Circuit Bending

Underwater Keyboard

This series is created by circuit bending a new kawasaki keyboard. It includes a built in mini sequencer, a pitch knob, an on / off switch for the pitch bends, and a blue led which activates a photo cell that in turn responds to interference shadows from your fingers. This alters pitch in both radical and subtle ways. Noisicians will love it. 1/4 inch output.

 

Click below to download an mp3 track from my latest cd, "Ghosts," featuring this keyboard and several other circuit bent instruments:

http://www.jwdavies.com/sameasyesterday.mp3

Click Music on the Menu on the left to checkout "Ghosts."

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What is circuit bending?

Circuit bending is a term coined by Reed Ghazala for altering toys and cheap instruments in ways the manufacturers never intended and creating new instruments, noise makers, etc. Check out Ghazala's site, http://www.anti-theory.com for circuit bending how-to and to purchase some of his exquisite instruments.

What follows is a gallery of some of the instruments I've made in the past few years. Many of them will be featured in my upcoming records and performances.

 

Deep Barney Bends

This is a wonderfully awful noise maker with a futuristic look. It has an led and photo resistor to trigger it, two switches that change the sound and the "song." Thankfully, it includes a mute switch.

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L.E.D. Zep

Cool sounds, cool little lights. Made a mess of it, but amazingly it still works.

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Sampler in a clear case.

This is made with a cool little sampler from walmart, one of those picture frames people mail to granny with a little recording of their voice saying: "I love youuuuuuuuu!"

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Another sampler in a clear case

My first actually, which is why it's so...rough. Bits of red balloon found in the Joshua Tree national forest included.

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Noodle Casio

Casio keyboard with some really nice sounds. Added a couple of distortions to it.

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Animal Bus

The infamous Ching-Cheng animal bus. This one happens to be a christmas model, so if you hit the bottom buttons by mistake, it goes into what seems like an hour long version of jingle bells, spiced up with several "Ho, Ho, Ho"s. Otherwise, it's pretty great. Added a 1/4 inch out and 2 knobs, pitch up and pitch down.

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T

The Dynamic Dual

I made this using two of those little frame samplers. The play switch gets it to loop, which is cool. There's also a pitch knob which can be moved while recording also, creating interesting warbly effects. They are independent of each other and one can be used to record the other in order to create even lower fi effects. 1/4 inch outputs.

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The Black Tar

A junky dual neck sample guitar. Added touch contacts that alter pitch and painted it even blacker.

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Keyboard with Acrylic Ball

Another favorite little kawasaki keyboard. This one adorned with an acrylic ball that covers a photo cell controlling pitch. 1/4 inch output.

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Music Box

These little decorated childrens music boxes have been altered by removing some of the tines so that only some notes of the original song play, creating a "new" and minimalist piece of music. Something along the lines of Phillip Glass without the glasses.

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Music Box

Another "mechanically bent" music box, this one with a tv theme.

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Orangino Keyboard

Added several glitches which work mostly on the rhythms. Also a vibrato touch knob.

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Happy Sampler

Another Little sampler, this one with a photo cell to control pitch. 1/4 inch jack.

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Silver Forest

Little animal sounds, musical interludes, cool lights showing thru silver paint and a knob that pitches it way low.

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Speakin Hell

Two momentary switches for momentary glitches. A distortion switch, a sentence glitch, a trip switch and a reset switch. I've made more extensive versions, but I've found that less is more when it comes to these things. I like this one a lot.

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Switched on Phonics

Phonetic murmurs, twinkly melodies, some little animal sounds, low pitch knob, Darth Nader switch and a much needed reset switch.

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Juke Audit Meng

This is a little sequencer toy with some fairly retarded sounds that become interesting when pitched differently. I added a photo resistor to alter pitch, a glitch switch, reset switch and a repeat button to keep one sound looping. Very cool.

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Alphabet Sloop

Phonemes Pitched in interesting ways and radical distortion switches. I like these sounds a lot.

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Midnight Train

Choo choo sounds triggered and pitched by touch. Makes for some interesting spasmodic growly sounds.

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Touch n Hell

This thing has a ton of bends: pitch knob, distortion knob, short loop, medium loop, 3 glitches, trip switch. Also, 5 switches replace the original card switches for convenience. Finally, it has a reset switch and a 1/4 inch output. I use it with a trailer hitch ball to hold down and loop the pressure pad points or simply with my hand.

 

Animalskey

Pitch pot, some glitch switches. Lots of great sounds in this toy.

Baby Animal

Pitch pots, reset switch, blue led, contacts, 1/4 inch out.

 

Baby Music Box

 

Bioptronic Reverb

Megaphone delay with a pot controlling delay time, recased. Great dirty delay.

 

Odd Construction Toy

I don't think I'll ever know why this little toy does what it does. It generates what seems like completely random notes.

 

Chicco Train

Added contacts for pitch alteration only. Doesn't need anything else, really.

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All materials, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Jorge W. Davies, 2003, all rights reserved.