Sampolin Jam (2011) is an improvisation with composer performer Nate Bliton. Each of us plays our own invented computer musical instrument controllers: the Sampolin and the Bovalve.
Sampolin is inspired by Laurie Anderson’s Tape-bow Violin. It is a digital implementation that plays back pre-recorded samples at a rate and in a direction determined by the bow speed and direction of the performer. Unlike Anderson’s analog electronic instrument, the Sampolin can change samples quickly and even play multiple samples together by using buttons on the fingerboard of the instrument. There are also built-in controls for digital signal processing effects. Bliton’s Bovalve combines the fluid expressivity of a bowing motion in the right hand with the simple valves-and-overtone system of a brass instrument in the left hand.
Inside the violin body, the Sampolin is controlled primarily by an Arduino Mega, which controls a Pure Data patch. In this recording, notable samples include Milton Babbitt asking about hip hop music “What is all this scratching of records?” and I’ve Got a Secret host Garry Moore telling John Cage “I’m with you, boy! Let’s see this instrument!”