20231114 - Pudding Club Fall 2023 Technical Overview

Hello, this is Otto from WNOADIARWB. Last month I had the great opportunity to represent Pudding Club on tour. You can read the tour announcement here. Touring was a dream; I'll save my personal experiences for another post. But the following is technical documentation of the "Fall 2023" iteration of the Pudding Club post-human musical system.

The focal points in this system were a "robotic" cymbal and tuna can [1].

Fig. 1

Both the cymbal and tuna can are struck by USB-MIDI-controlled solenoids. This allows for synchronization with MIDI compositions, backing tracks, and a loop pedal. The PCB that actuates the solenoids is currently being open-sourced. A (messy) GitHub repository for the board is live.

┌────────┐ │ │ ┌────────┐ USB-MIDI │ LAPTOP │ │S4 BOARD│◄──────────┤ │ └──┬──┬──┘ └──┬─────┘ ┌─────┐ │ │ │USB │ CAN ├───┘ │ ┌──▼──────┐ └─────┘ │ │AUDIO │ │ ┌──────────┤INTERFACE│ ┌─────────┐ │ │ └────┬────┘ │ CYMBAL ├─┘ │STEREO │MIDI └─────────┘ │OUT ┌────▼───────┐ ┌──────┐ │ │ LOOP PEDAL │◄─┤GUITAR│ │ └────┬───────┘ └──────┘ │ │MONO OUT ┌─▼──────┐ ┌───▼─────┐ │VENUE PA│ │AMP or PA│ └────────┘ └─────────┘ Fig. 2

Everything fit into 3 bags: a duffle bag [3], a guitar gig bag, and a backpack for clothes & personal items. I was able to carry the entire load for extended periods on foot and unobtrusively ride trains.

Fig. 3

Inside the duffle bag I kept a cable kit [4.1], a spiritually significant cloth [4.2], a pedal kit [4.3], a laptop kit [4.4], a dampening device [4.5], a fastener (for the cymbal) [4.6], a cymbal [4.7], and the robotic cymbal + tuna can bases strapped together with electronics wrapped in plastic [4.8].

Fig. 4

The cable kit consisted of USB A to USB C cables [5.1], a very long micro USB cable [5.2], 12V 2.5A DC power supply for the solenoids [5.3], Focusrite interface power supply [5.4], medium length 1/4" guitar cable [5.5], long 1/4" guitar cable [5.6], MIDI cable [5.7].

Fig. 5

The pedal kit consisted of a loop pedal with MIDI-sync [6.1]*, a power supply [6.2], a reverb pedal [6.3], a phaser pedal [6.4], and an external switch I found on the street [6.5]. The external switch primarily controls the undo function on the looper. I had a lot of issues with this particular loop pedal on the road.

Fig. 6

The laptop kit contained a laptop power supply [7.1], laptop [7.2], and an audio interface with MIDI out [7.3]*. The laptop ran REAPER for audio + MIDI playback on the Pop!_OS Linux distribution.

Fig. 7

The guitar gig bag contained a Steinberger travel guitar [8.1]*, whammy bar [8.2], electrical tape [8.3], packing tape [8.4], picks [8.5], extra strings & hex keys for the guitar [8.6].

Fig. 8

A "spares" kit [9] of cables and components was kept in a potato roll bag inside my backpack.

Fig. 9

The "spares" kit included 2 1/4" patch cables [10.1], a long 1/4" cable [10.2], a pedal power supply cable [10.3], a binder clip (for the cymbal dampener) [10.4], a USB A to USB C cable [10.5], a multitool (I kept this in my pocket but it's a vital part of this kit) [10.6], solenoids [10.7], velcro cable straps [10.8], an extra S4 board & Teensy 3.6 [10.9].

Fig. 10

If you're curious to hear everything together, Kristian Cho (@kristian_cho) recorded a set at The Pottery Gym in Philadelphia, PA. You can watch it on the WNOADIARWB YouTube page:

It's important to mention that this project has coincided with an ongoing genocide in Gaza that has, from my perspective, been obfuscated by Western media. This has offered a new opportunity to reflect on this work and my own role in colonial systems. The Pudding Club project seeks to interrogate and subvert military-industrial practices through the healing capacity of art making. But, recently, I have felt clarity that this work might only drive us deeper into complacency with the colonial systems we seek to dismantle. I have experienced this reinforcement in the past to an extreme degree with the Memo Boy project, which was put to work in the social media, hyper-capitalist machine as an asset for hypnosis and digital compliance. I am not sure what course of action I will take but right now I am considering putting more effort into performance, community-driven events, and spaces. Many people in my generation do not have much community outside of their online presence (or maybe it's just me.) So right now my justification to develop these musical spectacles further is that it is an excuse to gather and peacefully cultivate more equitable futures.

Fig. 11 (source)

Thank you for reading.

*I tape over logos when I think they are ugly or distracting.

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