Works For Turntable from Stephen Cornford on Vimeo.

Digital sound, and electronic sound in general, can become abstract. In fact, sound itself can be abstract. So there’s something beautiful about rendering sound as something kinetic, mechanical, and physical. Watch the hypnotic works by Stephen Cornford, top; as the video progresses, the pieces deepen in subtlety. (Thanks to Richard Devine for spotting this one.)

Cornford isn’t the only artist finding new sonic frontiers in the turntable. From a recent event in San Francisco sponsored by our friends at MAKE Magazine, artist Walter Kitundu talks about his own fascination with the turntable and other sonic projects.

Exploratorium multimedia artist, instrument builder, and birder extraordinaire Walter Kitundu talks about his work: he shares the staggering breadth of his work, ranging from a multitude of turntable-based instruments to shadow paintings, and to finish gives a premiere performance on his brand new instruments, a digital kora.

That’s just one video at an event that also included digital music software artist Ge Wang and acoustic instrument maker Krys Bobrowski. Youngsters at the event also got to solder contact mics and go experiment in the space – a nice idea, and one I hope we exploit for an upcoming Handmade Music Night (here in NYC, but elsewhere, too). I have my own preferred quick-and-dirty Radio Shack contact mic procedure, but if anyone has other ideas, pipe up.

Well worth checking out the whole event – and nice that they shot high-quality video.
Open MAKE at the Exploratorium: Exploring sound

Meet the Makers: Walter Kitundu from Learning Studio on Vimeo.

  • PooPoo the Korruptah

    wow, nothing new here.
    I knew a guy down here doing this 15 years ago, and he rekons he got it from someone else when he was at college. 20-30 years ago.

  • PooPoo the Korruptah

    the best thing ive seen done with a turntable are these zoetropes by Sculpture. Their music is great too. Check it out.

  • Nice links.

    I'm still partial to that vibrating chaise longue controlled by turntable. Turntables giving massages? My kind of turntable.

  • Michael Una

    Both of these are awesome. Walter Kitundu has a lot of good ideas.

  • Mike, you did a turntable piece at one point, yeah?

  • JollyRogered

    Reminds me a bit of the Baschet brothers' sound sculptures
    see –
    I was lucky enough to catch an exhibition of theirs in Bristol about 20 years ago – really inspiring stuff. Always fancied building something like them and hooking them up to some transducers…
    Check out some of the Cristal Baschet videos on youtube – those things make some awesome sounds.

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  • really inventive guy , and his music is quiet cool too !
    thanks for the link

  • Also reminds me of Brian Reitzell's soundtrack for 30 Days of Night where he attached various things to a 280RPM pottery wheel.

  • Great post. Thanks!

  • Greg

    Is this digital?

  • The Radio Shack contact mic is a perfectly serviceable design, and to be completely honest, you'd be hard-pressed to build anything that would work better. The only catch is that you need to use a preamp/DI with a very high impedance unbalanced input. Interfaces with 1Mohm "instrument inputs" will work fine. My Zoom H4 has an unbalanced 470kohm in, and it works quite well.

    It's funny my seeing that statement, just minutes after I got home from Radio Shack with the parts to make a couple of contact mics. 🙂

  • The woodworking craftsmanship on display here is top-notch. It opens up a whole new line of music geek questions: "Dude, what kind of band saw do you use?"

  • Just use a piezo, they are amazing! (and cheap)

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