Reed Ghazala, the father of circuit bending and a truly unique artist, sends along the wacky world of his paintbox, now upgraded for the Web 2.0 age as a flickr set. He writes:

“I just put up a flickr gallery your patrons might like, fulla all kinds of Make-ish (and Mac-ish) stuff.

“Maybe your online visitors will like (see Waits’ megaphone, Incantor diagrams, modded cameras, weird ideas, experiments, etc.).”

I expect you patrons will like it. “weird” and “bizarre” do get included as tags, so at least you don’t have to feel like only you think it’s a bit strange when a coconut inexplicably mates with a circuit board. There’s plenty of fascinating art, too, much of it computer-made. And, as usual, builders will find plenty of brilliant musical instrument inspiration, like Tom Waits’ electronic singing carafe, pictured here. Wired apparently isn’t hard-core enough to put Ghazala’s work on their cover, but if they did, it’d look like this:

My Paintbox (Ghazala, graphic design)

  • Damon


    Semi on or off the subject, I am curious if anyone is doing something like this. If they are not, and I inspire some guy to put it together, I just hope I shall receive a blessing from above or some pleasant karma from below, as I understand it.

    Now, I am sure I am not the only person to think this up, but it would seem to be an idea that will come if it is not in transit already. The idea simply be, a hardware synth box shell designed to run the soft synth of your choice.

    I see a desktop or rack type unit about the shape and size of a virus or maybe a Korg ES1 sampler type thing. It would be easy to carry around or bolt into a rig, and would have a modest size screen, just large enough to give you some solid feedback on envelopes or values, and a truck load of pots a sliders where you could screw in as many knobs or sliders as your chosen application required.

    You could then create your own synth in Reaktor or Tassman, pipe it into the device, tie the visuals into the screen and connect all the control sources to the number of knobs and sliders you want to install for said application. This would allow the creative software minded person to convert any soft synth into a dedicated, non laptop shaped, hardware synth for performance. Basically, it would be complex and not very cheap, but it would have a usability that would far out distance such very cool devices as the Lemur.

    Such a thing would probably sell so well, when properly refined, that a typical synth person might be able to afford 2 or 3, allowing him to take his software dreams into the heart of his performance.

    There! If such a device is not yet on some drawing board, I have just given away what could turn out to be a million dollar idea. You are welcome! And are free to send me a gratuity feel inclined so you.



  • creepjoint

    been out for a few years

    enjoy your karmic gratuity


  • Damon

    Feel free to elaborate on that, but only if you want…!

    Thanks for The Love,


  • Actually, Damon, what you're describing to me is quite different from the OpenLabs box if I hear you correctly. I would think a much more compact solution could be possible — just a CPU, integrated graphics, and simple audio and MIDI (and Ethernet, perhaps, for OSC) I/O. The focus could then be on the touchscreen.

    Also worth watching out for: you may see new, more affordable multi-touch interfaces that could be embedded in displays. But with single-touch, you could probably hack something together from a bare-bones display and Mac mini for under $1000. 😉 This would be a lot more affordable and compact than the Open Labs device.

  • ocp

    Not quite but close:

  • Damon

    Ya, the Open Labs things are amazing, but I was thinking more along the lines of the above mentioned Muse unit, but with the shape and form of an actual hardware synth. As a matter of fact, I imagine someone with a bit of electronics expertise could theoretically hack the Muse box and stuff the contents into a configurable hardware synth type unit.

    The mac mini is a great platform for that as well, but the Muse as a foundation would be easier to wire with pots, dials, and LCD. But with a Mac Mini, you could probably just tear down a midi controller and stuff the contents of that and the mac mini into a more dedicated box. But by then, you have sort of strayed away from the virtual hardware synth idea, and just cleverly packaged a mac mini and a midi controller. And the issues of amplification. Both quite do-able though.