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A/V performance, 2015–2023

Max/MSP, Touch Designer; Yamaha TX7

Duration: 00:30:00

Real-time graphics by Alexander Bochkov; Math consulting by Sergei Kostyrko

Sound artists Alexey Grachev and Sergey Komarov continue their research series ‘Subjectivization of Sound’ with the new experiment 1:1.78055*10^226.

The creative duo specializes in various research of sound both as a physical entity and as a sensitive medium in the artists’ toolbox. The ‘Subjectivization of Sound’ project interrogates different problems of interfaces and communication of analog and digital syntheses, computing equipment, and the world around.

The 1:1.78055*10^226 is an experiment in chaotic programming of the digital FM synthesizer Yamaha TX7 (1985). This is a desktop version and is one the bestselling synthesizers in history — Yamaha DX7. But it has a lack of interface where sound patches can be edited. Over 150 parameters should be controlled via the old-fashioned MIDI System Exclusive (SysEx) messages, instead of the familiar and convenient CC controllers (continuous controller number).

The unique historic sound and failings of the interface inspired Alexey and Sergei to experiment with this vintage audio gear piece. This is the second attempt to implement this idea (the first was 1:3.44743*10^251 with the Waldorf Microwave synthesizer) of interfacing with outdated hardware, combining system restrictions and ‘overclocking’ to push synthesized sounds to the limit.

In short, the idea is to fill the synthesizer with random parameters and play around with the data while fine-tuning the adjustments. For these purposes, the Max patch is used to manage SysEx messages running TX7.

According to the multiplication theorem on probability, the probability of the sound event can be presented as 1 to 1:1.78055*10^226 — that’s the total number of TX7 parameter combinations that can be set.

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