Alien Devices Modified Instruments from Arizona.

Circuit Bent Alesis

Robert Green has been circuit bending instruments for about 7 years. If your not the type to pick up a soldering gun and risk electric shock but need a bent device definitely take a close look at what Robert has to offer.

Besides the usual Speak N Spell and Casio SK modifications, Robert specializes in digital drum machines including the Alesis HR-16, Roland TR-707 and Yamaha series. Some of his bends use a patch bay modification and others metal switches.

This Alien-Devices modified Alesis HR16 drum synthesizer features 28 sound modifications which are controlled by 14 three-way switches. The modifications can effect the drum sounds in subtle or drastic ways creating beat mutations, digital filtering, distortion, synth tones, envelope warping, overload, bizarre beats and electronic textures. These units are excellent sample sources as well as stable live instruments and are fully MIDI capable.

If you want to get your hands dirty and try some modifications yourself there is a CD-Rom video tutorial for sale on Amazon called Circuit Bending for Beginners. I personally have not seen it but I’ve heard good reviews. There is of course plenty of free stuff to start watching on YouTubeCircuit Bending for Beginners including “Circuit Bending Workshop” by Ben Goldstone. The comments under that video are pretty interesting.

A few years ago I went to the Bent Festival in New York. It’s a nice geek fest of circuit bending. My favorite “instrument” was a old dot matrix printer rigged to play audio notes depending on which key you pressed. Here are the upcoming dates/locations for 2008:

Los Angeles Bent Festival – April 17th-19th, 2008.
New York Bent Festival – April 24th-26th, 2008.
Minneapolis Bent Festival – May 1st-3rd, 2008.

Do you own any bent instruments?

7 Comments

  1. hey there, i do a bit of circuit bending too.

    they all have internal speakers, so you dont need to plug in to have a good time.
    however, i have made them modular, so the casio will mangle the sounds of the yamaha and will be recorded to a semi-homebrew looper.

    http://www.andrasklang.com/readymade3.jpg

    thats a pic of one of them. if you want to see more, e-mail me.

    p.s. the url above is my record label, everything we have released is a free download.
    i think you need some new music. no? here is like 13 hours worth. give us a shot, plez.

    Reply

  2. Nice images and audio on your site. I really like the syntax error gif!

    Reply

  3. I have a wiggles guitar that I have stripped to the circuit board and found a number of interesting body contact points that result in rhythmic clicking or a number of different steady tones. At the moment, I haven’t “properly” bent it, but you can play the crazy thing just by rubbing your thumbs all over the exposed circuit board. I suppose that it would be a shame if the thing died from my playing, but I only payed $2 for it at the local sal-val, and I have already gotten ten times that much enjoyment out of it. I have this funky midcentury table lamp with no shade that I found on the side of the road. I’ve been thinking about putting it in there and trying to wire up the body contacts all over the exterior of it. Primitive but fun.

    Reply

  4. thanks for the props on the circuits.
    i used them in a band rehearsal a few days ago, and they just freaked, they really didnt understand what was happening.

    feel free to give us free publicity!!!(er. wee need it.)
    put that gif on your site if you feel inclined.

    thanks again

    sean.

    Reply

  5. oops. i changed my name by accident.
    im the guy at the top. ive got some///.
    i thought that was the subject area.

    Reply

  6. I thought this would be worth taking a look at

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Y-1u9mR-9gg

    Reply

  7. Hi Marcus, thats a great video. I need to get a Texas set up like that.

    Reply

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