Category Archives: art

Synthesizers in motion: Bastl instruments documentary

This is a very enjoyable trip to Bastl instruments in the Czech Republic. Host Cuckoo is a charming interviewer and Bastl instruments showcase a people-oriented business.

My anticipation is that we’ll meet a lonely Eastern European modular maker, but what unfolds is a robust community has grown dramatically. Includes the boss describing how to avoid “poop face,” a woman modulating with a baby strapped on, Bastl’s boutique coffee plans, and a business where everyone is a musician. No really, it seems like *everyone* is a musician at Bastl.

Best part of the video is a chance to get some perspective from Peter Edwards (Casper Electronics) a circuit-bending scientist whose website has inspired a lot of people, including myself.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, capitalism, do-it-yourself, documentary, humor, music, synthesizers, technology

RIP Prince: Musicology

Leave a comment

Filed under art, funk & soul, memorial, music

DIY synthesizer inspirations: Peter Blasser and Chris Beckstrom

I continue to learn about digital noise-making.  I’ve been soldering and bread-boarding synthesizers and noise-boxes for the last year.  Along the way I’ve found a few cool motivations and inspirations.

1. I found Peter Blasser and his musical wizardry through an essay he wrote about making electronic instruments for a small child for econtact.   At first I thought he was mocking the reader, and then I realized that the essay was deeply creative, fluid and inspiring.  I spent as much time exploring the links as reading the text.  This led me to Peter’s astounding limited edition home-made instruments: Ciat.lonbarde.net

Here is Blasser with a workshop about his Shnth I found enjoyable.

Blasser offers some really interesting DIY projects at his website: Peter B.  I’m collecting the parts to make some paper circuits.  I find his approach, openness and creative inspirational work to be sublime.

2.  Since I’ve been making my own instruments I often run into disappointment.  I finish something and plug in a battery and it doesn’t work.  Finding motivation to keep creating when projects flop takes a little intellectual inspiration.  I often turn to look at the pictures and read the notes by Chris Beckstrom.  As he puts it:

My admittedly lofty goal was to build a modular synthesizer, from scratch, using basic components (no kits), with zero electronics experience. Turns out, it’s possible! I’m sharing circuits, designs, pictures, and code to help other folks realize their dream of building a modular synthesizer for themselves.

Source: DIY Modular Synthesizer | Chris Beckstrom

I really like that uses bolts as cheap connections instead of the costly cables for most systems.  I appreciate that he lists that some of his modules aren’t working at the moment.  At points where I struggled to move forward it is really gratifying to see a home-made system that seems accessible.  In fact seeing creative people who aren’t deterred by lack of money or parts is helpful as I put together my machines.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, do-it-yourself, learning, music, synthesizers, technology, vulnerability

DIY synthesizers part 1

2015-11-01 15.07.58

I’ve been making my own synthesizers for the last few months.  It started with a challenge from my friend August.  August pointed me to the $25 Sythrotek Atari Punk Console kit at makershed.   Prior to this I had been messing with Arduino synthesizers (primarily using the under-respected Mozzi library).  We ordered some noise box kits and when they arrived, started awkwardly soldering.

My favorite thing is that I’m learning an astounding amount every day.  I think that is how it goes whenever you dive into something that you didn’t know much about!

Shout out to Synthrotek and Dr. Bleep.  I started with some kits and am now building my own little noiseboxes inspired by the kits (and any number of fine internet peeps).  Here are a few photos from the early builds including a my finished APC kit in the DIY wooden box.

2015-11-01 14.56.22 2015-11-05 07.53.46

Leave a comment

Filed under art, do-it-yourself, learning, music

Kendrick Lamar: God is gangsta

Leave a comment

Filed under art, hip hop, music, representation, vulnerability

Gay stormtroopers, DIY art and becoming more villainous: Suck Lord

Thanks to Boing Boing for the link!

Leave a comment

Filed under art, do-it-yourself, Gay, juxtaposition

Justice for Mike Brown: disrupting the symphony

Beautiful music.  A moment of public dialogue interjected into a space for beautiful music.   I don’t know how I missed this  St. Louis symphony showdown.

Elizabeth Vega on the conception of the symphony as a protest space.   Daily KOS reports:

Elizabeth: Two weeks ago, Sarah and I participated in a direct action at Cardinal Stadium. We did a series of banner drops at a baseball game with folks. We are both middle aged I am a grandmother and I am brown and Sarah is white. People were incredibly rude and racist to us at the game. They booed us. Told us “Pants up dont loot” etc.. They clearly saw what they wanted to see. We were escorted out in handcuffs and chanted “No justice! No Peace!” It was a rough night where we didnt feel any love. Sarah suggested that night, jokingly, that perhaps we needed another venue. The next day she said she wanted to do an action at the symphony. I was on board and immediately brought on Derek. When we found out the next performance was a requiem we had to do it.  It took us about two weeks among planning other actions and events for the national mobilization. We are all very busy but carved out about five hours total to recruit, plan and organize.

via Requiem for Mike Brown protest at St. Louis Symphony exposes both white privilege and support.

Thanks to feministing for the suggestion, link and video.

Leave a comment

Filed under art, class, human rights, memorial, music, protest, representation, resistance