4/29/2010

interrupted by moments of peace


Cracklebox and telephone.
The Crackle box was "probably the first (1975) commercially available portable self-powered, alternative 'keyboard' analog audio synthesizer with inbuilt loudspeaker :)", developed and sold by Michel Waisvisz. During music hack day, I did the Steim workshop in which I made my own Crackle box.
The crackle box consists of an solid state op-amp chip that has its inputs and outputs wired in a circuit to facilitate the playing of that circuit with bodily contact. The sounds are partly random and partly controlled; they change according to humidity and skin resistance. This results in constantly changing tonalities, squeaks and structures of sounds and it makes it impossible to make a classical notation for the playing of the box - it really forces the artist to play intuitively.
I modded my version of the crackle box a little bit, by adding a light resistor and a switch (so I can still also play the original crackle box). Now, when I put the crackle box in a darker place, it sometimes starts singing by itself. I found that when I put my telephone close to its speaker, these sounds change into some wasted telephone drone - which are very different (almost in contrast) from the squeaky crackle sounds. This inspired me for some recordings.
The sound of the crackle box is not very present in the recording above, but some more crackle + telephone drone is due shortly.

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