The Swarmatron, made infamous by The Social Network, is just one of the crazy sonic creations we’ll be seeing this weekend. Photo credit: Joshua Sarner.

This weekend in North Adams, Massachusetts at MASS MoCA, the band Wilco is gathering their very own music and arts festival, Solid Sound. It’s become a real oasis of unique programming, musical and otherwise, and I’m pleased to be a part of it. Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen and I put together a showcase of some of the best musical builders and DIYers. We’ll be gathering this weekend and talking to all the artists, so any questions you have, we’ll have answers, wherever you are in the world, from Massachusetts to Moscow to Madeira to Macau.

Handmade Music Lounge is presented by Moog Music, who themselves build their instruments by hand in North Carolina, carrying on the legacy of Bob Moog. Dr. Moog, of course, got his start building Theremins while still a student, so we believe that the lifeblood of electronic musical invention – and a great gateway into understanding electronics, physics, math, and culture – is DIY.

Here’s the lineup — and plenty of video inspiration to get you familiar with the broad spectrum of what people are doing in electronic instrument making and invention today! Queue it up and watch…

Latest tracks by casperelectronics

Peter Edwards, casperelectronic
A brand new analog sound and light super synth from a master of circuit building and bending.

Todd Bailey, Where’s the Party At 2
The debut of a new open source, 8-bit sampler, in the spirit of lo-fi samplers employed in early hip hop.

Peter Kirn, MeeBlip and
A hackable, affordable, open source synthesizer with MIDI anyone can use, backed by a growing community of hundreds of synthesists, new and expert.

Jeff Snyder, Snyderphonics
Sophisticated multi-touch homebrewed instruments for futuristic Bluegrass music and alternative tunings.

Brian and Leon Dewan, Dewanatron
Part sculpture, part solid-state instruments, original analog creations. Recently featured by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross in the Social Network soundtrack.

See also:
DIY Wizards Build Otherworldly Synths for Trent Reznor: Video [Motherboard; video, top]
The New Yorker interview

Travis Thatcher, Voice of Saturn
Original synthesizers and sound and performance control creations, as produced for a variety of music including Animal Collective.

Christopher Kucinski and Owen Osborn, Critter and Guitari
From pocket pianos to video synthesizers, new electronic designs are portable works of art.

Ranjit Bhatnagar
Among other creations — the 8-bit violin is an acoustic violin for a digital age, cut from plywood by a laser-cutter but playable as a conventional violin.

And now we hear Ranjit is bringing an instrument packed by JELL-O

Lara Grant, Felted Signal Processing
Felted Signal Processing is an arts and research project focused on soft interface design and sensor development (

Josh Silverman, Synplode
Synplode is an interactive, rhythmic dance floor pulsing with light and sound.

Brendan Gaffney, Burnheart Synthesizers
Crafted in wood and electronics, Casper Electronics collaborator Brendan makes wonderful synths, modulars, and effects.

…and our hosts, Moog Music, are showing off a prototype

The Handmade Music Lounge is made possible with support from Moog.

Chief Engineer Cyril Lance is coming to the Handmade Music Lounge to talk with our other makers about the craft of designing musical instruments. And he’s bringing along the latest Moogerfooger, the Cluster Flux. That means CDM will also get a unique first hands-on with the instrument’s prototype during its first venture out into the wild. Previously:
Moogerfooger Cluster Flux: Flanger + Chorus + Vibrato + LFO; Pricing and Availability Details

I’m actually really pleased that readers did ask some tough questions about the new Moogerfooger in comments on that story, and I’ll make sure we get those questions addressed directly to the engineer. Talking to the actual engineer and not just going through the filter of marketing is really important to me.

If you’ve got more – particularly those from an engineering perspective – let us know.

I’m also excited to mix and mingle someone working with a major-name maker and some of the folks on the DIY side of things.

You know where to find them: