Spotted by Mad Zach over the weekend is a patchbay controller that’s been prototyped for the past three years that allow its users to connect computer programs with a analog-style interface. Dubbed Illucia, the controller is an aluminium case with 16 jacks, 6 knobs and a smattering of buttons, knobs, and switches as well, all of which can send OSC signals to any computer software that will accept them.
We decided to feature our favorite video from Illucia’s Vimeo channel, which uses the controller to build step sequencer patterns with a Tetris clone. Read the full description after the video below.
Life Sequencer is a game in the illucia suite – it uses falling blocks to build step sequencer patterns (it is also remixable by Conway’s Game of Life). Also, it doesn’t actually make any sound – it just makes data using OSC. You can then take that data and send it to any computer programs… like Ableton Live or Max.
Behind the scenes (not shown in the video), Ableton and Max have some audio samplers running. As I play Life Sequencer, it builds step sequencer patterns. I then patch the data from the step sequencer into the music samplers (so that the sample playhead moves around based on the block patterns in the game). I use cables to select and layer samples, and then I speed up the playback and audio pitch with illucia’s knobs. Eventually I patch in some sample rate reduction (and a special glitchy mode on Life Sequencer) right as I trigger the Conway’s Game of Life pattern remixer. The Conway algorithm eats through most of the existing blocks, and then I start placing more blocks to build a new pattern. The illucia patchbay then becomes a physical controller for exploring these strange connections & reconsidering the inner lives of computer programs.
The Illucia controllers were a limited run of just 8 units, but there’s a new batch underway next month. Try to grab one here on the official Illucia website.