A bit of what you should know about event power and electrical safety

Ted Pallas contacted us and wanted to create a short primer on power, in response to the terrible fire at Ghost Ship in Oakland, CA. Any fire anywhere is a reminder that knowledge of electricity, how it works and how it impacts safety, is essential to any of us organizing or playing electronic music live. This won’t provide everything you need to know, by a longshot, but it’s a good step toward knowing a bit more, and I hope we continue taking those steps together in future. The rub of electronic music and visual media is that both performance and …


One new board turns into a complete sound and light lab

This board could be the first time you learn about wiring simple circuits. It could transform into a weirdo light-powered instrument. It could be a place you hold a workshop. It could even become an advanced studio for creative circuits. It’s powerful if you know what you’re doing. It’s still cool if you don’t. The OMSynth miniLab realizes a dream hardware inventor and artist Pete Edwards had been brewing for years. He tested that dream in iteration after iteration in workshops, usually involving bags of circuits and breadboards (the latter allowing for solder-free connections). And it moved with him to …


20 oscillators in 20 minutes is action sports, comic gold

It’s an edge-of-your-seat race against the 555. Our friend Darsha Hewitt went up in front of one of the world’s nerdiest crowds: the Chaos Computer Club’s Chaos Communication Congress gathering in Germany. Whereas some people guzzle bubbly and lean in for kisses and watch balls drop at the turn of a new year, the legendary geekfest involves a marathon of hard-core hacking and discussion, political and provocative. And Darsha didn’t make it easy for herself. She set out to build twenty analog oscillator circuits in just twenty minutes. Maybe that’s not so hard if no one’s watching, but try doing it under watchful eyes, …


DIY Hardware and Controller Enclosures: MachineCollective Progressing Towards September Launch

It’s been a couple of months since Peter mentioned MachineCollective – the open, DIY modular controller enclosure system – on CDMu, and they haven’t been sitting on their hands during that time. has been updated with lots of new pictures and information, and they’ve even dropped a potential price point: €25-35. Despite a couple of visualist-specific controllers – Ohm, VMX VJ, NuVJ – we generally have to make our controller choices from the gear designed for electronic musicians. We see a lot of inventive combinations of hardware and software solutions for VJing, but we also need some good, accessible, …


MachineCollective: Open, DIY Modular Controller Platform Coming Soon

Something very funny has happened in the world of music controllers. It started with the rising popularity of Ableton Live, along with the likes of Reaktor and Max/MSP, as musicians started creating more dynamic, rich live performances with computers. Supposedly, this shift should have created new controller designs. If Live was the killer app, where was the killer hardware? Instead, what we’ve gotten is a sort of primordial soup of controller experimentation, with people hacking together circuits, appropriating Wii remotes, abusing and warping commercial controllers, and generally resisting any standardization. The results have been, in short, fabulously chaotic. And maybe …