Tired of conventional instrumentation? How about toy robots named Freddy and Teddy, a violin with a bow made out of cassette tape, and a synthesizer assembled from a 1960s electric guessing game?

We have a special guest performance for the next Handmade Music party, organized by CDM in New York with Etsy.com and Make Magazine. The Mister Resistor ensemble features various musical oddities — electronic and acoustic — created by students at Parsons The New School for Design.

Mister Resistor – the video from ranjit on Vimeo.

Mister Resistor Preview 1 from ranjit on Vimeo.

The course is taught by Ranjit Bhatnagar, who’s been a regular at Handmade Music with robotic Theremins, MIDI ironing boards, and other alternative instruments. Ranjit explains how the course works:

Background: for the last few years I’ve been teaching a studio class in Parsons’ department of Design & Technology (that’s the multimedia & physical computing department). The class is called Mister Resistor, and it’s about making homemade instruments and performing with them. I introduce the students to circuit bending, simple acoustics, synthesis, and the like, and get them making and playing their own instruments. The “final exam” for the class is a public concert. Last year’s class did their concert at the Flux Factory gallery in Queens, in the midst of a giant sound sculpture I’d worked on.

I know we have other instructors out there, so if you use similar techniques in your class (or would like to), let us know about it!

I’ll be flying all the way from Australia back to New York to co-host Mister Resistor on Sunday at another installment of Handmade Music. Various other reasons this one is special:

  • I’ll be hosting a free workshop using a ribbon controller electronics kit from PAiA Corporation. Even the kits are free to makers, until we run out. (More on that kit and how to get it wherever you are soon.) You can do the whole thing without soldering, even if you’ve never done this before.
  • We’ll have free beverages, supplied by Function Drinks.
  • It’s in Manhattan, not in Brooklyn — our friends at Etsy Labs hooked up a fantastic space in SoHo called openhousegallery, 201 Mulberry Street near Spring Street.
  • It’s in the afternoon (2-5p), rather than at night. And you can still catch the NYU ITP show Monday. (Just go; you’ll understand.)
  • As always, if you’re in town, stop by and bring your own projects for show and tell if you like. (Hint: they don’t even have to function properly. We’re relaxed like that.)

Once again, that’s Sunday, 12/16, 201 Mulberry Street in SoHo, completely free, you’ll hear great music, and you’ll learn to make electronics without soldering even if you never have before.

Invite and ensemble details + music, misterresistor.com
Handmade Music Event on Facebook

Speaking of events, there’s been so much awesomeness and I’ve been so very much in Australia that I’ve gotten way behind, so apologies about some cool events I didn’t get up. I would be remiss, though, in not pointing to another ensemble, partly because you can go while I’m in a 747 over the Pacific, but mostly because I hope by second semester we’ll have massive battle of the band competitions between these things. NYU’s own NIME ensemble after the jump.

Oh, and to the 95% of readers not in New York, a calendar for CDMworld is definitely in the works so we can share the love.

From our friend the insanely busy Jamie Allen:

NIME @ Exit Art
475 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY
In collaboration with R. Luke DuBois’ ‘Algorithmic Composition’

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Performances 8PM-11PM
Installations begin at 7PM

NIME: New Interfaces for Musical Expression.
NIME: creating new performance tools for digital music.
NIME: a graduate course at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).

In the sixth annual NIME end-of-semester performance, students will perform on a series of newly designed electronic instruments that aim to keep the “live” in live performance of digital music. The NIME performances are presented by ITP instructors Jamie Allen and Gideon D’Arcangelo. ITP students from R. Luke DuBois’ “Algorithmic Composition” class will present installations and performances as part of the evening’s proceedings.

Computer music is usually played with a keyboard and mouse. Laptop musicians often sit at a desk and give performances that are little more than watching someone engage in “office gestures.” The idea behind NIME is to go beyond the mouse and keyboard, beyond even piano keyboards and drum pads, and develop performance tools that make the most out of the new opportunities that digital music offers.

NIME students answer questions like:
– “What will the next generation of musical instruments look like?”
– “What will they be able to do that traditional instruments can’t already do?”
– “What aspects of traditional instruments will we want to retain in digital instruments?””

Over the course of this year’s 14-week course, students are developing projects such as an musical weaving loom, a instrument made of speakers that feed back and make glorious noise, an augmented rocking chair, a musical abacus and a host of others.

Jamie Allen 347-563-5941, jamie@nyu.edu
Gideon D’Arcangelo 917-750-6950, gideon@nyu.edu

George Agudow 212-998-1891, george.agudow@nyu.edu

475 Tenth Avenue (at 36th Street)
New York, NY 10018
(212) 966-7745