Textile designer Lara Grant is giving ‘soft synths’ a new meaning.
This soft interface is made from metallic wools, Velostat (a resistive material), conductive fabrics, sheep’s wool and acrylic craft felt. It is connected to the circuit with snaps soldered to wires and alligator clips.
The circuit is comprised of 2 oscillators using the 4093 IC, piped through a distortion filter built using the 4049 and then out through the 4040, a 12 stage binary counter, it has 12 outputs, each dividing the source by 2.
Four of the twelve outputs from the counter IC are taken onto the soft interface using snaps to wire and mixed using a felted patch cord of sheep and metallic wool.
One oscillator is controlled by a force sensing resistor made from Velostat and conductive fabric.
Oscillator number two is controlled by a felted sculptural potentiometer, one side of the spike is a needle felted bronze trace, the opposite side is Velostat. You connect the two through your body by wearing stretchy conductive fabric over the tips and touching both sides at once.
Your body naturally has a high resistance, so you mainly get slow oscillation and hear low tones.
Each of the two oscillators have a control pin, they turn on and off based on if that pin is set to high or low. Each oscillator’s outputs are feeding into the other’s control pin, so you can turn one off and on, by touching the other.
Grant, along with her sister Sarah Grant, will be teaching a session on Soft Circuitry and Synthesizers at New Interfaces for Musical Expression in Ann Arbor, MI on Sunday May 20th. See Grant’s site for details.