The Musini began its life as an award-winning toy. The product description is hilarious:
A perfect gift for rambunctious toddlers, the Musini music box provides a constructive way for children to channel their physical and creative energy. While kids step, jump, turn, and tap, the Musini’s patented MusicSensor detects their every move and translates it into a totally unique musical response, teaching cause and effect. A Style Dial encourages children to explore the five different musical styles, ranging from jazz to classical, and musical variation buttons offer four different interpretations of each musical style.
(Some of us rambunctious toddlers here on CDM require decidedly more expensive toys into which we channel our physical and creative energy.)
Of course, the results are interesting, but not as interesting as they could be, so circuit benders have set about modifying the toys. A couple of weeks ago, we saw chronovalve’s ambient musini bend, alongside a very lovely, post-apocalyptic-looking keyboard. Jonathan Williams write in to share his own circuit-bent musinis. His designs may have inspired other benders’ musini hacks; even if not, he’s gone through several generations and added some powerful features:
- “Military-spec” glitch/drone switches (my friends wish they could affix one of these to my skull)
- Photocell opto-theremin for light-sensitive, touchless pitch control (as with any photocell, this opens up the possibility of using lights for modulation, etc.)
- Pitch control knobs for up or down sweeps
- Coming soon: ribbon controller
Here’s what it sounds like:
Jonathan notes he’s been doing this a year, before (to his knowledge) any Musini bends were yet visible:
It seems that once mine appeared it inspired quite a bit of activity with these things. People who had given up on them went back to look again as there was proof of great bends, and many others went out and found them to try bending. Slowly, other people’s versions have started to appear on the web.
There are some features on Jonathan’s bend that don’t appear to be on others, so we’ll give him some bragging rights for sure. He promises a new site soon called Circuitbends.com, which we’ll feature one it goes live. In the meantime, you can see more of his Musini on this archived eBay site: