Some people claim electronic music is the work of the devil. Inventor Ewa Justka creates things that could actually prove it.
Ewa is a Glasgow, Scotland UK-based, Polish-born sound artist, musician, and inventor. She can bang her way through a raw techno set, she can blind you wish flashing lights driven by homemade circuits, or she can open a gateway to evil realms in unbridled noise – all of this at festivals like CTM, Unsound, Insomnia, and Sonic Acts. But she also builds fantastic instruments of her own – and you can buy them for your own abuse, or if you’re lucky, catch her at a workshop and make it for yourself.
There’s the Ladder to Hell, a synthesizer. It started as a resonant ladder filter a la Moog, but devolved into something far more distorted and psychotic. There’s a WASP filter in there, too. There are SCREAM and DRIVE knobs that are … not tame. You can input CV to the Moog and Wasp filters – that’s resonance on the Wasp filter, for some real punishment.
Self-oscillate or even make some subtler distorted timbres, too.
It’s as effective as a sound processor as it is as a synth, thanks to an audio input. Check the manual and full specs.
Here are some samples of the instrument, which you can buy on Bandcamp, then play on your next dinner date.
Then there’s the WhOoPsYnTh, a combination sampler + delay + LFO with similarly masochistic sonic possibilities. It’s inspired by the Pete Edwards design for a similar architecture – and Pete, like Ewa, is also someone who builds creations, then takes them into ecstatic noisy performances.
The WhOoPsYnTh just goes all out with that idea, screaming in pain in a very Ewa Justka-ish sonic voice. But the beauty of it is, you can again use external CV – here for delay length. You can cut up sounds and stretch them with the delay. You can really warp audio inputs with this.
More documentation on how to play it soon.
My favorite review: “…the Optodeafener is evil, dangerous, exciting, rhythmic and feral. Do not hesitate. “
You can find loads of stuff on the Optotronics site, shipped from Glasgow (she was formerly in London). All of this is painstakingly handmade by the artist, so you get something truly unique.
These are elaborate, full instruments, but Ewa can also make dark magic with more economical sets of parts. Meet the VOICE_ODDER 2, a thing that takes inputs and makes them … odd. And makes your neighbors hate … you.
Using light-sensitive wave oscillators and a delay, it’s palm-sized mayhem.
You’ll be able to build one of these yourself at an event I’m co-hosting on February 22 in Kaliningrad, Russia, so if you’re nearby – say, Gdansk, or Lithuania, or Minsk, or somewhere like Moscow that has cheap flights – you should come learn these dark arts with us. Sign up for the Facebook event and we’ll tell you how to join the workshop and make one yourself:
Thanks to British Embassy in Moscow and the British Council for supporting UK artist Ewa’s Kaliningrad debut, as part of the UK-Russia Year of Music.
More of Ewa – who was also a co-host and a participant in the CTM Festival MusicMakers Hacklab with me.