Thursday, December 11, 2008

Inaugural Meeting of SynthSIG Dec. 10, 2008 UArts

The first meeting of SynthSIG was held on December 10th, 2008 at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, with two engaging presenters, Michael Barker and Brian Biggs. 

Michael is pictured here performing one of his works on the "bent" drum machine.

He gave a great introduction to the realm of circuit bending and showed details of modifications he has made to his Yamaha drum machines.

Brian Biggs presented his approaches to creating sound tracks for his video and animation works. He discussed a variety of software synths and plug-ins he has used including: 

Reason ( and 
Live (
Below are some links and comments that Brian supplied

DrDevice plug-in ( audiodamage below)

Brian sent this information along:
Tom, here's a short list of stuff I think is useful.
The best website for all this, in my opinion:
They have an annual circuit bending contest and they cover soft synths, hardware, oddities, Max/MSP, pretty much the whole gamut. The guy behind the site, Peter Kirn, wrote a terrific book about digital audio called Real World Digital Audio published by Peachpit. There is also a companion site called Create DIgital Motion.

Wire to the Ear is a decidedly un-academic take on matters electronic-musical. Oliver Chesler is a NY-based dark new waver in the tradition of Gary Numan and angry Depeche Mode. He talks about stuff as he actually uses it and even with the poor editing and typos, he's pretty entertaining. He's a big fan of Ableton and posts a lot of useful tricks for Live.
Synthtopia posts WAY too much, like 20-30 a day sometimes, and half of it is just junk. But there is a lot of info about, you know, synths. I find lately that they're just pulling from other sites like Wire to the Ear and Create Digital Music.
This is where I got that crazy kinetic delay I was showing last night. They have three or four other VSTs that I'd like to get.
This is the creator of Synplant. They also designed Malstrom in Reason.
A decent documentary on circuit bending.
Foundsound and Unfoundsound records. Local. LOTS of free music. Mostly clickity glitchy and gets repetetive, but there are some real gems in here. They also post sampled stuff, like a collection of sounds taken at KB Toys in the Galleria on Market Street.

And of course you can search "circuit bending" on YouTube or Vimeo and get a lovely treasure trove of stuff.

Create Digital Music has a pool on Flickr for those of us who like to look at other people's gear.

And I'm not sure how to describe this:

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