Oracle du Jour performance still
Stage directions and notes on preparation for the Long Beach SoundWalk 2012 presentation of Oracle du Jour, with links to collected source material and media.




Looking Forward


Oracle du Jour

All Your Spam are Belong to Us (a manifesto)

This was intended as the fine print for a poster or for eventual transclusion into a wiki Policy page. An early draft is at All Your Spam are Belong to Us. For those wishing to draft their own boilerplate, much raw material may be found by searching for, e.g. “work for hire contract” and “copyright transfer agreement.”

The Amazing Talking Internet (working title)

A lame title for discussion August 8, 2012. Fortunately, we were all fine with Oracle du Jour.

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The “band” for this event comprised the usual suspects:

  • Jacob JL “Elegiac” Dickinson
    • Vocals throughout
      • Condenser microphone

  • Rebecca “Incommunicado” Ayer
    • Violin throughout
      • Luis and Clark carbon-fiber violin
      • Schertler DYN-E contact microphone
    • Vocals and percussion in “Hey, Big Boy!”
      • Condenser microphone

  • Dave “Disaffected” Ayer
    • Vocals throughout
      • Condenser microphone
    • Mixing board
    • Delay loops
    • Analogue Systems AS-1 modular synth

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The Analogue Systems AS-1 “Integrator” is the standard configuration the company sells with its ondes Martinot-equivalent package. It’s a somewhat typical ’70s-style modular synth with a really nice sound and an extremely versatile sample-and-hold/clock module. Dave found it used in Oakland back in 2011 and never plans to part with it.

AS-1 synth patch diagram 1

Being an analog modular, the AS-1 is configured and tuned uniquely every time it’s used, or even moved. Drawing the patches—the configuration of cords interconnecting the various modules to get a certain timbre or effect—is the best way to preserve the setup for future use. Here’s what we used for this performance.

AS-1 synth patch diagram 2

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Delude and Feud

Get to Home Warmth featured image

Get to Home Warmth contains source material for this movement.

  1. Dave initializes loops, fed only by the violin mic.
  2. At start, violin is poised…but silent.
  3. Dave cues vocals.
  4. Jacob leads vocals. He and Dave begin a dialog scripted of selected spam, interlaced with buzz phrases and the occasional bon mot. Ensure no interruptions; at first, take time to mull over each statement and concur or counter. This dialectic of nonsense will build to an academic argument.
  5. Bek begins to lay down a sonic texture on the delay lines.
  6. Dave and Jacob’s dialog grows slowly less and less convivial. Keep voices at the same declamatory level, but slowly develop a contentious demeanor and jeering inflection. Let the phrases become shorter. Maintain lack of interruption.
  7. Bek’s violin playing grows increasingly agitated. Soon, she will begin to saturate the loop machines and things will start to get loud.
  8. Jacob and Dave begin to stomp on each others’ declamations. Phrases are now short and stuttering. Depict a seething academic rage, but allow the looped violin to overtake. Voices are not raised;
    electronica carries this burden.
  9. Bek stops playing but the loops continue to crescendo. Dave and Jacob continue their argument. Dave throws in the towel.
  10. Jacob continues to spew spam. Dave adds Jacob’s voice to the cacophonous Loop 2 while letting Loop 1 clear.
  11. Dave cues the ensemble (hand gesture). Jacob goes silent. Dave punches Bek’s mic to Loop 1, then kills Loop 2 as…
  12. …Bek delivers the line, “Hey, big boy” (or come-on of her choice). Sultry but very loud (eat the mic).

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Hey, Big Boy!

Erotic Spam featured image

Erotic Spam contains source material for this movement.

  1. Loop 1 throbs “Hey, big boy” at an interval Dave picks.
  2. Bek begins injecting additional come-ons. Dave cues up Loop 2 and directs all mics to the loops. Loops are faster in this section, and asymmetrical. This will pick up the rhythm. Dave will try to approximate syncopation.
  3. Jacob and Dave slowly join in. The verbiage oozes. Leave enough space for it to get mildly uncomfortable. Real spam, just tolerable by all ages, would probably be best.
  4. Begin bending the gender after a while. Don’t strain to be comic, but let it happen, just reading inappropriate or ridiculous phrases from the other side.
  5. At some point, Dave will try to loop this into some sort of smarmy rap or rumba number, injecting lounge-singer ichor as needed.
  6. Once the loops are built, Dave will cue to cut all voices. We’ll let the loops carry the day, offsetting them so the tune begins to distort and break down.
  7. Slow fade out to…

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Variations on a Meme

Spam by Meme featured image

Spam by Meme contains way too much source material for this movement.

  1. Bek starts a slow ostinato as Dave brings the now-cleaned loops up.
  2. Bek builds the violin texture on the loops.
  3. Over Bek’s texture, Dave and Jacob begin to read selections from the “Images of…” spam. Their voices are not looped at this point.
  4. Let’s see where this takes us.

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Dave harvested some graphic field animations from the ENKaudio studio’s museum, pressing the old ENKgraphis Amigas into service. These images were last used in 1989 or 1990 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada for the Potato Engineers’ last public performance. Aside from a few airings for speculative projects in the early ’90’s, they’d been in mothballs ever since. We thought they’d still look great the size of a small storefront in 2012.

Commodore Amiga 1000s resurrected in Dave's garage

Alternative Amiga graphic images

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