And then I was on. And incredibly nervous. The thing about hackers and geeks is that we don’t tend to be polite. Even British hackers. It’s an international identity, really. We’re all zitty, perhaps having some trouble with puberty, awkward, weird and rude. I’m not a technically a hacker, really, since I just do audio and my interest in breaking things has mostly faded. But socially, yeah. So when I started to play, some people were clearly not impressed and not hiding that.
The bass was way too boomy. My computer out was not going through an EQ, so I couldn’t turn up the treble. A bloke in the front row got out a newspaper. The sampled voice was way too low in the mix. The first piece runs on a timer. I wanted it to end, but it goes for at least 5 minutes. I tried to add in as much variation as possible, with the limited controls I gave myself. It’s a poppy tune, without really any dynamic variation. I felt like I was crashing and burning. Finally, after an eternity, it ended.
Immediately there were questions, “were you controlling that with a joystick?” “were those sounds generated live?” “could you plug in a projector so we can see what you’re doing?” Wow. So half the people were interested. Some number of them were actually fascinated. And half the people hated it. Wow. This was the most mixed group I’ve ever played in front of.
I went on to do my live sampling, this time with the projector plugged in. I’d gotten it finally working very late the night before after numerous problems, most of which were extra annoying because the failures happened silently ARG! That should never happen! If something goes wrong, it needs to alert you! Anyway, they saw my screen projected, complete with the many curse words that had worked their way into my source code over the previous 48 hours. The debug window regularly told me to go fuck myself. There was giggling.
Normally, when I’m using a controller, I have it post notes reminding me which button does what. I didn’t do that here. Nor did I regularly post which samples were playing. This combination was not so good, since I completely forgot what button did what. It’s clear now that I had them all wrong anyway. I need to be able to use the major functions in the controller with one hand, preferably, my right hand (unless I’m playing tuba). It kind of didn’t matter, because the projector changed my screen resolution such that I wouldn’t have been able to see my notes anyway.
So the set was fairly confusing and stressful. About half the people in the room left. I still feel ok about it, though. I made some music and possibly some connections.
Some of the local FOSS types are trying to get a free culture group together. I would really like to teach a class in SC. It would be super cool to have an SC users group where people could do demos of their projects or how to do things, so people could get help from each other. We could all build SC cluster computers. It would be teh awesome. Beginner instruction at 7. Regular group at 8. That sort of thing.
Anyway, I have a mental list of fixes for the software. Also, I wonder if I could sort of glue a wiimote to the bottom of the controller. I like the dual sticks and all the buttons, but it would be nice to have positional data too.
This is apparently coming across much more negatively than I intended. So I’ve published a clarification. In short: I would do it again, no question.