Glitchdesk - couture circuit bending

Highly Liquid make expensive, professional-looking circuit bent gear, like this endlessly entertaining Casio SK1 Keytar, and midi kits for the Speak & Spell. Their new thing is the Glitchdesk system. The $249 Bend Workstation is a big banana jack patchbay. You (or more likely Mr Highly Liquid) take your TR-505, or Speak & Math or whatever and run all the contact points out to an RS232 socket. You can plug that into the back of your Glitchdesk, and get instant MIDI control over the bends. It seems like a cool idea and a reasonable price, given the amount of development work that must have gone into it. But the hardcore benders [!] on Get Lofi seem to really hate the idea, because circuit bending is supposed to be all about art and DIY and the real fun is soldering in your own bits and pieces.

nice. of course the core 31337 of the scene will be upset by lowering the bar to entry (and hence diluting their 1337 status), but the end calculation to me is: more people making more music with more interesint gear = rad
Soooo... has anyone heard a circuit-bent machine that can actually be used as a real instrument, rather than just making odd and mostly uncontrollable noises?..
i wonder if the 1337 glitch-core community is also upset about the fact that anyone and their mother could take a random peice of gear, throw it down some stairs and make the same kind of music they do - with much less effort
Well i have look at this and it does seem good for the lazy bender.

If i was to use such a thing it would be to test some bending possibility not for playing music.

I rather poke around with metal object in the naked circuit then of using a machine to connect to and play as a instrument.
ya gotta see it from a glitch point of view.Who of you know a master pianist who is antisynth?Than there are militant synthgeeks who are anti products like this.You still got ppl who are hooked on pre-daw systems who are anti software.You got ppl who are daw users who are anti got reason users who are anti fruity..(chuckles)This product is fly for electro musicians or ppl just looking to make glitch music,,beside glitch and electro shows up in every style nowadays anyway..just the way dnb(back than jungle)slowly worked its way up to car commercials..glitch music and electro are doin the same..doesnt anybody listen ..or are they too busy being fuckin refresh triton is givin you these sounds...unless of course you get the $5 glitch cd on ebay one shot samples and load them into it.
This seems to be a very well made box, but for me the most important part of a modified instrument is the interface...

If you want to make a musical instrument and not just a funny noisemaking device, you usually have to spend as much time on the interface as on the modifications themselves (i.e. what will be used to control specific modifications, where will they be located on the instrument, how will the instrument behave when more than one mods are activated at the same time, etc.).

This box seems to be good for experimentations, but perhaps not as good if you want to create things you can actually play (and not just play with).
Hahahah, no one who doesn't know how to solder and work out appropriately controllable bends will be able to get a damn thing of use out of this.

And yes, incredibly musical things come out of bent devices, and DIY circuits, and synthesizers, and amplified guitars. At the very least, the people who do it have some excellent sample fodder for percussion sounds.
Dammit, that thing is neat. I want one of those in the middle of my circuit bent stuff. But maybe in pink.

As to vitriolix saying that one of these is lowering the bar to entry.. well, the circuit bending entry bar consists of a piece of wire. The only way it could possibly be lowered is if someone takes the screws out of the case for you.

Highly Liquid isn't lowering the bar, they are raising the standard with their MIDI interfaces and fancy control panels.
I think that the people who posted anti HighlyLiquid comments are not all that leet in the first place.
Calling it a "big banana jack patchbay" is a bit of a misnomer; it does more than just allow you to connect one point to another. (have a look at the specs)

I do my circuitbending myself, but not everyone is like that...some people want to pay to have it done, and some people want a little (or a lot) of help. Can't blame anyone for stepping up to the plate for that. I've made instruments for people (for a reasonable price, not like the gouging you see on ebay). Not everyone wants to learn how to solder.

That aside, I recently did business with John (of highlyliquid) for a generic midi kit for a drum machine retrofit I'm working on. He's very helpful and great to do business with. I didn't really want to get into flashing my own PICS, so this was a great solution for me.
"Soooo... has anyone heard a circuit-bent machine that can actually be used as a real instrument, rather than just making odd and mostly uncontrollable noises?.."

Actually that seems to me to be the purpose of this box. The difficulty in using circuit bent gear as a "real instrument" is a result of circuit bent gears randomness. Allowing midi clocks etc. to trigger the bends in sync with the rest of a sequence is a big step in allowing the use of circuit bent gear in a more "musical" sense.

This is the same reason that I am becoming more interested in circuit bent delay units. The somewhat organized repetition of unusual sounds pushes them from noise into a more traditionally musical sense. This box seems to be working in the same direction.

Just my two cents.

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This is very cool. I like the use of midi for creating new sounds from existing devices. Personally, I like the patch bay interface. I think this has great potential as a workstation tool and in performance. Awesome.

Tony Amendolare
I always think it's kind of funny when people ask stuff like "has anyone heard a circuit-bent machine that can actually be used as a real instrument, rather than just making odd and mostly uncontrollable noises?.." ... a real, controllable instrument is the last thing I want; the whole point (for me personalllly please note!) is to turn a 'real' but boring instrument (ie cheap casio) or a toy into something that can make a bunch of odd and uncontrolable noisees!

What I strive for actually is LESS control... ideal would be to build a reallly complex device that would generate sufficiantly interesting/varied noise and/or music without human intervention!

If i wanted control I'd buy a proper synth... probably wouldn't actually be much more expensive than the cost of components and effort for a very complex bending project! :)

(or just use softsynths or whatever actually...)

But I don't.

Well, maybe a bit.
I agree. If you read Reed Ghazala's website (he's the father of circuit bending) he often mention things like "chance sounds" and making use of the unexpected. That's the essence of circuit bending, I believe. You have control but result of your control is some unexpected elements. That's what makes it so fun, you get surprised once in a while when you turn a knob or flick a switch.
There are millions of devices you can buy, that are made from virtual slave labor in China and other places, where you will get very predictable results whenever you turn the knob, etc. But in my humble opinion, you'll also sound like millions of other people who are using the same equipment. (Not to discredit manufactured equipment, I think we all need that stuff, but the fact that circuit bent devices remove of from that cycle of mass consuming is very cool, even if we can only do that in a very small way).
I think that's another very cool thing about circuit bending, the fact that you're recycling instead consuming and polluting. Ghazala also mentions stuff about this, suggesting you not buy new devices to bend, but instead get discarded devices or things from flea markets, etc.

Tony Amendolare
(i keep losing my password, sorry)
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