Tonewheels is an experiment in converting graphical imagery to sound, inspired by some of the pioneering 20th Century electronic music inventions.
In this three day workshop from 24-27 October 2009 in Bulgaria, participants built a simple light-to-sound converter and DC motor controller, and then began to experiment with drawing sounds onto transparent “tonewheels”. The workshop ended in a group performance and an invitation to the audience to try out the instruments for themselves.
The steam synth runs on coal, Esbit Tablets (hexamine), Ethanol or Propane.
It requires a pretty constant, hot fire to keep the synth going continuously. The boiler can build up to 40-50psi before the safety valve opens.
The pressure delivered to the engine is controlled by a ball valve seen between the boiler and the engine. The dynamo is much like a brushless, permanent magnet motor which is spun by a belt attached to the flywheel. This creates an alternating magnetic field which is turned into electricity by an inductive pickup.
The steam synthesizer does not use any electricity — only steam power. In fact it generates electricity! It generates about 6 watts of AC at high pressure and speed.
The steam synthesizer runs for about 20 minutes on one tank of water.
Circuit bending is the process of creatively short-circuiting cheap electronic devices such as guitar effects, children’s toys and synthesizers to create new musical instruments and sound generators.
If you’re not familiar with it, you might want to check out this short preview for the circuit bending documentary by Derek Sajbel. The video features Q.R. Ghazala, Nebula Girl, The Shinths, Daedelus, Dave Wright, Cynthia and music by Venetian Snares. It was compiled of footage shot during 2003 (4 years and shooting) of answers to the question “What is Circuit Bending?”
It’s geektacular, it’s DIY and, sometimes, it’s even musical.
Propellerhead Software has announced the availability of ElectroMechanical 2.0 ReFill, an expansion set of vintage keyboard instruments for exclusive use within Reason 3.0 Music Production Instrument software.
ElectroMechanical 2.0 ReFill is a full set of sound patches and files of vintage keyboard classics such as the Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer electric piano, Hammond organ and Hohner Clavinet & Pianet that plug into Reason 3.0. ElectroMechanical 2.0 makes heavy use of new Reason 3.0 features such as the Combinator and MClass Mastering effects-all adding up to an easier to use, more flexible and fantastic sounding array of instruments for the live keyboard player. Reason 3.0′s new Remote technology creates plug-and-play stage- friendly integration with hardware controllers. Continue reading →