Category Archives: Recasing

Recasing Projects to note

Pikacho Goggles from Kaseo


Here is a nice modification from Kaseo who’s been circuit bending Pikachu action figures into just about everything imaginable. This time the heart of the Pikachu is mounted in a pair of safety goggles with audio output, pitch, and trigger inputs. More awesome images are here. Definitely gives you that freaky cyborg look when playing live. The lenses also flip up so you can see what you’re doing. The external trigger box is also very nice, made from what appears to be a florescent light case, with chromatically positioned push buttons that control the pitch of the circuit and an oscillator to trigger the sound over and over. Nice work.


Bitcrusher (The French Connection)


Interview by: Rodney Clark

From time to time I get a few here and there e-mails from folks wanting to know how they can get an album on Tiger Claw Records. I feel bad by having to tell them I’m pretty much a broke outfit with a list of to get tos as far as releases go. When BitCrusher contacted me it was no different, except I was left wishing I could let more people know of his awesome sound and crazy bent projects! So I asked him if he would take the time to answer a few e-questions about his project, the French sensation “Bitcrusher“…

Q: When did you start Bitcrusher, and who all is involved in the project?

B: Bitcrusher is a solo project born in 2005. With this project, I try to combine my musical influences and satisfied my need of sound experimentation. My influences are: Electronica, 8bit music, circuit bending, noise, breakcore, sound expérimentations, DIY, and many more….

Q: What part of France are you from and what is the scene like for benders in France?

B: I live in Angouleme for my studies in the middle of the France. The scene I know the best is in Paris, but this last couple of years the circuit bending scene is growing everywhere in France!! In France The circuit bending scene is close to the Chipmusic scene.

A little tours of the French scene through internet:

The Cheatcode


Audiofanzine/circuit bending

Q: Do you play out a lot as Bitcrusher and what response do you get from the crowd?

B: I have a few, live, as Bitcrusher. Most time, I play with friend in Ponctuals projects: The Cheatcode with Nurykabe using Gameboys and circuit bend toys. Also in Paracetamol with Kobah using bass, circuit bent toys and synth. The response we have from the crowd, beside the pleasure to listen live music, is that people are surprised that we made some music with the toys of their childhood and the fact we have tortured and modified these toys! It’s very emotional! Plus there is a part of « mad scientist » in the bend toys which fascinates! Live, the aesthetic aspect of instruments and the way we use it, is just as important as the sound.

Bitcrusher Vacuum

Q: You have some pretty neat bends. The one that caught my eye though, is the Mega Aspirateur (orange vacuum). What all went into making that thing…and what can it do?

B: In reality, it is a case mod, of a circuit bent Alesis HR16 ! The vacuum cleaner was emptied of its main mechanisms. The most difficult part to build with this instrument was to put the original circuits of the HR16 into the vacuum cleaner, because there was not enough space inside it. I was obliged to cut the main circuits of the hr16 in two parts, and connect every cut-tracks with wires. I had to move the screen. The volume pot and the output integrate the alimentation and change the key via a switch, that makes « soft reset » when bends are uncontrollable. For a visual effect during a live set, I integrated a stroboscope with a speed knob. For the bends I only choose uncontrollable bends, that make distortion and aleatoric sounds.

Bitcrusher Vacuum Alesis HR-16

They often crash the OS, but for making sound, they don’t need to be triggered by the keys or sequencer (it’s for this reason I put a direct switch for soft reset)

19 – switches to control different bends
1 – rotary switch to control 12 bends
1 – button panic to restart the OS
1 – fader for controlling the sound output
2 – jack output for routing the stereo output to a mixer or recorder
1 – Stroboscope for visual effect during live performance
1 – knob to control the speed of the strobe!


Q: Another bend I noticed was a hair drier… That thing looks seriously dangerous! 🙂 I guess I wanna know what all went into building it and what it can do?

B: It’s in the same spirit as the vacuum cleaner! The hair drier was emptied of its main mechanisms. Then I put a circuit bent toy that transforms the voice. There are 4 switches that mod the voice: robot effect, tremolo, grave and high. I put an instant switch for muting the sound and make sync-up effect. One knob for the volume and one knob for the micro sensibility.

Hairdryer Circuit Bent

Q: Your sound is a lot like Albino Ghost Monkey meets early Igloo Martian. Totally a great sound in my mind. What got you into Circuit bending and when did you start?

B: I started circuit bending in 2004, after discovering it through the internet on the Reed Ghazala website and in his book. David Steinberg’s website, burnkit2600, Nicolas Collins and the Paris’s 8bit scene which is close to the circuit bending scene. But especially by the enjoyment to modify my 1st toy: « la dictée magique » (french speak and spell). Many aspect of circuit bending are addicting to me: DIY, original sound, expérimentation, musical approach, and electronic bugs and chaos!

