Electronic Orchestra Charlottenburg

One of the most fun and awesome projects of the past two years (but most likely ever actually) has been the Electronic Orchestra Charlottenburg (EOC). It's an endeavor, that started in 2017 at the Electronic Music Studio of Technical University of Berlin thanks to the efforts of Henrik von Coler, who is doing a great deal of work in the field of electronic music, spatialization and composition.

Some key factors turn the EOC into something special (IMHO):

  • it (usually) consists of electronic and electro-acoustic musicians (e.g. modular synthesizers, DIY hardware, tape, etc.) of different genres

  • its sound is spread out over multi-channel systems (e.g. 12 loudspeakers in a circular setup), using spatial rendering techniques such as ambisonics

  • it makes use of graphic notation

So far it has been immense fun (but also a lot of work) to be part of the EOC and I'm looking forward to (at least) two more concerts this year!

If you're interested, check out the live page or subscribe to the RSS feed. There are also many pictures and binaural recordings up already. Put your headphones on and enjoy!

Securely serving webapps using uWSGI

Ever since I have been running my own Arch Linux box to serve my services, I used nginx in conjunction with uWSGI.
So instead of using php-fpm and be limited to just PHP, I can use a single application server to do all of them (CGI, Python, PHP and even the stuff I don't use, such as Ruby Rack, Mono, Java, Lua, Perl, WebDAV). They are all separately installable as plugins.
Static sites, such as this, default to being served by nginx directly of course.
Over time I found uWSGI to be a very versatile and powerful piece of software that has many advantages (over e.g. Apache):
  • socket activation

  • webapp encapsulation and jailing

  • self-healing

  • being able to separetely manage services

  • exit after idle

I'll explain the services I use (MantisBT, roundcube, ownCloud, Mailman, Stikked, Wordpress, Postfixadmin, phpMyAdmin, cgit, MediaWiki, Etherpad ) along with configuration examples and their possible pitfalls.
In my last post about Let's Encrypt I already showed some examples on how to configure nginx for the use with uWSGI. Let's jump right in.

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Let's encrypt it all

For a couple of months now I have been using Let's Encrypt to generate free and valid certificates for all the services I run.
In many places the free Certificate Authority (short CA) has spread like wild-fire. From small to large scale services, many adopted it and the amount of issued certificates has grown over 1 million in just four months.
As a visitor to this website you have probably noticed the small green lock sign next to the address bar. The certificate used for this website is accepted to be valid by your browser (and also by your operating system).
If you're up for some background knowledge, just read on. If you're up for some hands-on technical stuff, jump right on to the howto.
Just note: This is a veeeeeeery long article in any case.

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Darmstadt 2016

Summer courses

In its 48th edition, the International Summer Courses for New Music were taking place in Darmstadt this year with a wide program.
Initiated just after World War II by Wolfgang Steinecke (then head of Department of Arts and Culture, in a city that was pretty much completely destroyed during the war), the Darmstadt School has risen to glory not only because of its famous seminarists such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, but mainly because of its diversity, international flavor and rehabilitation of art that was tainted by the Third Reich.
I am happy to have been a part of this year's spectacle, although I didn't really see much aside from the rehearsals and premiere of the piece I came to help establish: Tolerance Stacks by Annesley Black.

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Linux Audio Conference 2016

The conference

The Linux Audio Conference is actually a quite old concept by now. Started as a small Linux Audio user group meeting at LinuxTag back in 2002, the conference more and more developed into a multi-national event, thanks to people such as Frank Neumann (who by the way initially had a "hacker meeting" in mind) and places like the ZKM.
As more universities hosted it, its academic side strengthened, leading to proper proceedings, paper and poster presentations.
Generally speaking it has also always been a place to present software, do workshops to show people how to use software and try it out - suited for developers, users and interested alike!
Another nice aspect that evolved over the years is the concept of the "Linux Sound Night", giving the stage to the artists to present their pieces or perform live.
There's obviously a lot more to the history of the Linux Audio Conference (which is no wonder after such a long time!), than I could elaborate on.
By now the LAC has taken place in many different countries: Germany, Australia, Italy, The Netherlands, Ireland, USA and Austria.

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Modular Synth Selbstbau Workshop

In the beginning there was one

Last year, when I started building Eurorack, what eventually took it's peak of craziness in building my own suitcase, I got to know the great folks at Befaco, a Spanish group of friends that started designing and eventually selling their own modules.
Back then, the NK still existed as a venue and it was host to many concerts alongside the DIY workshops of Befaco (taken care of by Florian Hanisch).
When it closed down, I had already spent some time at c-base and found it to be a great place for synthesizer workshops (I mean, what better place for synths is there, but a space station? Well, maybe cats and synthesizers at a space station!).

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Extended longevity of a HTC One S using Cyanogenmod

The mobile

I own a quite old - at least by today's standards of planned obsolescence for every consumer device - HTC One S (2012), that won't be receiving any more Android upgrades (last update: version 4.0.4) or support by its manufacturer directly or any distributor for that matter.
It's quite a nice, small and lightweight phone, that by now has seen the world and besides a self-administered chassis change hasn't yielded any serious problems.
The phone doesn't have much RAM or much space. Neither does it have a microSD card slot, NFC or other fancy new stuff that people seem to need.

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Donaueschingen 2015

The festival

Due to a fortunate contact through the Electronic Studio of TU Berlin I went to Donaueschinger Musiktage 2015 being the robot kindergarten worker for Orm Finnendahl's piece AST at most likely the "New Music" festival worldwide.
The festival is curated and organized by the SWR (a regional public broadcasting station serving the southwest of Germany). Traditionally it is held in Donaueschingen, a small town in Baden-Württemberg.
As it is a highly publicly subsidized event and genre of music that is presented there, the whole festival is quite an interesting and diverse place to be in.
An additionally very interesting aspect is, that all pieces presented are premieres!
That being said, I didn't have that much time to watch other pieces, but I made it to those two: The dress rehearsal of Michael Beil's "Bluff" (incredible timing!) and Olga Neuwirth's "Le Encantadas o le avventure nel mare delle meraviglie" (literally big production).
The latter made me miss my train on the way back (which was okay, because I ended up with parts of Ensemble Mosaik).

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