Todd Bailey’s “Where’s the Party At?” wants to return to a simpler, glitchier era of sampling. When CDM spoke to Hank Shocklee, Public Enemy’s legendary producer, he talked about how those artists really preferred earlier samplers because of, not in spite of, their flaws. And because lo-fi is a little easier to pull off, this makes a great project.

WTPA is an open source 8-bit digital sampler kit, designed to be hacker and bender friendly. Inspired by the preponderance of wack samplers proliferating in music today, WTPA brings back the fun, the danger, and the aliasing errors.

Todd tells CDM more:

There’s a video of me fiddling with a Bach piece with WTPA on the website: (direct link)

It’s an older version of the firmware that doesn’t support MIDI yet — lately I tend to control it a lot from my MPK49 rather than messing with the tact switches and small pots on the kit’s PCB.

My plans are to go into production on the kit pretty soon. Short story:

I built a prototype run for Bent 2008 [circuit bending festival] and a few people built them and gave me feedback. I also played out with it a lot and found some things I’d like to change. Right now I’ve finished designing the next hardware revision and am laying out the PCB. Once I get it back I’ll have firmware to rewrite, and I’ll probably send it to some people to build and use and get feedback, and then the real thing will come out.

So far the only practical release is in kit form, but I’d sort of like to sell a finished version, too, because I really think this sampler will kick the ass of many other SRAM (loop) based samplers out there (I’m talking to you, Line 6) and I think a lot of people who are musically savvy but not technically savvy would be interested in using it. And not just guitar players.

Todd also says he’s into others hacking away / modifying his design, so enjoy! I hope to catch up with Todd soon in either Chicago or New York and get a closer look.

This project was also part of Make Magazine’s recent American Maker event in Chicago, which featured various other excellent musical (and non-musical) projects. Hmmm… New York, anyone?

  • Andreas

    Right, I would absolutely love to build this. I would need a full kit though since I suck at sourcing parts. I rock at spending cash though. Hint hint. 😉

  • TheCragon

    Hmmmmm…. Tasty! I want one!

  • yes. do want.

  • link to parts or schematics pls <3

  • jane

    i would like one to. kit please?

  • lematt


    i totally want 1 or 2 !

    it's awesome.
    no link to the kits yet ?

  • Gimme!! I want one of these to play alongside my Arduino-based PocketPiano from critterguitari! 🙂

  • jim warrier

    Very nice. Will be wanting to get my hands on one of the to use with my existing bending projects.

  • Todd's a super-smart guy bursting with great ideas. He doesn't even mention here his band Voltage and his hand-built guitar-controlled synth. And he throws a wicked geek-party.

    Word from Bent '08 was that these samplers rule. I also am anxiously awaiting the release of the kits.

  • I want one of these, I periodically check WTPA site to see if they are selling already!

  • kick ass. I've seen the results. It's pretty dope.

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  • piezo

    Bending something "bender-friendly" is not really bending, is it?

  • @piezo: I disagree … most things getting bent are indeed bender-friendly, in that they have easily-accessed contact points. And I think circuit bending, philosophically, like other hardware hacks in design generally, is more about turning something into something else.

  • piezo

    I thought the philosophy of bending was to extend/modify hardware against its original purpose and maybe even damaging it. ï&frac14;´ï&frac12;ˆï&frac12;t'ï&frac12;“ obviously not the case if the intended purpose already includes such modifications.
    Same with hacking: If it doesn't break some barriers I'd rather call it programming or development – which is fine.
    However, I don't know much about it and maybe my definition of beding is indeed a little narrow.

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  • @piezo, of course it depends on who you ask, but here's what Reed Ghazala has to say on the subject:

    "Circuit-bending is an electronic art which implements creative audio short-circuiting. This renegade path of electrons represents a catalytic force capable of exploding new experimental musical forms forward at a velocity previously unknown. Anyone at all can do it; no prior knowledge of electronics is needed. The technique is, without a doubt, the easiest electronic audio design process in existence."

    "The circuit-bent instrument, often a re-wired audio toy or game, is an alien instrument: alien in electronic design, alien in voice, alien in musician interface. Through this procedure, all around our planet, a new musical vocabulary is being discovered. A new instrumentarium is being born."

    In other words, it's Reed's "anti-theory" — discovering contact points / making creative use of the short circuit — that really matters. So I think it's perfectly legitimate to design a DIY device with the knowledge that you might find those contact points and use it in that way, and I think that's absolutely bending. Reed, by the way, treats his creations as creatures and gives them eyes, and tends more toward "evolve" than "break." Interesting philosophically, I think.

  • 4lefts

    i wants. just adding my voice to wall of sounds.

  • I'z alsoz wantz onez. That's great.

    Oh, and Reed Ghazala wrote in his book that he often makes many instruments "to theory" just so that he can bend them later…

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