0f tHe iNsTRuMents
are being used all over the world by today's most interesting top musicians.
Clients include: Tom
Waits, Faust, Peter Gabriel, Nine Inch Nails, King Crimson's Pat Mastelotto, Chris Cutler,
Towa Tei, Blur, Yann Tomita and many
others. Press coverage
recently in Wired, Option, Billboard, Sound and Recording, Music and Computers,
New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune & more. Work in the NYC
Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, Whitney & others. Please understand
that these instruments are alien instruments. Do not expect anything familiar
from them. They operate in a different head space and require the same
of the musician.
Photon Clarinets are played without touching.
Waving a hand over the right-hand sensor steps the pitch through arbitrary
notes, as in an alien keyboard; a hand over the left-hand sensor smoothly
sweeps the notes, as in a theremin. Very high to very low range light-sensitive
instrument. All models have a range control for setting the frequency
of the "free" note that the unmodulated instrument returns to, a focus
switch that phases the ends of the note envelopes, an internal speaker
with on/off switch, power switch with blue LED pilot lamp, red envelope
LED and gold-plated RCA line output. All operate on a single 9V battery,
contain the same circuitry as well as sound and play the same.
These are circuit-bent human voice
synthesizers. They produce chance music sequences, imaginary words and
endless sound effects. They loop or stream, are light-sensitive and can
be sequenced with a wave of he hand. Twelve added features including 2
human body contacts, 3 voice bending switches, 3 looping switches, pitch/speed
dial, reset switch, RCA output, speaker switch, blue power LED and red
These are also circuit-bent human voice synthesizers. Their behavior is
very similar to the Incantor. They are very nice at producing streaming
chance cycles of notes, voices and sound-effects. Many looping effects
are possible as well. Trigons are played by positioning the 3 large steel
balls on the playing stage.
Animal/machine synthesizer. Very raw sounding, very expressive tangle-of-sound
machine. Worn with strap like an accordion. Garish, howling sounds to
sharp, quick little voices. Makes a truly bizarre solo instrument as played
through reverb, EQ and a volume pedal. Extremely sensitive body-contact
instrument, the player conducting electricity through the flesh to modulate
the device's various voices. Additions include two frequency dials for
setting the initial pitches of the two sample bank's voices (eight animal
cries and four train sounds), four large metallic body-contacts, speaker
switch, RCA output, power switch and blue pilot lamp. Finishing elements
and colors may vary with this instrument.
Aleatrons are circuit-bent keyboard instruments. Their behavior is often
erratic and unpredictable. They crash. But they are also capable of exquisite
aleatoric, or chance, musical forays. The original instrument, a Casio
mini-keyboard sounding about as good as these small keyboards get, sounds
quite beyond its class with the new line output feeding an EQ, reverb
and a hi-fi amp or recording system. In addition, while it would be difficult
to make the SA-2 sound like a full-blown professional synthesizer, the
circuit-bending process does widen the frequency response and some very
powerful voices do result. While I'm still able to locate the no-longer-produced
SA-2 keyboard I will continue to offer a top-end version of this Aleatron.
The SA-2 Aleatron's four chance triggers, each a special push-button switch
coupled with a threshold dial, are used to throw the instrument's digital
logic systems off track. This results in either odd tonal production or
chance musical composition, or both. These aleatoric passages may be short
or long in length, again decided by chance. The effect is often that of
a small, live improv group... piano and drums, perhaps bass, with an odd
accompaniment instrument appearing here and there. Alien forms of jazz
emerge, abstract tone clusters rise and fall... a valid music mind, though
insane, is released.
As is often the case with aleatrons, the behavior of the musical keyboard
is unpredictable. Often there is no response from the keyboard at all.
At other times pressing the keys will alter the music/tones in progress
in various ways. Tones may be pulsed, the key of the music in play might
be shifted, aleatoric production might be modified in numerous unforeseen