Unlikely Sound Equipment I: Drum Machine Made of Eggs

Breakfast: delicious. Drum machines: not so much. Until now. With contact mics hooked up to eggs (the kind that comes from birds, with various breeds represented), Los Angeles-based artists k.cain and b.crabtree have built an audio installation that's (insert egg pun here). A Mac LC sits behind the scenes doing the dirty work with custom […]

Unlikely Sound Equipment II: Synth-in-a-rock

I get these kind of requests all the time. "Peter, thanks for the helpful coverage on the USB MIDI controllers, but when will someone finally release audio hardware I can really use, like a concrete block that plays algorithmic music for 30 years?" Yes, folks: it's a piece of concrete. With a DSP chip inside. […]

Chip32: Free Old-School Wavetable Synth, Now on Mac (Mac/PC)

Apulsoft keeps porting plugins, and as I stock up on these new OS X versions, I'm finding some great Windows freeware in the process! The latest addition, Chip32, gives you old-school, graphically-edited wavetable synthesis. The instrument sounds great, and there's MIDI control of an ADSR envelope, a basic filter and a bitcrusher. If you're looking […]

Alesis Keyboards: Want a joystick, 3D air controller, or synth with that?

Keyboards are getting to be a lot of fun, on the cheap. The latest mini-keyboards from Alesis feature X-Y joysticks, audio I/O, and the psuedo-photo-theremin Axys dome (wave your hands in the air above the dome!). That I knew — but I hadn't checked prices to realize how cheap these things are. Alesis appears to […]

GuitarBot: Robotic Guitar Instrument

Weird Music Gadget Week Continues! Engadget and the New York Times are chatting about the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots' GuitarBot, so I thought I'd add my take. GuitarBot is perhaps best described in sound as an automated, electrified shamisen; it has a very Japanese sound and shudders and shakes fabulously as it plays. […]

[UPDATED] Warped Speak & Spell Sounds: Now in PC, Mac Software Form!

Have fond memories of Speak & Spells? Wish you could completely warp them, then turn them into a musical instrument? Too circuitry-challenged to circuit bend your own, and already got too many weird gadgets in your mobile music bag? (I know you've been buying everything mentioned on this site, so I understand.) Now you can […]

Pyrophone: Flaming Sound Organ Powered by Propane

Robotic guitars are cool, but you know what you really want: a propane-powered flame organ. Yes, as it turns out, enormous plumes of fire can produce pitched and unpitched sound. (Hint: it's loud.) This is a digital music site, mind you, so of course I've selected Eric Singer's Pyrophone, which can be MIDI controlled; Max/MSP […]

UPDATE! Samchillian, Live in NYC Tonight

Lucky timing on my part! A day after my write-up on him, Leon himself writes us to say he's playing a "rare" gig with the Samchillian keyboard, mentioned yesterday, and a Plugzilla computer effects box. Details: "Plugzilla Sponge" w/Leon Gruenbaum, Samchillian, keys and Yukari, processed flute 8:30-10:30 pm Wednesday, Dec 1, 2004 Theeee Coffee Chamber, […]

M-Audio Ozonic vs. Novation X-Station: Battle of the Keyboards

There are two new computer keyboards coming out in the next two months, each costing about $600. One I can't wait for. One makes me yawn. Guess which one. In this corner, from America: the FireWire M-Audio Ozonic, announced today. (full specs) Controller: 37 keys, 8 knobs, 9 faders, 14 buttons, pitch & mod wheel, […]

Cult of Mac Book Launch Party; Andrew Andrew, iPod DJs

Last night at APT, a cosy upscale lounge in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, Wired.com threw a bash for Leander Kahney's new book The Cult of Mac, DJed by the mysterious ultra-geeks Andrew Andrew. "We're the laziest DJs in New York," said Andrew (or was it Andrew?) as he turned over the duo's two fully-loaded iPods and […]