On the Bath Ales brewery tour last week I was looking at their striped colour coding system they use so they know that barrels belong to them and what is in them. It reminded me of resistor colour coding and inspired me to look up whether there is a formal system in place for identifying breweries and content. Apparently not, as this thread on the Pro Brewer forum discussing different marking options indicates.
"Circuit Blasting emerged [when] chemist and artist names Richard Brown, told me how back in the early 80s he'd accidentally zapped a casio keyboard with a violet ray device to produce some interesting effects. In the spirit of scientific enquiry, Joe and I attacked an old Yamaha keyboard I have with one of the VRs and sure enough it triggered off a wild volley of random preset sounds, often at the same time. So we've now turned this into a performance. Our debut was at the London Dorkbot gathering in January . I was concerned that such hardened, jaded geeks would have seen it all before, but we got a fairly rapturous reception."
I found some cct blasting photos a couple of years ago and went looking for MP3s to post. Make blog explains. Audio recordings were elusive and I forgot all about it. Until I stumbled across the Strange Attractor website (after reading about Welcome to Mars in Nude Magazine) and realised that the great ADAADAT released a CD (clips in link) of this back in Jan 2007 and there's an MP3 CD with over 13 hours of Resonance FM recordings on it. I have a feeling these were in my podcasts before the great hard drive crash, so I may have to invest in the disk.
I bought a CatCam and a CatTrack from Mr Lee. Having tested them out on myself I am now flooding flickr with Isis's own photography. The slide show below shows the build, testing, and the first outing. If you don't fancy the soldering you can buy complete set-ups, I just built it myself to save money.
Richard Wigglesworth says: "So I finally finished building my home made acid monosynth. I call it that all though oakleysound (www.oakleysound.com) call it a 303 clone, the tm3030. I got the PCB from them and a parts list and then built it after ordering parts from various places. There is a track here called SSM2210 and you can hear the home made acid monosynth right at the beginning. It is genuine analog, home built. I will be taking it to Lo Motion in reading on 10 Oct."
You can hear Anarchist606 and I interview Richard in the November 2007 Goatlab Radio show here.
"Do you want to learn about building guitar stompbox circuits? Have you been frustrated before by soldering, or trying to buy the right parts? Have you tried your hand at various kits, but want to learn more about how circuits actually work? Do you want to hear how certain designs sound before you plunk down your hard-earned cash on boutique or commercial pedals?
"Well my friend, I think I may have something that will interest you: the beavis board."
Andy Farnell recently asked me, "Do you know about the work of the Barrons (Forbidden Planet) I'm trying to get hold of any research material on these kooky pioneers of "snuff audio". If you know of anyone who has schematics of their self-destructing synthesisers please gimme a shout."
If you can jump in here please do so.
Now, my knowledge of the Forbidden Planet soundtrack extended to knowing that it was a pioneering piece of work in electronic music and that it still sounds amazing today. Unfortunately I don't even own a copy, although I do have Jack Dangers brilliant reworking. After an initial google the first place to go looking is of course Wikipedia. Here I find a page about the couple, Louis and Bebe, and their work.
It's a fascinating story and by the time I'd read that I was just as interested to know about how they worked as Andy. I noticed the reference in there to a book Lewis took his circuit building inspiration from; Norbert Wiener's Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine (MIT Press, 1948). A quick search on this and I found that it is still in print, see Amazon link below. Wanting to keep it authentic (and cheep) I bought a second hand copy of the second edition (1961) and awaited its arrival. (In the mean time the Forbidden Planet DVD and OST CD were added to my wishlist.)
When it arrived I found a book absolutely packed with the level of mathematics I thought I'd left behind at university and nothing in the way of circuit diagrams. I still read it in the hope of finding some insight, and struggled through the maths, which although I could just about follow and found it difficult to derive meaning from. There is still interesting material in there but something aimed at a more novice audience would have been better.
Below I've typed up my notes from reading it. They will probably only be of interest to someone reading a copy of the book themselves, someone who wants to know how much it would tell them about electronics and audio, and myself as there are a few things I wanted to research further. Page numbers refer to the 1961 edition.
Blurb: "...as readable by the layman as the trained scientist..." John B. Thurston, The Saturday Review of Literature. p72. "We now wish to define [the intergral from minus infinity to infinity of K(tor) d epsilon (t, gamma)] The obvious thing to do would be to define this as a Stieltjes' integral, but [epsilon] is a very irregular fuction of t and does not make such a definition possible." Ha. Of course! Why didn't I see that? Do you see what I'm up against here? p86. On electronic circuits: "The details of its construction are more for the specialist in electrical engineering than for the reader of this book. They may be found elsewhere.1 "1. We refer especially to recent papers by Dr Y.W.Lee." 'Recent' in this case is thought to refer to 1948. p98 "In this book, we have avoided mathematical symbolism and mathematical technique as far as possible" Lies! p102. Fig 2 shows a block diagram of a simple feedback circuit, much as you would find in any analogue electronics textbook. p112. Figs 3 & 4, as above. p114. Fig 6, as above with addition of interesting filter system. [Will add scan, please check back] p145. Explanation and definition of a minority report as a fault finding system within parallel computing systems. p142 a. Reference to correspondence with Bristol University (also on p199) p142 b. Contains a lobotomy joke! You don't hear those everyday. p146. Quotes Lewis Carol. p154. Section about people with red hair and stutters (would this by PC today!?) plus musing on extinction. pp158-161. Thoughts on free markets and game theory (although it is not referred to as such), and the problem with capitalism. p162. Refers to Western exploitation of the "flesh-pot of Egypt." Funny how things don't change. p164 & 171. Notes on chess computers. Predictions seem to have been accurate.
Incidentally, I didn't only start taking notes half way through. There really wasn't anything worth noting in the first half apart from a disparaging remark about scientific fields becoming too specialised and acoustics given as an example.
And finally, a reference to the Rorschach Ink Blot test inspired me to have a look for the images, as even when studying psychology I can't recall actually seeing them. The disclaimer on the above site explains why (scroll down the images if you're still curious).