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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Bleeping Good Fun: Videos from Handmade Music; Your Part of the World

It’s easy – and partly appropriate – to appreciate the bleeps and blips of homemade and bent circuits as noise-making insanity. But as Peter Edwards (casperelectronics) and E-Squared walked us through their creations at the April installment of Handmade Music, it was clear that compositional exploration was at the heart of the work. Edwards talked about trying to be freer with sound and get away from techno, using handmade creations that helped him shake musical habits. E-Squared described studying the intricacies of classic Roland drum machine and synth circuits, then re-imagining them in fantastic new creations that allowed them to …

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Where’s the Party At: Bendable, Open-Source 8-bit Sampler Now Shipping

If you hate modern samplers with all their supposed fidelity, longing instead for the glitchy digital distortion of samplers past, a DIY project has brought you the sounds you love. “Where’s the Party At?” has been inspiring tingly sensations in digital lovers since I first wrote about it in September. Now, the kit version is shipping. It’s a unique-looking combination of reliability and sonic unreliability, good open source design engineering and, as the creator puts it, a certain “crustiness.” Apocryphal Feature List and General Horn-Tooting: 8-bit max sample depth, 1-bit minimum. 20kHz (or so, user adjustable) max sample rate, no …

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Handmade Music + Bent Fest + Chippy DIY Electrosonics: This Week in NYC, in Videos

Above: our friends at 2playerproductions shot this beautiful video that gets at the heart of what circuit bending and DIY electronics are about. It’s a look at some of the work of casperelectronics / Peter Edwards. And yes, Barbie is involved. Who are the people in your DIY music neighborhood? Well, quite a few of the DIYers here on Planet Earth are converging this week in New York. Lover of circuit bending, creative electronics, and DIY music hardware are gathering for the massive Bent Festival in Manhattan, complete with performances, workshops, and a book launch. And we’ve got a special …

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Handmade Music March Noise and Mayhem Recap; Call for Stuff Next Thursday

Wonderful things happen when you invite lovers of noise together in a room. Musicians and non-musicians, electronics geeks and first-timers, folks pick up a soldering iron — often for the first time — and cause utter mayhem. So we again had a fantastic time at Handmade Music last month. I’ve just gotten the photos in, so decided to share. We’re looking for folks to bring stuff to Handmade Music on 4/16 – see the bottom of the article and give us a shout if you have software or hardware creations to share. They don’t even have to work, entirely – …

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Arduino VGA Signal Visual Glitch with Sebastian Tomczak

The Arduino isn’t quite an deal choice for a live generative visual computer – but it can do some gorgeous things with signals. Sebastian Tomczak has a gorgeous hack (as seen via Limor Fried) that manipulates RGB data lines with the Arduino. You connect horizontal and vertical sync signals, then go to town. The Arduino in this case just converts the signal to digital and uses the lower 8 bits of the 10-bit data – a real Swiss Army Knife-style job for the microcontroller. I’m curious looking at this, though – what other sorts of microcontroller projects might be possible? …

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