFM/ Ciat Lonbarde – there are many makers doing interesting things, of course Soma Labs got the shoutout above too, but these two stand out to me in this conversation – I have learned more about electrical engineering trying to decipher what their various instruments and components do than any other way. I think there’s a good number of people who are dismissive of their inscrutability, or Mannequins poetic descriptions, but, those ways of presenting items to be used for musical purposes I find interesting and I think has a certain amount of value. Of course all these mentioned do it very differently – where whimsical raps might not tell you the traditional name for something in it’s description, NLC will tell you the exact scientific paper the ideas are drawn from and the relevant scientific name without a description of it’s musical application – perhaps these approaches are even opposite lol. NLC and Peter Blasser’s work also both do things like having secret messages on the PCBs and stuff, Peter’s use of certain types of wood for certain purposes (sassafras because it’s sassy, if I remember correctly).
sorry for blabbing, can’t wait to hear what you smart people are thinking on these topics~