After years of presenting DIY electronics workshops in on the Eastern seaboard, the good folks at VauxFlores are finally coming west to teach a workshop in Oakland – and what a workshop it will be!
Introducing the DOSwave – a pedal so new and potentially extreme that we haven’t even figured out the artwork to best reflect its character, hence the SmartMedia Card lovingly epoxied to the box – because when all else fails, obsolete media and industrial adhesive will always be there for you. But what’s it do other than deplete my supply of epoxy and declutter my potentially inexhaustible supply of random things floating around the house? I guess that’s a subject of debate. On paper, it was designed to be a spiritual successor of sorts to two previous VF boxes – the 23, which as a funky, feedback-laden octave up ordeal and the MossWave, which was an attempt to harness the wackiness of digital logic chips on the most analog way possible. Did I succeed? To be honest, I’m not sure – this box definitely tips the hat to both, but its less of a child of the two and more of a lab-grown mutant created from a swab of goo left behind after some sort of paranormal disintegration event. It is in short, pretty zesty.
But again, what’s it do? For those that don’t make musical purchases based on theoretical science fiction scenarios, it’s a high-gain, modulation effect that is able to provide pseudo tremolo chirps, metallic ring tones and high-frequency squeals all with the turn of a knob. Even better, the gain stage is voiced in such a way that goes from a subtle sizzle to full-on howling insanity for that part of your anthemic breakdown where all goes crazy right before the bridge. Because we all need that. Even better, it does all this courtesy of a digital inverter chip and another chip that was originally intended to be a telephone ringer. Is it transparent? Nope. Does it let your tone blossom and shine through? Oh hell no. Is it a clone of some random circuit used by one of those legendary rock gods we’ve all been raised to admire? If it is, it wasn’t on this planet. What it is, however, is a whole boatload of fun and even better, the only current way you can obtain one is by building it yourself under our kind guidance.
Interested? Intrigued? Involuntarily salivating with no explanation why? Here’s the skinny:
The workshop will go from 1 PM – 4 PM and all materials will be provided. No prior electronics experience is needed and yes, you get to keep the pedal at the end of the workshop. Price is $100 and we recommend bringing a guitar or any other amplified goodies you might want to plug into your pedal for jamming and socializing once complete. As with previous VF workshops, we strive to keep the atmosphere casual, informative and friendly – so feel free to bring a snack and a story and hopefully, we’ll all leave as buddies at the end of the day. For this workshop, attendance will be limited to 10 and a small VauxFlores pop-up shop will also be on-site for anyone interested in nabbing a box without having to solder it themselves.
About Travis Johns
Travis Johns is a sound artist residing in Ithaca, NY, whose work includes performance, installation and printmaking, often incorporating electronic instruments of his own design. Active in the San Francisco Bay Area experimental music scene for several years, Johns moved to Costa Rica in 2011 where he collaborated extensively with visual artist Paulina Velazquez-Solis on Raro, an immersive sound and sculpture installation that represented Costa Rica in the 2013 Biennial of the Central American Isthmus (BAVIC). Since returning to the states, first to Baltimore and later to Ithaca, he’s continued to apply his trade as a composer, educator, sound artist and builder of esoteric audio devices under the nom de plume of VauxFlores – with clientele and collaborators ranging from improvisers, noise musicians and contemporary artists to winners of multiple Grammy and Academy awards. To date, his instruments, artwork and devices have made their way to four continents and his work has been reviewed by critics as diverse as correspondents for the Guggenheim to Guitar Player Magazine.
He holds a B.M. In Technology in Music and Related Arts from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, studies conducted with Tom Lopez, as well as an MFA from Mills College in Electronic Music and Recording Media, studies conducted with Chris Brown, Les Stuck and Hilda Paredes. He has participated in residencies at such places as the Atlantic Center for the Arts and RPI’s Create @ iEar, and has had work featured by el Museo Centroamericano de Arte Video (MUCEVI), the Electronic Music Foundation, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), the Bienarte 8 Costa Rican Biennial, el Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, MAC Panama, The California Academy of Sciences, Alianza Francesa de Guatemala, The Lab (San Francisco), Battery Townsley(Marin County, Ca) and Rhizome DC (Washington DC).