Wacky, Wooden Shnth Makes Eerie Sounds, Colors Outside the Lines [Documentary]

Shnth is a digital synth in a wooden box with a surprisingly open-ended programming language. It’s like a lo-fi sonic computer, touched with your fingers via a handmade interface, and with sonic capabilities that can be re-programmed over USB. And there’s a coloring book to go with it, too, with pictures of Max Mathews and microsound for you to sketch in. The drawings there, like the sounds that come out of its outputs, full of rough, digital edges and unexpected swoops and swirls of timbre, seem to encourage coloring outside the lines. Peter Blasser of Baltimore is the synth’s creator …

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Matmos in the sun - and this duo shines as brightly as ever. Photo Jamie Marsh.

Matmos: New Music, Parapsychological Experiments, Sensory Deprivation Goggles, Irish Covers

It’s a fitting way to honor computer music: Matmos produced an electronic reimagining of computer pioneer Alan Turing’s favorite tune, the Irish traditional song “Molly Malone.” The results are haunting, made more so by Mr. Turing’s untimely demise and unjust prosecution for his open homosexuality. (According to legend, he played it on violin to the police who came to arrest him. Whether true or not, it’s a touching anthem.) 2006’s “Molly Malone” is now available as a free download on Bandcamp. Fovea Hex’s Clodagh Simonds provides the heart-wrenching vocal line. The track by way of the FOR ALAN TURING EP, …

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