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03 OCTOBER 2014

Ototo: bespoke musical instruments with pocket-sized circuit board

"Ototo–a pocket–sized circuit board in the mold of the Arduino and MaKey MaKey that was was designed to be a 'musical invention kit' and helps kids build bespoke electronic instruments without writing a line of code or burning a single finger on a soldering iron. It can play music out of the box with the 12 black and white triangles acting like piano keys and a surface–mounted speaker emitting sound, but it's killer application is the ability to create outlandish orchestras by connecting it to funky objects with alligator clips. Plants become percussive instruments, sauce pans become a drum set, and even simple pencil sketches can produce unique sounds when tapped."

(Joseph Flaherty, 22 October 2013, Wired)

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TAGS

alligator clip • analogue correspondenceArduino • bespoke instruments • bespoke musical instruments • circuit boardcommonplace objectscreative playcreative technology • crocodile clip • design and technologydevicedo-it-yourselfgadget • gizmo • interaction designinteractive objects • Joseph Pleass • Kickstarterkit • low-tech music • MaKey MaKey • Mark McKeague • music making technologyOtotoout-of-the-boxphysical and digital interactionpocket-sized circuit boardsound generatorsound toytechnology for engagementThereminWired (magazine)Yuri Suzuki

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 FEBRUARY 2012

Kenneth Anger & Brian Butler's Technicolor Skull

"Technicolor Skull performs their first West Coast appearance at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles on November 19, 2011, as part of the opening reception for Kenneth Anger: ICONS. This exhibition will showcase the films, books, and artwork of one of the most original and enigmatic filmmakers of post–war American cinema. This coincides with the release of Technicolor Skull's self–titled recorded debut, a one–sided, bloodred 180 gram 12' vinyl LP limited to 666 copies.

Technicolor Skull is an experiment in light and sound, exploring the psychic impact of a magick ritual in the context of an improvised performance. With Brian Butler on guitar and electronic instruments, and Kenneth Anger on theremin, their collaboration is a performance contained inside a ritual of unknown origin, tapping into occult stories that extend musical language into initiation. Hidden messages escape through gesture and light, manifesting as a one–time–only event."

(Richard Metzger, 18/11/2011)

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TAGS

12 inch • 12 inch vinyl LP2011 • 666 • American cinemaavant-garde • Brian Butler • colour • electronic instrument • enigmatic filmmaker • eventexperimentgestureguitar • hidden messages • ICONS (exhibition) • improvised performance • Kenneth Angerlight • light and sound • limited edition • livelive performanceLP • magick ritual • magick ritual of light and sound • MOCA • Museum of Contemporary Art • musical language • occult • one-time-only • performancepost-warpsychedelic • psychic • retrospective exhibitionritualskull • Technicolor Skull • Thereminvinyl recordvisual spectacle

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
11 JUNE 2004

Kinetic Optics: Music Through Kinetic Abstract Animation

"This project is a series of new audio instruments and automatons that explore unique methods of user interface and audio synthesis. The series will be rendered with Java, Processing, Jsyn (Java synthesis libraries), and OpenGL. ...A goal of this project is to provide a series of instruments of distinct expressive audio range, through an interface of kinetic abstract animation. This series will operate in multiples, and incorporate MIDI to interact with professional, commercial audio systems. Precedents: Golan Levin, Audio Visual Environment Suite John Whitney Oscar Fischinger Moog Music and Buchula Systems: early modular synthesis Luigi Russolo and the Futurists Oscar Sala (Trautonium & Mixturtrautonium) Leon Theremin Harry Partch (Quadrangularis Reversurn Marimba, Cloud–Chamber Bowls & Gourd Tree)"
(Steve Baker)

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TAGS

Audio Visual Environment Suite • Baker • Buchula Systems • Cloud-Chamber Bowls • Fischinger • Futurism (art movement)Golan Levin • Gourd Tree • Harry Partch • JavaJohn Whitney • Jsyn • Kinetic Optics • Leon Theremin • Luigi RussolomarimbaMIDI • Mixturtrautonium • modular synthesis • MoogOpenGLOskar Fischinger • Oskar Sala • Partch • Quadrangularis Reversurn • Russolo • Sala • Theremin • Trautonium
24 FEBRUARY 2004

Musical Instruments and Automats: Autosax

"This instrument is a computer controlled acoustical saxophone. The instrument can be played by standard MIDI commands, but it is also capable of producing a wealth of multiphonics, slaptongues and other special effects. The sound production is realized through an acoustical but computer controlled reed mechanism using a compressor for the wind supply and a fast regulating conical valve for expression control.

The lightbulbs –clearly visible on the picture– are not just a visual feature but serve as voltage dependent resistors in series with the solenoid valves controlling the keys, thus preventing overheating of the coils when many keys are opened and stay opened for a long time. Different and non standard fingerings can be applied, leading eventualy to multiphonics.

The instrument is controlled via MIDI. It uses 3 PIC microcontrollers, one of which is a DS type used for the reed control, the tuning and the intonation, the other ones taking care of the keys and the airpressure and compressor motor.

The normal note range is 48 to 81, but due the possibilities of the reed mechanism, we provided in an extended range in the low end, descending down to midi note 0. Of course users should not expect a realistic C–melody saxophone sound from this range. The sounds produced in this extended range are far too interesting to leave them out of the range of possibilities.

The development of this automated saxophone took us some 15 years and has known 3 different working realisations in its history. We are now, 2007, at version 3."
(Godfried–Willem Raes, 1991)

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TAGS

automate • autosax • computer controlled musical instrument • Godfried-Willem Raes • MIDImusicmusical instrumentorganplayer piano • sax • saxophonesculpture • sonore • soundTheremin
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