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Handmade Music Minneapolis

I attended the Handmade Music Minneapolis even on May 1st.  It was great fun to meet people from the other end of Route 35.  Especially Pat Arneson who runs the Hack Factory and organized the event.  Pat also has the distinction of being Bender Sequencer Customer Number One.

Mike and Alex of GetLoFi fame conducted a workshop on building a seriously lo-fi 555 noise maker.  Mike posted a detailed write-up on the event.

Read more: Handmade Music Minneapolis

Circuit Bending Talk

I will be giving an introductory talk on circuit bending – what it is and how to do it - at this month’s Handmade Music Austin event on Sunday, May 2nd.

During the talk, I will be demonstrating several circuit bent devices including several devices that we have built in the Handmade Music workshops. The talk will also include a demonstration of the Bender Sequencer, which is a circuit that can turn any sound making device into a rhythm or melody machine by playing a sequence of notes. You can see examples of it in action here and here. Bender Sequencer kits will be for sale at the event for $50 and will soon be are now available for sale online.

I will actually be attending two Handmade Music events this weekend. I’ll be at the Minneapolis event on Saturday, then going right from the plane to the Austin event. Hope to see you this weekend!

Read more: Circuit Bending Talk

Handmade Music Austin #6

This month’s Handmade Music Austin event took place during Austin’s huge South by Southwest festival. It included the usual kit building as well as performances by some great electronic musicians.  I had hoped that it would be better attended, but I guess everyone was out listening to other music. The people that did come built various kits. I built Eric Archer’s new Tune in Tokyo device. It makes sounds like a radio between stations. Very cool.  It will be the advanced kit for HMMA7.

Weird Sound Generator

I have been playing with the Weird Sound Generator by Ray Wilson at MusicFromOuterSpace.com.  The WSG, as it is affectionately known, is a very cool device with very few parts.  It is based on the CD40106 Hex Schmitt Trigger chip.  Basically, the triggers are set up as oscillators, one in audio frequency and the others at low frequency modifying the first.  It also includes a simple LM741 op-amp filter.  The variety of sounds that it produces is amazing.  There is a pretty active community of people building and modding WSGs. MusicFromOuterSpace.com sells a bare circuit board and a kit with all the parts, but I made mine from scratch.

Here's a video of it in action:

Read more: Weird Sound Generator

Circuit Bent Bird Song Calendar

UPDATE: After you read about this project, take a look at my latest effort to bend the birds to my will:
The Birdianoforte!

I read a posting on GetLoFi.com, one of my favorite circuit bending sites, about bending the Bird Songs 2009 Wall Calendar. Creme DeMentia got some amazing sounds out of the birds, so I had to try my hand at bending it. I jumped right on Amazon and bought one for five bucks. I tore it down as soon as it arrived, but it took me a couple of months to get around to bending it.

Check out this video to hear the weird and wonderful sounds that are possible by bending bird songs.

Read more: Circuit Bent Bird Song Calendar

Handmade Music Austin #5

I attended the fifth Handmade Music Austin event today. We had a great turnout. We built two devices. The beginner workshop was Bleep Labs’ Pico Paso, which makes interesting beeping sounds similar to an APC. The advanced workshop was the Wooster Audio’s Space Baby. The Space Baby is a fantastic little digital echo board with lots of controls. Even though it is a simple, lo-fi, 12-bit device, it can really add depth to simple electronic sounds. I hooked it up to some very cheesy devices and it makes them sound like a Moog!

Bender Sequencer Enclosure

Here are some more pictures and video of my Bender Sequencer. This one is built into an enclosure. Almost all of the parts for it (except the board and chips) were purchased at Radio Shack.  I actually built the enclosure with all of the controls when I just had the circuit breadboarded.  I had intended to build it using a prototyping board, then decided to create the PCB.

Here is what it looks like inside:

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