Posts Tagged ‘circuit bending’

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Music Hack Day Boston: the art of noise

November 25, 2009

I promised myself that I would actually make something at Music Hack Day Boston, not just hang out while other people made stuff. So I signed up for circuit bender Jimmie Rodgers‘s newbie workshop on making an Atari Punk Console, a simple synthesizer that Jimmie designed and has made available as a kit. It uses a two-up timing chip to drive a speaker which, when tweaked with a pair of potentiometers, makes some very fun electronic squeals. The whole circuit fits into an Altoids tin.

So, while all the real hackers got going on their projects, I settled myself down with a kit and a soldering iron, surrounded by a tableful of kindred spirits. Three of the fastest hours of my life later, I found myself delightedly pushing buttons and turning knobs to¬† make weird noises come out of my circuit. It was fantastic to reconnect with the pleasure of actually building something and having it work (that’s my handmade synth in the picture above).

I also discovered a new measure of awesomeness in teaching, one that’s so much better than the standard end-of-course evaluations: a whole bunch of Jimmie’s students (myself included) bought him drinks that night at the Echo Nestival.

You can look through a photo gallery, listen to Jimmie talk about circuit bending, and hear some of the great sounds in this piece for NHPR.

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Neophile: Ten Minute Turns

March 18, 2009

tmt

One of the most intriguing bands on the MPress Records sampler CD is Ten Minute Turns, out of Brooklyn. Following in the long tradition of rock bands birthed at art schools, principals Roger Mason and Alan Foreman met while at RISD. Their sound occupies the middle ground between guitar-driven indie pop and the electro sounds of bands like Cut Copy; evident in, for example, the slightly-vocodered vocals on “Aluminum Shine,” of their sophomore full-length, Leaving Robot City. The driving rhythms are accented by horns and accordion, and the resultant songs range from gently melacholic (“Somethin’ That I Don’t Know”) to out-and-out stompers (“Sad Animals,” from the EP of the same name). Plus, any band gets bonus points from me for referencing circuit-bending in their lyrics.

MP3: Ten Minute Turns – Aluminum Shine [buy]