This is kinda fascinating… I’ve read before of projects converting light into sound, but those were primarily for creative reasons… The Optophone was created in the 1920s to help blind people read, by scanning text and converting it into… well… I’ll let you be the judge – skip to 3’55” to skip the lecture and hear it in operation:

More info at How We Read: A Sensory History of Books for Blind People



Was just feeling nostalgic for such incredible Japanese food as I enjoyed on my recent trip & thought I would share a few things I picked up along the way…. When lunch looks like this, the idea of returning home starts to make me feel a little anti-homesick


One coping mechanism in the past has been to make a note of what I really enjoy, and to research how I might be able to make it myself at home… And one important factor in many Japanese food is rice.
I’ve owned a rice cooker for many years, but it was just a normal rice cooker – it worked ok for normal rice, like you might have with a curry, but for sushi rice it was always a bit lacking… And if you’ve watched the great doco Jiro Dreams of Sushi you will know what an art cooking rice is in Japan so I started doing some research.
First stop was Yodobashi where they had a huge selection, but I noticed they were all 110V only… after asking one of the staff I was directed to the export models (in a totally different section) and after much discussion and research settled on this model: Yojirushi NP-HIH10


The cost was Y37,000 (=US$325) and I freighted it off home via EMS, paid a little duty & GST when it arrived in NZ, and its been frankly awesome! It has about ten different settings, depending on the kind of rice.
Using the sushi setting it took about 45 minutes to cook a cup of rice, and once cooked it was super sticky, almost forming balls for nigiri straight away. I was surprised by the time involved, but after a few more uses discovered it doesn’t vary eg half a cup took the same amount of time. But maybe this isn’t surprising as it heats up slowly, and cooks the rice under pressure – a far more sophisticated method than my old rice cooker. I’ve since cooked normal white rice and it came out very light & fluffy, so all & all a very worthwhile upgrade!

Next mission was to make these salmon sushi


Many times I’ve watched sushi chef use those small gas burners to lightly blast salmon, the same gas burner that is presumably used for making creme brulee… so it wasn’t hard to find a similar burner at local foodie supermarket Moore Wilsons. And it is unreal how the flavour changes, with even a very quick blast – oishi!

Next on my agenda was to find a source & method of making ice tea. Since I was in Japan in summer and often lugging lots of equipment around with me, staying hydrated was a challenge and after much research the best solution that I liked was ice Jasmine tea.


Apart from buying it at Combinis the times I really noticed how great it was, was when having ramen where they always had a jug available full of ice. And it wasn’t that the flavour was strong, quite the opposite – many ice tea have an after taste that I dont really like. But weak jasmine ice tea was just perfect, so I did a bit of shopping in Japan and bought a few packs of Jasmine tea bags, but then had to do some research as to the best way to cold brew it.

Turns out the solution was ex Australia and a company called T2 who along with many flavorus of tea, also sell these very handy ice tea jugs which work with tea bags or loose tea leaves…


I leave 2 tea bags in the big T2 jug for about 8 hours and the result is the perfect summer drink!


One food I cannot find locally is hotate – we have scallops in New Zealand, but they just are not like the Japanese variety… oh well, cant win them all!


I love clam miso soup, and plan to try an experiment using local clams (& maybe mussels) with miso..


I also bought a few soy holders but never found a soy jug as cute as this one – love its form


Last food photo makes me laugh… it was taken about 10pm the night we camped out on the shore of Lake Biwa. Along with a tent etc we rented a charcoal BBQ which took quite a while to get going, due to simultaneous wind, light rain, and too many beers… As some of the yakitori we bought was chicken, I was very keen to make sure it was very well cooked… hence not eating until 10pm…


The small spicy sausages were also delicious, and we kept most of them to eat for breakfast… But I was woken in the middle of the night by our tent rustling and only woke enough to make a noise & scare away whatever it was… Not soon enough to save our leftovers though! I hope the cat, or whatever it was enjoyed them!



check these big


LED lights ex Akihabara, diffracted through vintage glass
shot with Sony a6300 1080 at 120fps, with Canon EF100L macro lens & Metabones Speed Booster…

TriX Ikeda













Contax T2 + TriX + Ryoji Ikeda at www Shibuya

Frankly surprised to see anything from these shots!

AHC vinyl



I can remember the first time I heard African Head Charge like it was yesterday, but it was in a dodgy Tuam St flat in Christchurch in the mid 1980s, thanks to a flatmate Shaun who was at Ilam Fine Arts School…

I couldn’t assimiliate it at first, but could see a connection to Byrne & Enos Bush of Ghosts… Those first 4 albums have stood the test of time, still as deeply effecting now as they were then…

Can’t wait to crank up this new LP!

my first robo jam


next step: get better stands to hold the Polyend PERC beaters, positioning is crucial!


After the recent earthquake a number of buildings in central Wellington were declared unsafe & Monday this week demolition started on an office building at 61 Molesworth street…


Rather than blow it up, or implode it, this building is being deconstructed by a machine that is like a cross between a transforminator and an insect. Using an extended claw it nibbles away at parts of the building


On Monday it was a bit windy, so having found a good location to record from I went back yesterday, Tuesday and also took my 100-400mm lens…


Apart from recording it was kinda fun just hanging out, it felt a bit like a sports event with random people stopping to watch… and a few media people shooting it…

At times it made slow progress – the whole process is estimated to take two weeks, but occasionally it gets dramatic – I had to stop myself cheering when that big claw took out a whole wall of glass! Great sounds, both from the impact & the rain of debris…

This will make an unexpected addition to my HISSandaROAR INDUSTRIAL Ambiences library due for release early next year – I recorded about 2 hours worth from my two visits, but will go back a few more times to see how much variation there is as it comes down…


Sugoi!! Super happy to have finally bought a device I’ve been hunting for, for over a year! The VOCU VTE2000 is a tape echo with one special feature that none of the Roland or Korg tape echos have:
a pedal/cv input for echo/tape speed!



Like my Fuji TX2 I have somehow lucked in again, buying a device that is 20+ years old but has hardly been used. The seller said this had been used less than 20 hours total, and looking at the head & roller it would seem to be true!



The parent company are interesting, VOCU now primarily make power supplies for guitar pedals and apparently ceased making tape echos due to access to parts. But the website for this model & the VTE1600 are still online, have a look here for the VTE2000, which lists the new price as ¥59,800 = USD$529. Shame they aren’t still made as there would be plenty of demand for them… Page for VTE1600 here (They did sell the VTE2000 outside Japan as HIWATT Custom Tape Echo CTE2000) There is a link to a PDF of the VTE2000 manual in Japanese here

A few google translations from that site:

– Control of echo time by the expression pedal, such as loop recording function, packed with unique features not found in conventional machines.

– Foot switch: Echo on / off, recording on / off

– The longest echo time about 2000ms.

– Head configuration: Erase × 1, recording × 1, short echo playback × 1, Long echo playback × 1

A side note: if you are into film cameras the you probably know of Japan Camera Hunter who is based in Tokyo & will source film cameras to request.. Current stock is listed here (check the Nikkor fisheye lens!! and the xPan 2 full set)

Wouldn’t it be great if someone did the same service for synths & outboard gear, especially devices like this VOCU tape echo that you very rarely see outside Japan…

Heres some (slightly wacky) sounds from one (not my vid)

update: wow – just found a second one from the same source!!

update: put the manual through google translate, english version here

update: english manual for the HiWatt version here