The skrtZz pen (2003) is a great instrument for audio-visual performances. This software turns a Wacom pen and tablet into an video scratch tool with real-time audio-visual effects. I used it for many performances and did a small tour in the Netherlands with the skrtZz pen together with DJ Eni-Less.
The skrtZz pen was the first instrument I created that felt like a real instrument. Great for improvisation and just plain fun. The pen showed me that the time was ripe to build complex audio-visual tools like the SenSorSuit 2.0 en SenS. In the Gedoe of Gedaan en Verknipt projects I translated the skrtZz pen concept to my SenSorSuit.
Pitch amount, loop length and play position of a video sample are mapped to the pen. Pressing the button on the pen changes pitch amount and loop length to audio-visual effects parameters. Audio-visual effects are selected with the buttons of the laptop keyboard. This keyboard is also used to trigger videos rhythmically. This way, skrtZz-ing and live video drumming can be done simultaneously.
Competing in the national scratch championship
In December 2003 I decided to put my skrtZz skills to the test and entered the Dutch national scratch competition Turntablized. They accepted me and I received an invitation soon. When I asked them who to contact to discuss the video check, I got a confused email back, asking me if I understood what the Turntablized competition was about. I answered that I knew very well what Turntablized was about and that I was entering with my skrtZz pen. Unfortunately they cancelled my participation. But they invited me to do a showcase. That was cool anyway, but I rather had battled the DJ’s.
Tour with DJ Eni-Less
To prove the concept I did several performances with turntablist DJ Eni-LeSs in the Netherlands. In these performances we battled each other. Classic vinyl scratching versus audio-visual skrtZz-ing. We showed different scratch/skrtZz techniques and took turns doing solos. Sometimes we were joined by a video drummer. The skrtZz pen was also part of the Interface Band performances.
@All About Festival
Produced and developed by:
- Jeroen Hofs
- Aart Muis