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One of the problems of being a freelance artist is that you end up thinking about your work almost all the time. Even more so because we share work together with Kana we tend to amplify each other’s pressure to just work constantly.

I decided some time ago that I would like to look for a hobby to keep my mind off work related things.

Since drawing and painting are basically what I do almost all the time as my main form of expressing myself I wanted something different.

Of course, there are things like walking to keep healthy but I also fancied something that I can do with my hands that ideally would not require straining my eyes all the time looking at a screen or things like small text.

Over the years, I tried some music instruments (guitar, ukulele) but as much as I enjoy making noises I’m not really good at playing them and I didn’t feel like learning to get better so I looked for something different still.

I tried using my iPad Pro with music making apps, and it was an interesting and fun experience! The problem was that I tend to get lost in the complicated interface and it takes me a long time and a lot of screen gazing to get anything started. I decided that I needed something more tactile, with buttons and knobs and more simplicity!

Pocket operator po33

And so comes in the pocket operator po33 K.O! from Teenage Engineering. A small sampler and sequencer that allows you to turn any kind of sound into a simple beat (and even more complicated songs or live performances if you try harder).

It checks OK most of my requirements:

  • It’s fun to use!
  • It’s battery operated so I can play with it anywhere.
  • I can use headphones so I’m not disturbing anyone at home or even riding a train (though it attracts some curious looks).
  • The screen shows some useful information but I don’t have to look at it intently for hours to have some fun.
  • And if I get bored with how it sounds I can simply erase the stored instruments and record something from my surroundings, myself, Kana’s voice, radio, anything really and start anew!

I’m not going to be making music, and I’m not trying to. I just want to have something fun to do without thinking. Something that I can enjoy without having the pressure to get better every time. I also have a lot of fun learning new things and this is a land unexplored! And who knows, maybe it will add back into my art activities - most of the things that I enjoyed did, in the end.

OK, so here are some of my first attempts at making a sound with the K.O!, be aware the sounds are disturbing ;)

File 01
File 02

And some videos that can show you how it’s done properly:

https://youtu.be/RnF1md-xxTc

https://youtu.be/T1841FR_eE8