Category: improvisation

LM386N audio preamp circuit

Here’s a circuit that provides some gain to iPod line-out audio to drive the TXD pin of a Radiometrix NTX2. It uses an LM386N audio amplifier chip (available from Radio Shack).  I just substituted capacitors until it worked. Its powered by +5v DC from an Arduino pin.

Roughly based on this circuit –

Next will be trying the TS922 op amp.


Ableton Live looping project

Current local version is in tkzic/van project/van47g key9d.als


  • Using Korg nanoKontrol instead of foot pedals (actually either will work) – see map below
  • Now works with any audio interface
  • Mic input for channel 9 is fed to output to use as direct live monitor

Essentially it now works with a minimal amount of external hardware.


Backed up the midiStroke config file in its current state. The file is located at: /Users/tkzic/Library/Application Support/midiStroke/midiStroke.cdcmidistroke. Backups will be kept in the same folder.

nanoKontrol map

Scene 1
Top row of buttons
  1. up
  2. down
  3. left
  4. right
  5. stop all clips
  6. delete
  7. finish recording and arm track to the right (enter/right/enter)
  8. record start/stop (enter)
  9. launch scene in current row and move cursor to track 5
bottom row of buttons
  1. unassigned…

Correspond to track levels 1-9

  1. Master level
  2. unassigned…

what’s next

  • Make a lightweight template version (without all of Van’s music) – that can be used for new projects
  • set up with Launchpad to do fx processing
  • Midi version – or midi tracks?


Milton Babbitt – solo piano 1985

(This link is broken 4/13/2015)

Here is a Youtube review of the piece from @ateaytu 

“So it has come down to defending composition by arguing it is has some form of aesthetics when compared a drunk stumbling against the piano? The whole genre is garbage. Babbitt’s ‘music’, not his mathematics background, where he went to school or even his musical ability, is of focus. Here is a man that fits the definition of ‘brilliant’ but like many other artists chose to squander his talent on utter garbage. This primitive ugliness will forever be a source of ridicule and shame.”

Bill Dixon

from an interview by Frank Rubolino 2002

So how would you sum up your life?

If you are you, 24 hours a day, then you do not have to remember who you are supposed to be in different situations—something that I imagine could be troublesome. Ornette once related to me years ago about his own work that people didn’t so much mind what he did, they minded that he had done it. Confidence in my ability that I could do work of substance had a long gestation period. Being able to believe and fully believe in myself took a long time. Even the idea of confidence had to be built, and it needed a foundation to be built upon. In the late 1930s, I looked around and said, this is the only life I am going to have. I had to attempt a sorting out of my strengths, to isolate them, and then get to work on my weaknesses. What did I want to do? What did I want to be? What could I do? What would I be permitted to do? I discovered music and I discovered painting. I have a thing about myself—it is not arrogance, it is that I am confident in my ability to continue to attempt work. And I am also disturbed that people do things and expect you to roll over and play dead. I don’t talk of serious things to certain people anymore. The cure for cancer may come from some poor kid in Harlem who at the present time is unable to even finish high school. We take incredible chances on whom we select to pay attention to. Every mind is important. Man is the only animal who can deal systematically with abstract thought. I firmly believe that if people will allow themselves to become feelingly educated, so that things that are openly painful can be honestly discussed, then this could be the way out of the morass.