There are no limits to the new forms the once bargain-priced Casio SK-1 synthesizer can take, transformed by circuit bending. But whereas most circuit-bending involves hacks with wires, bending superstar Gijs Gieskes goes further, by building a large mechanical apperatus to trigger the bent sounds. Gijs sent this link last week and I didn’t get to talk about it, so here it is:

Gijs Gieskes Casio SK Circuit Bend [Project page; warning: color scheme may frighten animals and small children]

See also: Get LoFi: Gijs SK-1 Mechanical Glitch Mod, at the best bending blog online

There’s a lot going on here:

  1. A giant mechanical patch arm triggers different bends; patch it into whatever you want to control, and it triggers different results
  2. Internal step sequencer
  3. Arpeggiator controlling pitch
  4. Handy home-built suitcase for travel

Look at those wiring diagrams, too; if I had to learn electronics this way I think my head would explode. Somewhere, Forrest Mims scratches his head.

And the results sound like … mice … exploding.

MP3 samples

For this to make sense, watch the movie, which is strangely entrancing both to watch and hear. (Note how impossible it is to tell how the sounds resulting relate to anything you see going on.)

Previous Gijs hits here on CDM:

Build Your Own Game Boy-Synced Hardware Sequencer Machine

Gameboy Music with LSDJ: Workshops, Tips, Photos, MP3s

Walkman Sequencer: Tape + Homebrew Sequencer + Nintendo Game Boy

[tags]circuit-bending, electronics, DIY, oddities, hardware, synths, retro[/tags]

  • Peter,

    Nice report. While scratching my head it occurred to me that this kind of apparatus distantly resembles the automated and R/C controlled robots in the increasingly common robotics competitions. Maybe this is a good way to get novices into electronics and mechanics. At the rate we are slowing down in engineering, anything will help.

  • Forrest,

    Wonderful to hear from you, and my feeling is as long as we have writers like you, engineering will ultimately be safe.

    I was kidding, of course, but Gijs' unorthodox approach to design (among other circuit benders) can be exactly the kind of project that gets people into electronics.


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