Standuino π [pi] synced with frauAngelico + microGranny from standuino on Vimeo.

Once the stuff of noise art oddity — isolated electronic experiments staying mostly on the test table — the DIY instrument is starting to find friends and form ensembles. And so it is that Czech instrument design mad scientists Standuino have assembled a clever little suite of open boards, happily chirping and glitching and droning together in musical harmony.

So, before we start delving into the esoteric number theory of the new “π” drone synth, behold as their three creations play together in the video at top. There’s even sync. And a groove. An exceptionally odd groove, but a groove nonetheless. This is what KORG’s Volcas are like in a really strange alternate universe. (In that universe, KORG doesn’t worry about exposing raw circuit boards on the outside of the case. And maybe everyone wears their underwear on the outside of their pants, like superheroes.)


Back to π, though. It has a manifesto worthy of the illuminati. And it makes sounds that resemble someone on the hidden Rebel base tuning in their radar. Or maybe of a rave with the Borg. (Yes, I’m mixing Trek and Wars. Blame J.J. Abrams and Barack Obama.)

Here’s what it sounds like:

I especially love the handmade carry case. This is something that is missing in a lot of commercial products.

Now, who’d like a nice slice of pi?

π is infinite transcendental number. It represents circle – the symbol of unity, universe and spirit. The limited edition of this very special instrument is mysterious as π itself. It gives you infinite ground to explore. You can`t get total control of it. You rather have a partner that can find your needs. There are 3 different randomizers to get deep into its sound possibilities and patchable clock sequencer. It is field for exploration in the mathematical world of sounds … and circles.

Lost? Okay, they also share these stats:

several oscillators, wavetables and synthesis types
settings accessed by randomizers
4 presets
patchable clock sequencer
internal clock or MIDI clock divider
MIDI input
UV leds
numbered limited edition

As I understand it, there’s lots of Arduino magic powering all the variants of their boards. And then they start mixing and matching clever and weird interface conventions to make instruments that are unpredictable, unstable state machines that tread a line between tuning in sounds and creating musical surprise. But the results are clever. More on the experiments with my own soon.