August 10, 2017

8.30 am: Back to PhD Fine Art draft reviews, until the time of my medical consultation. 9.50 am: An artless waiting room. The absence of anything else and anyone else heightened the experience of doing very little, life in abeyance, and a time before something happens. The context felt vaguely metaphysical. It required a Lynchian drone to articulate its dis-ease:

10.20 am: At my desk once again. Elaine Radique’s Feedback Works in the background:

By lunchtime, I’d cleared two chapters. Professionalism and propriety prevent me from making any further comment. Nevertheless, I can relay my gratification and gratitude to the students for having pushed my mind into territories where it would not have had cause to go otherwise. This is one of the great rewards of teaching at higher-research level.

2.00 pm: A glitch developed even as I returned to testing the system. It started as a vague ground-loop phenomenon, developed into a general distortion of the signals throughout, and ended with the collapse of the left turntable’s output. How frustrating. I’m conscious of spending too long on the technological wherewithal at the expense of the creative process. But there was no option other than to trace the fault, starting at the beginning and moving to the end of chain of connections (of which there are many). It sounded like either a component malfunction or a localised overload. Better it fail in the studio than in front of an audience. I rewired the lefthand pathway (turntable, sampler, and sub-mixer). I suspected that the line output from the sampler is too hot for the sub-mixer. I removed the sub-mixer and inserted a Lehle D-Loop in its place. This was a better solution all round. The sampler and the delay effectors could, now, each be assigned to a separate and isolated send and return loop on the device, permitting the signal from the lefthand turntable to pass through D-Loop with or without the loop paths activated. I’ve learned to bless my glitches (in both electronics and life). They’re often the signposts to improvement:

Having fixed that problem, there was still an issue with the integrity on the turntable’s own send and return loop that wasn’t there yesterday. Think! What aspects of the system had I changed since then? Again, I tested that circuit from start to finish. Usually, there’s only one offender. Was it the Boss looper or its placement in the chain, I wondered? Again, this was an opportunity for betterment.

7.30 pm: I cast cables and devices around like someone rearranging large cumbersome furniture in a very small room. It was tiring. The manoeuvres represented an even more radical think again than I’d undertaken yesterday. I’m not a perfectionist; I’m an ‘optimists’. That’s to say, I aim to realise a system’s optimum efficiency. That’s sufficient. So by the close of the day, I’d arrived at where I should’ve been at 2.00 pm. A waste of a day? By no means. I was put to the test. And passed!



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