Circuit Bending in Kansas City

circuit bendingThe Kansas City Star has a surprising bit of mainstream coverage of circuit bending and glitch music.

In the corner of Noah Fleischman’s Kansas City basement sits a table with electronic toys, keyboards and guitar pedals, all gutted and rewired, circuitry spilling from the casings.

But he’s no gadget repairman. He’s a musician.

Fleischman manipulates the machines — toys, instruments, talking dolls even — to make strange, dissonant sounds. He is one of many experimental artists immersed in a blossoming, do-it-yourself subculture known as circuit bending.

“I like the random chaos. No two devices are the same,” Fleischman said.

Fleischman, 35, has been a fan of experimental music since high school. He previously made tapes of industrial and noise music with guitars, synthesizers and homemade instruments. He’d leave the tapes at bus stops or distribute them to friends. Fleischman dubbed his cassette label “Roil Noise” and started to record under a pseudonym, Rabbit Girls. He explored the outer limits of sculpting sound but never felt completely satisfied, until 1998, when a friend lent him a circuit-bent Speak and Spell.

“I wondered why they didn’t make things that sounded like this in the first place,” he said. “Why does the user have to go in and modify the settings to get it to sound like this?”

Fleischman has circuit-bent an automated Tonka truck, a Casio SK-1 keyboard, loads of Speak and Spells and other things he picks up at thrift stores and rummage sales.

The article also talks to Reed Ghazala, one of the fathers of circuit bending.

More information on Rabbit Girls is available at the Roil Noise site.

Leave a Reply