circuit bending
aBOuT    SOME    0f    tHe    iNsTRuMents

These instrument/artworks 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
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 envelope LED.

Trigon Incantors
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 ways.

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