20 Seconds to a Synth: Zero-Input Sounds from Cheap PC Speakers

Our digital world tends to accumulate layers of detritus, much of it banal remains – orphaned cords and power adapters. And then there are cheap computer speakers, which you might think have achieved some sort of means of asexual reproduction. They’re everywhere: on shelves, in closets, given away, left on the street. It’s time to look at them another way. Grab that cord dangling from the back, and plug it into the front. Result: instant feedback loop, a zero-input sound system. Okay, yes, a simple idea – but that’s the beauty of sound, making noise with simple ideas. Moscow-based Alexander …

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Voltage into Generative Pixels, and Other Lo-Fi, Recycled Art

Today on Create Digital Music, we examine DeFunct/ReFunct, the latest installment of a touring (Ireland, France, Germany) collective working with repurposed, rescued refuse technology: Art From Trash, as ReFunct Media Makes a Symphony from Obsolete Gear [Videos] The group works both in sounds and image, so here I’ll echo what I say there in visual form. (I feel, far from conflicted, that I’ve done my job if I find things that fit into both sites.) Benjamin Galoun [aka Recyclism] makes work that, of all of these, is perhaps the most elemental. It’s just voltage applied to a screen, but in …

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refunct

Art From Trash, as ReFunct Media Makes a Symphony from Obsolete Gear [Videos]

Obsolescence: it seems inescapable, as generations of old gear are replaced with shiny, new ones. But one person’s discarded electronic trash can be an artist’s electronic treasure. ReFunct Media is a collaborative to make something out of all that used junk. In parades of strange, twitching machines and orchestras of electronic noise, gear goes from landfill fodder to art stars. The collective effort has made its way from Ireland (Imoca, RuaRed) to France (Gaité Lyrique) to, most recently, Berlin and the LEAP gallery, where we catch up with it in the form of some raucous video documentation. The artists themselves …

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Dreamcast Arcade Stick as MIDI Controller

As touchscreens grow in popularity, let’s pause to reflect on the joy of the tangible, the physical. Juda (oneworldoneband.com) writes to share his rig coupling the Sega Arcade Controller for the Dreamcast game system with a computer. The ingredients: one terrific Sega game controller, one USB adapter, one Max/MSP app called MultiControl (runs via runtime if you don’t have Max), and then MIDI into whatever app you desire. This is an easy formula to follow if you happen to have any similar controllers around – or if you get lucky in summer garage sale season. (Other sticks for consoles like …

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Garage Sale Audio: Digital Reverb/Delay from Floppy Drives

With May fast approaching, garage sale season is kicking off in the US. For the DIY crowd, that means a lot of digging through piles of obsolete technology in the hopes of finding something useable, then bargaining with the seller to pay as little for it as possible. This year, you can add 3.5″ floppy drives and disks to your shopping list, courtesy of Daniel McAnulty’s project Floppy Audio Effects. Dan figured out a couple of neat tricks to create delay/reverb effects by writing audio to the disks directly, then reading that information back using a tape head.

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Two Garbage Cans and a Microphone

From the suggestion box at CDM, we’re taking a look at DIY party-rocking sound system technology from the birth of Hip-Hop. Ed.: Resident DIY expert and editor-at-large Michael Una returns – and the man has been known to do strange things with speakers himself. Say you’re an up-and-coming crew with a turntable and some mics. You’ve got a gig this Friday at the middle school gym (the janitor has been bribed appropriately) and the boys on the corner have been passing out your flyers to all the lovely ladies. Everything’s set, except you heard that Kool Herc is coming to …

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