For the appeasement of the highlighter:


So for those that know me in the real world, you’ve probably noticed that I’m all about to-do lists and multi-colored highlighters. Ok – a quick proviso – the multi-colored aspect of this obsession with crossing things off a list has no organizational bias. Purple doesn’t mean financial accomplishment or anything like that (though maybe it should – will get back to you on that). At the moment, its strictly aesthetic – make pretty colored paper to look good while also exemplifying the general idea that you’re a high-functioning human – or at the very least give yourself something to do and remind yourself of your higher pursuits during those lulls at the office. Not to say that I’m not high-functioning there as well, but hey, we all have those moments. At at this moment, several of these moments have been exemplified by the ongoing pursuit of retiring more and more of the past products that I’ve carved out of the usual industrial supplies over the last decade or so. In all, its been pretty beneficial – providing closure, allowing me to focus on new projects and indirectly, forming a narrative on where I am at the moment and how I managed to get here. That said, today we reflect on the Eyecillator.

So for those who read these things and not just look at SEO-provided eye candy on the various aggregate sites, I half-provided the story on how the Little Furry Oscillators came to be. To summarize, I was freshly back in this country, broke as a joke (a recurring story in the meta-narative), and only able to afford the most basic of components, though also in possession of a fair amount of faux fur due spending nearly two years touring with the Raro installation. So in order to raise some capital, pay a bill or two and source some materials for larger boxes, I made a couple silly opto-synths and glued fur to them with my favorite industrial substance, 3M 77 (which, if they have an artist grant or residency, please nominate me – or at the very least, sponsor me like some skateboard kid from the ’90’s). This was before the “boutique pedal boom,” as a former coworker from Baltimore described the general scene of things over the weekend, so the were slow to sell, but they eventually found homes and I got a trickle of cash in my pockets. Yay, lucky me.

Fast forward a year to mid-2014. We’d just moved to Baltimore to a small one-bedroom with no lawn, balcony or other form of personal outdoor space. Cross-ventilation in the apartment was pretty nonexistent and we were also pregnant. So the notion of using industrial adhesive was a floored motion. Not to mention that the lions share of the fur was also in Costa Rica. And as much as I’d like to go to town with spray cans in the alley, the crazy lady who spent most of her day chain-smoking in her bathroom across the way would probably call the cops on me for looking suspicious and a migrating addict would probably scoop up the boxes while staggering through. I doubt there would be any malice in said imagined act, but hey, slow moving object attracted to shiny things and these shiny things are covered in permanent glue. So the design need to be modified a tad to compensate. To do so, Pau carved a pretty awesome lino cut of an eye with an oscilloscope in the center and I finally got to use the embossing powder that’s lived in my parents basement since I was in Cub Scouts. The result was a semi-rubberized logo on unfinished metal – and inadvertently a lower cost of production that having to source fur and glue. And a faster turnaround. Topping things off, I added a simple CV output to the synth that mostly worked (with voltages centering around 0-7 V – good for filters and other Eurorack applications) and priced it under $50 – making it one of the cheapest fully-functional synths on the market that could interface with Euro stuff. In time, I also released a “deluxe” version, as well as a “double” version and all said, these guys sold fairly well. A rough count has about 50 or so out in the wild. Not much by production standards, but cool to think that every single one was hand-made at my desk during Xime’s infant nap-cycles. Plus it got a Harmony Central review and was listed on one of Reverb’s cool-product lists. I’m actually not sure if either of those things exist anymore, but it was a pretty cool indication at the time that I was fighting the good fight.

So what happened? Things just kind of evolved and free time became less available and increasingly sacred. The last ones were made as Christmas presents for VauxFlores Industrial artists, with a select few also serving as the basis of a workshop at Rhizome in Washington DC. The remaining circuitboards were used as the brains of the Orden Natural synths that were exhibited in Oberlin and Washington – and later incorporated into my live rig before being replaced by new brains used in our show in Ithaca, as well as in the 2018 Sonic Circuits Festival. There was also a “mega-eyecillator” produced that’s currently hanging on my “wall of fame” at home, but that’s a story for another day. In the meantime, I think its safe to say that even though the influence of the Eyecillator is still felt in some of current work, the commercial Eyecillator as it was known is now officially  dead. Long live the Eyecillator. Tomorrow morning, someone’s breaking out the highlighters.

~ by vauxflores on October 3, 2018.