Q: Do you have any recordings of your music out right now, and if so where could we get a copy?

B: You can find some of my music here: Bitcrusher and The Cheat Code

Q: What does the future hold for Bitcrusher?

B: Actually, I’m working on my first circuit bent album. My friend Nurykabe and Gakona are trying to create an associative music label for chipmusic and circuit bending called Dataglitch.

Q: Anything else you want to add?

B: The Dataglitch label is willing to release a record, and needs you to submit a work about “robot masters”. Thanks for interest and inspiration, keep the solder in the hand and tortured more toys !

Circuit Bent Sega Master System

Thanks Syl, for the great info on you and the French scene! Hope people get aboard the Dataglitch label and help the Art prevail!!!!!

The Gypsy Circuit Bent SK-1 “Tourist” Series

Circuit Bent SK-1 The Gypsy

Here is an interesting case idea from the Umbrella Company. Certainly for those who like to keep their SK-1s safe, while traveling in style. The keyboard and the glitch points are mounted in a wooden panel fixed inside of a sturdy old suitcase. The SK-1 also features a MIDI kit, 8 1/4 inch outputs, 60 point patch bay, and a collection hardwired bends. Currently this Auction is sitting at $650 and for an extra fee you can get your band name engraved with a wood burner. Neato!

Circuit Bent SK-1 The Gypsy

Circuit Bent SK-1 The Gypsy

The Untold Story of The Gypsy: An Extraordinary SK-1


The Auction Link here.

*Update* No Takers, 1 Hour to go.

Cool Mannequin Leg Maraca that Doesn’t Cost an Arm and …a Leg?

Leg Maraca

Interesting sounds can be created using a variety of sources if you have a looping pedal and pitch shifting ability. Richie Brown made a maraca out of a mannequin leg, currently for sale on eBay, and his video demonstrates just that. The leg is basically a shaker filled with various small objects and a piezo disk mic to turn the acoustic sounds into an electrical signal.


Richie’s past and future projects include more mannequin recasings with conveniently placed touch contacts.


Touch Me – a public installation encourages spectators to interact with letters on a board by rubbing, poking, scratching, caressing, and knocking. These noises are picked up by the contact mics and fed into a looper as the day progressed.


The Monster Box demonstrated below was made out of a Roll-Up Piano Keyboard.




And the Walking Song was recorded with contact mics taped to inner thighs and inner elbows  in hopes of being able to record a walking pattern. The song can is called HG Welles Walks and can be heard on his myspace page. Nice work, cool ideas!


Glassware-electronics Atari Punk Console

Light Bulb APC
The Atari Punk Console has been encased in many things like Ikea bowls, Atari Mice, Cigar Boxes and now I present you the light bulb APC built by DNNY. This new trend of Glassware-electronics is certainly not for everyone, considering the changes of getting shards stuck in your hands to be rather high, however it may be the next big thing. In this particular version DNNY replaced potentiometers with LDRs for opto theremin like control and mouted the thing in a mic boom. A video of the APC can also be found here and here is a flickr set, very cool.


Atari Punk Console + Filter + Amp = Cigar Box Modular Synth

Atari Punk Console Filter and Amp
Tuomo from Finland has posted this neat video on the OikoSulku blog. It contains an Atari Punk Console circuit patched to a Filter stage and then to an LM386 Amp stage. The filter on a square wave synth sounds pretty cool and creates an ADSR Envelope to shape the sound. I dig the little cigar boxes in particular and also the aesthetics’s of the exposed speaker. One time I remember a band whose name I can’t recall was headlining after my band at a bar. Their instruments were 2 laptops and a bunch of speakers turned upside down with mics on them. Needless to say the ambient sounds of the bar crowd getting rowdy ruined any chances for a glitchy micro house set.


The Folktek website features works and collaborations of Ben Houston and Arius Blaze some of which were up for sale on eBay like the Optic Nerve, Music Box,and Cataract Granulator. Very “mad scientist” looking stuff encased into vintage instrument boxes with brass hardware and radio knobs. I used to be sticker shocked by the $300-$400 price tags on some of Arius Blaze’s instruments, but now it certainly seems more plausible given the amount of work that could go into building devices like this. For the cataract series of devices the internal circuitry is still somewhat of a mystery to me. The description states pitch shifting and granular distortion and after listening to the sample I would go with a Bucket Brigade Delay circuit. Those tend to pitch shift at lower clock speeds and definitely cause distortion. Judging from other samples on the website many instruments also contain Speak and Spell guts and combinations of feedback and strings. Very fun to peruse through. Via [eBay], but also [SubtleNoiseMaker post helped to remind me]

Optic Nerve Sample