Episode 3 – ‘Taking Toys Apart’
Episode three takes a journey into the underground world of circuit bending. Circuit benders hack children’s toys and dissect cheap archaic electronics, to produce strange new instruments. Circuit bending lies at the intersection of instrument building, grass roots activism and psychedelia. Listeners will learn about the history of circuit bending, a hobby that grew out of the the microprocessor and psychedelic revolutions in the 1960’s; and how these technological and cultural movements fused into a kind of activist musicianship.
From the work of Reed Ghazala (creator of Circuit Bending) on, musical tinkerers have been antiestablishment figures – taking technology beyond its intended uses and in the process becoming outsider artists.
Andrew Edgar explains how geographical differences in the history of consumerism influenced the musical cultures of different countries – and how he views taking toys apart as a sort of ‘sound archaeology’. Andrew introduces us to his collection of unique circuit bent instruments. Artist and VJ MarQu Vr situates circuit bending in the history of electronic music. John Leech gives us a live ‘cartridge ripping’ demo, which involves tricking a classic megadrive into producing chaotic musical sequences. We begin though, in Berlin, where writer and one time rock star Julian Gough, is making his own weird and wonderful instruments.
Sounds used from – Gamepak circuit bending bloof
Part 1 – Julian Gough in Berlin
Part 2 – Andrew Edgar & Gamepak collective
Part 3 – John Leach (of Siam Collective)
Also featuring MarQu Vr of Gamepak collective.
Tracks used: Cartridge rip by John Leach, improvised performance jam by MarQu Vr & Andrew Edgar.