M0DULATOR is an application for the iPhone and iPad that processes audio from the microphone and creates a small sound environment in real time. The application is released in iTunes[1] as an artwork. The work is intended as an exploration in understanding sense perception through the medium of the iPhone/iPad. By using one mode of human perception (sound/hearing) and mixing it with another (touch/tactility), the work is an exploration in the way, we as humans perceive the world.

photo credit: Kevin Todora/Dallas Contemporary

Based on realtime feedback, the device records audio through the built in microphone, process the signal with software based signal processing, and outputs that signal to the devices speakers. Andrew Blanton built the app in it's entirety working with the Novocaine library[2] as well as LibPd[3]. The initial prototype for the instrument was built at STEIM[4] in Amsterdam, Netherlands, while Andrew was in residence there. Based on historic prototypes housed at STEIM, the interface as well as signal processing architecture for M0DULATOR was inspired by matrix synthesizers[5]. This is why the app has a grid layout for the interface and reflects the underlying structure of combining different processes including microphone input, sensor input including pitch bend and yaw data, and tone synthesis as well as processing.

Historically, the use of sound as a medium has been a major influence on the creation of this application. Inspired by the Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano[6] as well as the improvisatory works[7] of John Cage[8] M0DULATOR is intended to question what can be reappropriated for the creation of music. As well, works such as Dream House by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela[9], and I am sitting in a room by Alvan Lucier[10] further inspired the use of sound as a physical phenomena that can be interacted with.

This application is both a platform for further exploration as well as a sound work and composition in it's own right. The piece has a specific composition written for the platform and is frequently used as an sound instlation including venues such as San Jose State University[11], The Dallas Contemporary[12], and TriTriangle Chicago[13] among others. Other artist and musicians are encouraged to explore the possibilities of the application as well and the work is frequently reappropriated for other artistic explorations.

Please contact Andrew Blanton: andrew[at]andrewblanton[dot]com if you are interested in the software, score, or performance of this work.



[1] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/m0dulator/id817900978?mt=8

[2] http://alexbw.github.io/novocaine/

[3] http://libpd.cc/

[4] http://steim.org/

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMS_VCS_3

[6] http://www.allmusic.com/composition/sonatas-and-interludes-for-prepared-piano-mc0002391384

[7] Dean, Roger, and Hazel Smith. Improvisation Hypermedia and the Arts since 1945. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013. 1-24.

[8] http://johncage.org/

[9] http://www.melafoundation.org/dream02.htm

[10] http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2015/01/20/collecting-alvin-luciers-i-am-sitting-in-a-room/

[11] Natalie & James Thompson Gallery at San Jose State University

[12] http://tritriangle.net/

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