A DIY iPad Audio Dock, with Instructions, from Father of Circuit Bending Reed Ghazala

What are those alien, otherworldly sounds coming out of the iPad? That’s not GarageBand. It’s what happens when Reed Ghazala, the father of circuit bending some decades ago, meets the iPad. Not that it’s his first encounter with products from Apple – he’s been approaching that company’s hardware as he does everything else, prying unexpected life with modifications and experimentation. But just as “circuit bending” need not be seen as “breaking,” here, too, Ghazala’s modifications make the device more humane, more musical, and – for all the shouting about how the design is perfect – far, far more usable. A …

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With Inventions Mechanical and Whimsical, Artist Ranjit Again Tackles an Instrument a Day

Like a fresh ingredient in food, sometimes all you need is a good idea. And whether your work is digital or analog, acoustic or mechanical, compositional or improvisational, sound artist and musician Ranjit Bhatnagar can provide ample inspiration. His best idea: forcing himself to come up with one musical idea a day for a month. Of course, having mad chops in instrumental invention doesn’t hurt. Ranjit’s creations are remarkable partly in that people can pick them up and play them as instruments, as with the 8-bit violin – a pixelated concoction of the lasercutter – seen at top in action …

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handmade101010

New Year, New Handmade Music: Call for NYC, Austin/SxSW, the World

Pete Edwards of casperelectronics making some noise at Manhattan’s Culturefix in October. Handmade Music is our party for people who make things that make music. If you create your own musical tools – whether acoustic instruments and soundmakers, hacks, circuit bends, custom Pd and Max patches, electronics, or code – we want to hear from you. We’re looking for contributors in NYC, Texas, and around the world: Live acts and projects in New York Street team volunteers in NYC and to help organize and promote events in other parts of the planet Live acts and projects for a special South …

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Free How-to on Circuit-Bending the Saw Vocal Recorder; Handmade Music Austin Sunday

“Your kids will love this Saw figure.” So, too, must have been the calculation of the person who decided to immortalize the film Saw with little toys and figures containing 30 seconds of voice recording, because this toy is now available in quantity for — wait for it — US$2. A $2, 30-second sampler? Now that’s a bend waiting to happen. Circuit bending blog GetLoFi in 2008 posted a detailed set of instructions for bending the SAW III sampler. Download the full PDF, and you can make one yourself, using the $2 part from All Electronics. In the spirit of …

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Listen: Personal Sounds of Circuits, from Micronaut, Phil Archer, Caribou

Summertime is bringing a host of great new music to my inbox and mailbox. Here are just a few selections for this Tuesday morning. What binds them all together is a desire for truly personal expression and satisfaction, which often manifests itself as an individualized sound. Chris Randall is best known as the voice behind cult favorite plug-in developer Audio Damage, and the opinionated, sometimes loud-mouthed pundit of his blog Analog Industries. But he’s a musician first. As better-known figures debate the merits of copyright and Creative Commons without ever having recorded a note, Chris has quietly released a lot …

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Batteries and Suitcase Music: Chris Carter’s No-MIDI, No-Keyboard Musical Rig

How much can you do with a suitcase full of soundmakers? Quite a lot, as it happens. The 20th Century gave sound two great achievements. One was the successful modeling of filtering in digital software form. The other was the production of the electronic filter, first in quartz crystal form. Today, all of those advancements are available in cheap, often battery-powered devices that fit in the palm of your hand. Spurred by yesterday’s discussion of sonic mobility and battery power, Sasa Rasa points us to the recent work of Chris Carter (of Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey fame). Chris …

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DIY MIDI In, MIDI Out For Your Gear: New Kits from HighlyLiquid

MIDI control of analog devices from Michael Una on Vimeo. John at HighlyLiquid has been busy this year- he’s got a new kit out and one in the works that really step up the game. You may be familiar with his previous kits, which add MIDI control to Speak & Spell, Atari 2600, or pretty much every Casio. HighlyLiquid also stocks more open-ended kits which can add MIDI control to pretty much anything- I used one in my MAKE Magazine article last year to build a drum-playing robot.

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Art of Sound: Fascinating DIY Music Creations; Enter and Win Custom Speakers

Make stuff, win stuff: Create your own sound project, like the Simple Sequencer, and you can win an appropriately handmade project like the custom speakers at bottom. The art of music is as expressive an art as you can find, so why shouldn’t the objects we use to make music be equally personal and creative? That’s the question we ask regularly on CDM, so we’re pleased to be sponsoring a contest with our friends at Instructables, along with the good people of Bleep Labs and custom speaker maker Zalytron. Instructables, of course, are a site that let you share step-by-step …

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We Love Montreal: Hardware Hackers in “Repurpose” Documentary Video

Nathanaël Lécaudé sends along a lovely video that reveals some of the brilliant hacking scene in Montreal, centering on the Foulab collective and hackspace. The mini-documentary doesn’t assume you’ve heard of things like oscilloscopes and circuit bending, so it could be a good one to pass along to friends and family who haven’t seen this stuff before. This is just one slice of what I know is a fantastically creative scene in Montreal and Québec. Featured: A custom oscilloscope made from a repurposed CRT, by Andrew MacGillivray A 1938 teletype machine, rescued by Redbeard An original boom box made from …

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Democratizing Creative Tech: Julià Carboneras, OFFF (English + Espanol)

Gijs Gieskes setting up, as I look on (bottom left). Photo courtesy OFFF Festival. What does it mean to truly democratize technology? When is DIY more than just the creation of an object? That’s the question asked by our friend Julià Carboneras, who curated the new Nerdeferences feature of the OFFF digital design conference in Portugal last week. DIY is more than just cool devices, argues Julià: it’s social hacking, too. He brought together myself, Instructables.com founder Eric Wilhelm, and musical inventor and artist Gijs Gieskes (who stole the show, showing some creations live onstage). But there was a bigger …

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