Circuit bending has a reputation as involving far-out, unstructured experimental noise, of real violence and distortion done to instruments. And there’s probably a place for that. But Reed Ghazala, circuit bending’s spiritual father and electronic practitioner, takes a more organic, evolutionary approach.
Reed recently told me about his favorite application of his iPad, apart from exploring new experimental soundscapes with tools like the brilliant granular app Curtis. He brings it with him into the forest, using GPS for location, and tracking plants and animals, identifying the sounds of bird and beasts.
In our electronic ecosystem, fowl and beast are finding their own electro-diversity. Circuit bending, then, is giving electronic devices a gentle push toward becoming something else, into taking on a unique and individual personality. It’s evolution. So, it’s fitting that New York’s Bent Festival has become an eclectic gathering of musical makers, espousing no singular philosophy or aesthetic.
For a sense of how broad that notion spans — both in Reed’s own head and at Brooklyn’s festival — our friend Kaley at VICE points us to their Motherboard.tv series on Reed, and his 1967 breakthrough of circuit bending, as well as their coverage of last year’s Bent. The Bent Festival, for their part, provide the remaining schedule if you happen to be in the area. At bottom, the classic “what is circuit bending” video by DrRek, featuring monome artist Daedelus.
If you happen to be the area, on behalf of CDM and in recognition of my lack of a) an inexhaustible budget or b) the ability to be a pan-dimensional creature in all places at once, please take photos and videos and notes and let us know what you see! (That goes for artists, too! Find a friend!)
We’ll be at Bent today before hauling off some makers yet deeper into the woods and wilds for the Solid Sound Festival. (Well, okay, metaphor stretched, broken, and beaten — at least further afield than the middle of Brooklyn. It’s Friday. I’m letting my metaphors take the rest of the day off.)
Also, notably organizing venue The Tank is again homeless and in need of support:
“Viable spaces for artistic research and development pop up as unpredictably as wild mushrooms, and sometimes vanish just as quickly. The Tank, a hardy nonprofit arts presenter formed by recent college graduates in 2003, has adeptly navigated a terrain in constant flux, taking root in a series of locations around Manhattan.” – Steve Smith, New York Times.
Their campaign to work in conjunction with other organizations to keep programming moving forward: http://do.nr/2sX