Todd Thille Blog

Derivative - three years on

Crossed paths again with Derivative, this time in Los Angeles, hosting the March LA-VA meeting. Their Touch Designer software continues to improve each time I look in on it. Sadly their OS X port has stalled over an impasse with the OpenGL drivers that Apple supplies.

Touch Designer with Ableton Live

Jarrett Smith showed off connecting Touch Designer to Ableton Live via Max for Live.


Greg Hermanovic demoed the latest iteration of his MIXXA project.

MIXXA plumbing

MIXXA plumbing

Mind Meld IV

Mind Meld IV - boys

Steve Nalepa, Gardner Post, Brian Kane, David Lublin, Josh Randall

After a two year hiatus, the Mind Meld returned to Dragonline Studios for a long weekend of audio-visual nerdiness. The original crew of Duncan Laurie, Gordon Salisbury, Steve Nalepa, Josh Randall, David Lublin, Terry Golub, Michele Darling, and Brian Kane were joined by new additions included Gardner Post, John Laraio and Virtual Boy. Vacuum tube amp specialist Henry Platt also dropped by a few times. Sonic Charge’s Synplant synthesizer got a major workout.

Mind Meld IV - Korg Kouch

Josh, Michele and Terry working the Korgs

Mind Meld IV - Duncan Laurie

Duncan talking about the IBVA.

Göbekli Tepe

Göbekli Tepe (Enclosure C)

As part of a week-long tour of south-eastern Türkiye this Spring, I visited the archaeologic site at Göbekli Tepe, near Şanlıurfa. The site is currently the first example of monumental architecture and oldest know religious center. Starting from 9600 B.C., the site pre-dates the Great Pyramid of Giza by 700 years.

The site is featured as the cover story of the June issue of National Geographic magazine in the U.S. Charles Mann’s insightful article is available online in it’s entirety at The Birth of Religion.

Modul8 meetup

Ilan Katin was in Venice, CA representing GarageCube for a Modul8 meetup. He was showing off the soon to be released MadMapper and Tagtool. I spent the first part of the meeting getting Tagtool up and running under BootCamp on a MacBook. Good times!


MadMapper setup.


MadMapper setup.

Ilan Katin

Ilan working the crowd.

TagTool and MadMapper

TagTool and MadMapper

TagTool and MadMapper output

TagTool and MadMapper output

TagTool and MadMapper output

TagTool and MadMapper output

Plant Vacation

Phalaenopsis @ Plant Vacation

We brought our Phalaenopsis down to the Aramnd Hammer Museum at UCLA for a month-long Plant Vacation. While being pampered on the West Side, our orchid will be presented with weekly music performances, poetry readings, historical accounts of botanical exploration, psychic healings, and a midnight ‘no humans allowed’ plant pornography screening.

Plant Vacation @ Armand Hammer Museum


Loremify screenshot

Loremify / Tobias Bjerrome Ahlin: “Loremify is a one-click tool to copy Lorem Ipsum. It lets you wrap in html, specify the amount of text, and copy it to your clipboard—all in one click. It runs as a Dashboard Widget in Mac OS X, and is a mere 400kb download.”

Not usually a big fan of Apple’s Dashboard Widgets, but this one is super slick. Mouse over any of the buttons to activate them and change their associated properties on the fly — TNT

(Via Well-Placed Pixels)

Migration to Drupal 6

Have gotten all of the presence at onto Drupal 6. The upgrade from Drupal 5 took place a month ago, with a further design update a couple of weeks past. A Movable Type blog has been assimilated via the Import Typepad module ( a working patched version for Drupal 6 is at node/320335 ). Some fancy .htaccess redirects will keep everything ‘found.’

All-in-all, the process has been pain-free with no mishaps or data loss along the way. The newly upgraded and unified platform will be easier to maintain and work with. Look forward to greater frequency of posting.

The Secret Art - off to print

The Secret Art

A thoroughly revised and updated version of Duncan Laurie’s book on radionics and the arts has been submitted to the printer today.

The previously titled “A SHORT HISTORY OF RADIONICS: INSIGHTS FOR ARTISTS WORKING WITH SUBTLE ENERGY” is re-dubbed “The Secret Art: A Brief History of Radionic Technology for the Creative Individual.

The manuscript finally being produced in physical form has been a herculean effort undertaken at the behest of Patrick Huyghe of Anomalist Books. The text and illustrations have taken shape over the past year through the direct labors of Duncan, Patrick, Mike Bossick, Jessica Paulk and myself. I have also had the pleasure of designing the interior and cover.


Nalepa Flatlands released


Steve Nalepa’s 5-years-in-the-making, ambient glitch dub album, Flatlands, sees a commercial release on 1320records. The digital only bundle contains the original 10 track album along with a 15 track remix album and 10 full-res music videos.

Remixers include Nosaj Thing, The Glitch Mob, Ruxpin, Deru, Slidecamp, [a]pendics.shuffle, David Last, RD, Heyoka, Kero, Rena Jones, Kraddy, Aerostatic and Bluetech.

The videos feature a collection of stunning, groundbreaking work by an all-star cast of luminaries including Benton-C Bainbridge & David Last, Thomas Williams, Brian Ziffer, Brian Kane, Johnny Dekam, Christina McPhee, Arrow One, and Todd Thille.

Getting back in(to) TouchDesigner

Greg Hermanovic with Markus Heckmann
[ Greg Hermanovic demonstrates TouchDesigner 077 with Markus Heckmann ]

Greg Hermanovic of Prisms and Houdini fame was in Berlin for performances with Raster-Noton artists at Club Transmediale. Friend fALk Gärtner had been tipped off that Greg would be around and invited him to talk at the weekly Visual Berlin meeting.

One of Greg’s passions is for live visuals, which he founded Derivative Inc. to make software for. The result was the TouchDesigner platform. Based on Houdini, TouchDesigner has been around since 2000. I used it from 2003-2006 before I got rid of my dedicated Windows hardware.

Greg Hermanovic's Mixxa synth
[ The Mixxa interface. Everything is 2 clicks away ]

Greg and Markus Heckmann showed off the newest iteration, TouchDesigner 077. The software has come a long way in the last two years. Greg’s interim project, Mixxa, a “video mixer for drunk VJs” was built with the new generation of TouchDesigner. All of the controls are designed to be only two clicks away.

TouchDesigner Interface
[ Down the rabbit hole. The recursive TouchDesigner interface. ]

Markus demonstrated the power of the engine running behind the scenes. All of the interface objects are built within TouchDesigner, allowing the controls to be zoomed in recursively to the lowest level. Signal flow paths along with visualization of audio waveforms and visual previews are available at a level unheard of in other live software packages. Of course the system requirements of an NVIDIA graphics card with 512MB of video RAM go a long way toward allowing this magic.

A free for non-commercial use version of TouchDesigner, the “Free Thinking Environment” is available for Windows XP and Vista. Greg announced that a Mac port of TouchDesigner had begun, based on the success of the Houdini port last year. Components built with TouchDesigner can be exchanged with other users in the native .tox format.