Ofir sent in some very nice pictures and links to his Ohm LoFi Samplers built completely out of laser cut cardboard with stenciled on conductive paint. The instruments were constructed as a design studies project directed by designer Barak Asher during 2008 at the Shenkar College of Design, Israel. Pretty Fucking Rad! Enjoy.
This is the obligatory Circuit Bending Tag Galaxy post. If you have not heard about Tag Galaxy, you must not read enough Blogs, which is probably very good for your wellbeing. Basically it is a Flickr front-end made with Flash. It renders Tag results you type in a neat 3D sphere, which you can rotate and look at the pictures with. This has to be the best way to look at images people upload to Flickr and it will also do a complete full screen! Because otherwise you may miss treasures like these:
I know we’ve all been there before, by that I mean being left in a field because your friends thought you were being too annoying in the car. On the way to a Dan Deacon show. After thrift shopping. For like the whole day. In the summer. With puffy clouds and blue skies. Enjoy.
Ryan aka Foodteam’s band Mystery Palace is on Tour roaring through the East Part of the Country coming to a city near you. Please go see them and say GetLoFi.com sent you:
April 8 – Lansing, MI @ Mac’s Bar
April 9 – Detroit, MI @ Lager House
April 10 – Detroit, MI @ The Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit
April 11 – Cleveland, OH @ Tower 2012
April 12 – Amherst, NH @ Prescott Tavern
April 13 – Danbury, CT @ Larry’s
April 14 – Providence, RI @ AS220
April 15 – Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East
April 17 – New York, NY @ The Annex
April 19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Luna Lounge
April 20 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Mitten
April 21 – Baltimore, MD @ Lo Fi Social Club
April 22 – Washington D.C. @ The Red and the Black
April 23 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
April 29 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
May 1 – Cincinnati, OH @ The Gypsy Hut
May 2 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout
May 3 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Art Bar
( Photo of FoodTeam By Julie Cisler taken at the LoFi Fest 2007 ) a great gallery of her work from that event is located here.
Here is a link that Roger sent me a while ago. Its a website by Frans Samshuijzen with detailed descriptions of some mods that he did to a set of Casio SK-1 keyboards appropriately titled: “Casio Twins“. The mods include a full pitch mod with the use of a TI 74LS624 voltage controlled oscillator. It is also worth noting that a 555 timer circuit would theoretically do the same thing, except that the max frequency of a 555 is about 2Mhz and with the LS624 chip the schematics indicate a range of between 1.5 and 10Mhz with a max of 20Mhz. The downside however is the fact that the LS624 is far more expensive, $2.55 a pop. Still worth every penny considering that the Casio will provide for a full 3 Octave mind melting sound experience, along with longer and grainier recording times. Other mods include a nice line level adapter schematic for the microphone input and a remote trigger option. Audio of the improvisations on the Casio Twin set can be heard here and there is more information about what all the controls are here.
Most often people want to take advantage of the sweet sweet LoFi onboard synth present in the Game Boy. However this time the tables have turned and the handheld system became an integral part of a physical computing apparatus.
Jowan of file-error.net managed to interface the GameBrain cart with solenoids and play them via primitive sequencer software written in GBBasic for the GB. The project is called kBang and is worth checking out just to put a new spin on things. Thanks to Silas for sending this in.
John from HighlyLiquid linked me to this interesting article about ‘Chip Tunes’ featured in the entertainment section of CNN.com. In one sentence circuit bending is mentioned by name:
“Chip Tune musicians often use a technique called ‘circuit bending’ which involves short-circuiting electrical devices causing the machine to create a sound which is then controlled by the musician.”
Thats nice, don’t get me wrong its cool that circuit bending is getting plugged by the mainstream media, which I am sure will drive the google hits. The entire article also seems to be very British in terms of only mentioning: BBC, Imogen Heap, Pixelh8, Sega Mega Drives, and Car Boot Sales. No mention of US artists or festivals like Blip. To their defense circuit bending and chip tunes are probably too broad of topics for dive into and may require extensive research to present in a just manner.
Another interesting quote:
“All these left for dead old dusty friends (computer consoles), wanted, needed and loved again. Chip Tunes has revived them all. “It’s very eco-friendly too in recycling, they are indeed doing they’re bit for the planet”.
Sure had to stick the buzzword “eco-friendly” in somewhere. I think its more like reusing, which much better for the environment and economically friendlier. The cheapness factor certainly cannot be ignored because it opens up the doors for many aspiring musicians who don’t have the money to spend on synth gear, however they do own a console or have access to one. Same thing with circuit bending, high-end gear does not appeal to benders because of the highly probable change that it will get damaged in the process.
Another good one:
“Despite the scene being in its infancy Pixelh8 is predicting big things and claims commercial success is not far away.”
Chiptunes have been around for ages, ever since computers could make noises people wrote music for them, once example is the Demo Scene. There have also been music programs for just about every console out there released by the manufacturer. Granted they didn’t boast MIDI capability in all the cases, but still you could make noises. Why does everything have to be commercially viable to be a success? Never mind its already too late thanks to Timbaland jacking your beats!
Jörg Piringer was kind enough to post information about his CMOS Synth controller including the Source code and the schematics. In a nutshell the project features a MIDI note to PWM ( Pulse Width Modulation ) micro-controller circuit with LEDs connected to a CMOS oscillators. Similarly the modulating LEDs can also be connected to circuit bent devices that use Photoresistors for pitch control or bend activation. Thanks!
Here is a pretty good short piece on circuit bending filmed by the Oregon Public Broadcasting. It features Billy the Bender explaining what circuit bending is and his thorough collection of circuit bent devices and future candidates. For me this was a little scary to watch because it really goes to show that there are other people out there hoarding this stuff just like me and some people I know! Very well done video however, totally worth the watch!