Handmade Music is a community get-together, Science Fair, noise-making happening, and party for people making things that make music. We return to NYC on Sunday, August 29 at 7p. Our new Manhattan home is Culturefix, a new electronics boutique, gallery, and tapas bar on the Lower East Side.

This month, we welcome a classically-trained guitar duo using their instruments to play games, an original string-modeling instrument, a sonic dodecahedron sculpture (really), artists using game chips, and more. Last-minute creations are always welcome.

If you’re in New York, we definitely hope to see you Sunday night. And wherever you are, it’s my pleasure to introduce some of the artists we have involved.

Presented with our friends at Make Magazine, Etsy.com, and XLR8R.

THIS SUNDAY, August 29, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM (come at the beginning, or miss stuff!)
In Manhattan, at 9 Clinton St
(cash bar/food… and you might decide to buy some designer headphones, just be forewarned)

Facebook page

That’s right. “Look at this ****ing nerdster…”

Modal Kombat: Guitarists Playing Games

David Hindman and Evan Drummond describe their act, coupling classical guitar training with a love of games:

Guitar Hero Is Dead: Guitarists Use Real Guitars to Control Video Games in a hybrid concert / public video game battle

Forget about using a plastic guitar to mimic your favorite band. What if you could use a real guitar just like any other video game joystick — and thrash your opponent while you create original music?

Two classically-trained New York City guitarists calling themselves “Modal Kombat” have hacked into classic video games Pong, Tetris, Mortal Kombat and Mario Kart. This month at The Boulder International Fringe Festival, they’ll make their characters move — and battle against each other — with a flurry of guitar-plucking.

The show is a video-game battle/performance-art hybrid that’s open to the public. The goal is to demonstrate that real guitars — or other musical instruments — can be viable video game controllers.

About Modal Kombat:
Modal Kombat is a NYC-based performance group consisting of Yale School of Music alumni David Hindman and Evan Drummond. For the past five years, they’ve performed public guitar-controlled video game battles at various venues in Europe, New York City, and around the U.S.

Before the game Guitar Hero was released, Hindman was an NYU grad student, developing hardware and software that allowed real musical instruments to control various types of existing console video games. In 2004, he created the system that became the basis for Modal Kombat shows. At each show, various musical pitches, volume levels, and other musical parameters are programmed to trigger each character’s movement, such as Left, Right, Punch or Jump.


Smomid: Original String-Modeling Instrument

Nick Demopoulos has devised his own instrument from custom hardware and software:

The Smomid is a homemade midi controller. It’s name is an acronym for “String Modeling Midi Device.” It is made with the use of several membrane potentiometers, knobs and switches.


Neurohedron: Nonlinear Sequencer, Dodecahedronal Sculpture

Handmade Music favorite Ted Hayes brings a novel modal hardware/software combination, part original application, part original sculpture, as presented at the NIME research conference:

Traditional music sequencers are designed fundamentally around predictability and repetition, and these are powerful elements that make them so ubiquitous. More modern approaches to algorithmic composition heavily involve unpredictability and randomness that is then (sometimes) tamed and manipulated by the composer, resulting in a nonlinear compositional and performative process.

The Neurohedron is a novel music instrument and modal software controller that I conceived of as a nonlinear sequencer. The simplest traditional sequencers may employ eight steps that return to the first step after reaching the last step; in contrast, the Neurohedron is a three dimensional sequencer with twelve nodes arranged as a dodecahedron. With this structure, there is no clear or de facto path that the progression from one node to the next may take, unlike the linear and prescribed nature of a traditional sequencer.

Neurohedron: First working video!! from Tedb0t on Vimeo.

Lots and lots of additional information (including more videos, documentation explaining the process and software design, and the NIME research paper):

Presented by Pulsewave: Chip Music Open Mic

For some of you, I imagine that a world that has tasty New York beers, organic tapas, and chip music playing is pretty close to heaven. The good folks of New York’s famed Pulsewave series team up with us to provide us handheld chip music.

Thanks to the awesome Peter Swimm for making this happen.


Square Wail: Square Wail is Matthew and Rebecca Kenall running an assortment of handhelds. They like fat beats with old timey melodies and try to infuse their music with such. Hailing from Seattle they are coming to the East Coast for the first time (except for once when Rebecca had a layover at JFK).

2010 Aug 10 – OMG Franz – Brooklyn – Dapantz from EM Dash on Vimeo.

Walking Like We Were Shot Through Our Heads by DaPantz

DaPantz (seen in video, heard in SoundCloud above, and with his own free EP):

Uptown New York’s satirically named DaPantz has been known to shout “BX HOLLA BACK” with reckless abandon. Often eschewing structure in favor of mood, he creates chaotic industrial, hip-hop and Latin flavored dance-punk on the Nintendo Game Boy. Using the homebrew cartridge LSDJ, DaPantz fuses heavy beats and a dissonant use of melody with the more unsettling side of the human psyche, creating the soundtracks to your nightmares (but reminding you that it’s okay to dance to them).

January 2010 – Kris Keyser at Bar Matchless from EM Dash on Vimeo.

<a href="http://kriskeyser.bandcamp.com/track/radionecrosis">Radionecrosis by Kris Keyser</a>

Kris Keyser is just another guy with a Game Boy. Having hopped from instrument to instrument in his over 10 years of music making, Kris has finally found his perfect match in the portable powerhouse known as Little Sound DJ. In his relatively short time in the chip scene, Kris has jumped from relative unknown to relative known,playing chipscene institutions I/O and Pulsewave and making countless feet move and brains melt. Kris looks forward to a 2010 release on Cheese’N’Beer.

<a href="http://<img decoding="async" loading="lazy" src="https://cdm.link/files/2010/08/adamgetsawesome.jpg" alt="" title="adamgetsawesome" width="479" height="720" class="alignnone size-full wp-image-13039" srcset="https://cdm.link/app/uploads/2010/08/adamgetsawesome.jpg 479w, https://cdm.link/app/uploads/2010/08/adamgetsawesome-200x300.jpg 200w" sizes="(max-width: 479px) 100vw, 479px" />getsawesome.com/album/aga&#8221;>erbdydnc by AdamGetsAwesome</a>

AdamGetsAwesome has been spreading beer-fueled mayhem across the world since 2008. Using the LSDJ program on the Nintendo Game Boy, Adam creates melodies ranging from the sickeningly sweet to the hauntingly atmospheric, always bringing a healthy dose of PARTY to every performance. His debut EP “AGA” is not only the inaugural CNB release, but also an exercise in actions befitting his namesake. Party.”

Website/free EP download: http://adamgetsawesome.com/album/aga

Phototheremin Chorus

Registration is now closed for the workshop, but we’ll be inviting creators of our phototheremin kit, designed by Eric Archer after an original design by Forrest Mims, to come play their instruments – boys, girls, adults, and kids.

Check out the kit.

The Party

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Sunday August 29
7:00 – 10:00 PM (come early)
Culturefix details

Yes, it’s free.

Yes, kids are allowed. (just not at the bar)

RSVP on Facebook.