4 Awesome Songs and a Video Crowdsourced from Moogfest Tinkering

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What happens when you take an experimental, hacked musical instrument, ask attendees at a festival to mess around on it, and record it? The results are, understandably, unpolished. But Adrienne Thomas and Tiffany Wen enlisted the help of professional musicians and producers to distill the sounds into discrete pieces of music, which are buzzy electronic rippers.

“The results are true examples of crowdsourcing sounds, music inspired by curiosity and the energy emanating from festivals — proof that we can all contribute to musical creation,” write Thomas and Wen on Nosferatune.

See the video, The Meta Modular Project, for the full story, along with clips of the top songs:

The Meta Modular Project from Nosferatune on Vimeo.

The original recordings were made at Moogfest, the electronic instrument and music festival in Asheville, North Carolina. (This year, Make: sponsored a circuit bending competition.)

How To: Play Music Using Floppy Drives


We’ve seen these videos pop up all over the internet over the past few years. We’ve even shared a few on Make’s blog. The most prolific poster of these videos showing floppy drives playing music is youtube user MrSolidSnake745. He’s got this down to an exact process and seems to enjoy sharing his work almost as much as we enjoy watching it.


Over the years, he has gone through various amounts of floppies for each song, Seen above are 5 floppies playing some Daft Punk, and up at the top you can find 8 floppies playing the game of thrones theme. He was even hired by a museum to produce a 16 floppy display, which you can see below playing the theme from Final Fantasy 7. If you want to find them all, you should take some time to browse around his youtube channel.


Invariably, people always ask how this is done. What kind of magic and trickery are necessary to make a floppy drive sing? From MrSolidSnake745’s FAQ we can find that he gives the majority of the credit to another youtube user named Sammy1Am. This is not only where the easiest software comes from, but Sammy1Am shared detailed plans on how to set up your own singing floppy disk drive!


Sammy1Am also has videos of floppy disks playing sons on his channel if you haven’t had your fill by now.

Of course, now that you now how to make one, you should go put one together and send us a link to the video you made!

3D Printed Bracelet Illuminates On The Beat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2wqCO1qjAI What happens when you relish the power of the Xmen’s Dazzler with today’s microcontroller technology? Why, the Dazzler bracelet is born, of course. The Dazzler bracelet combines the power of light organs and microcontrollers to create one wicked bracelet that responds to sound by giving off a sweet light show.

dazzler 2

Maker Michael Barretta was looking to give his girlfriend the gift of her life (well, without having to buy her a ring) and decided to make her a gift that reflected her favorite superhero: Dazzler. The Dazzler turns sound into light,  so, Barretta got to thinking about how he could harness that power.

GEMMA on board!

GEMMA on board!

Baretta decided to kick it old school and bring back a technology that has been long forgotten – light organs. Light, or color, organs are a simple technology that causes light to pulse in tune with the frequency and intensity of sound. Combine this technology and Adafruit’s GEMMA microcontroller inside of a DIY bracelet and folks you’ve got yourself one kickass birthday present.

Exploded Diagram

Exploded Diagram

Barretta calls his creation the Dazzler bracelet. Using an Adafruit GEMMA microcontroller, Microphone Breakout Board, NeoPixel RGB LED strips and LiPo battery, the maker created a bracelet that illuminates neon lights in tune with dubstep.

Needless to say, his girlfriend loved it, but Barretta better come up with another bright idea for a present before Christmas or even Santa won’t be able to save him. That’s the problem isn’t it… set the bar higher and higher like this!

You can do the same… Head over to Thingiverse and get on it. She/he will love it.


Musician Collaborates with Faulty Plumbing

As makers, adversity can sometimes be our greatest collaborator, for instance, Polish violinist Jacek Dzwonowski could never have created this beautiful composition if he had not been forced to deal with the peculiar sounds of faulty water pipes. His composition is basically the plumbing equivalent of circuit bending, where the most interesting sounds are often created by exploiting the idiosyncrasies of malfunctioning electronics, and it’s a great reminder that playing with broken things can sometimes lead to the best results!

[via Colossal]

Herb Deutsch and the First Moog at Maker Faire Detroit


Post-show Deutsch had a long line of fans and autographs

One of the headliners here at the 5th annual Maker Faire Detroit today was Herb Deutsch, co-inventor of the Moog synthesizer.

It was a beautiful synergy:  the 50th anniversary of the first Moog—which Maker Faire host, The Henry Ford, has in it’s collection and had on display in the hallway just outside the theater where Deutsch spoke.


According to Deutsch, who donated this early Moog prototype to The Henry Ford, this machine was only 6 iterations away from the very first experiment Bob Moog assembled

Deutsch was engaging and charming and relaxed, recounting his collaboration with Moog through storytelling and performance. He played a tape of Bob Moog playing with his first iteration of the Moog; Bob Moog calls it the “Abominatron” on the recording.

Then Deutsch played the theremin with a recording of Edgard Varèse’s 1958 electronic music composition “Poème électronique”—a world first-ever performance, according to Deutsch.


Deutsch having fun on the Theremin

A lifelong musician and composer, Deutsch cited John Cage as an early influence and read some excerpts from Cage’s Silence. Deutsch quoted Cage: “Music is the organization of sound.”

A really nice complement to the program was the placement of some impressive young buck analog makers in the foyer of the theater.


Bubba Ayoub and his awesome modular synthesizer

“Close Encounters of the Synth Kind,” a special presentation during the Faire that brings together the pioneers, experts and Makers involved with the ongoing legacy of synthesizers and experimental electronics. Sunday’s program concludes with:

1 p.m. Dave Tompkins “Everything Must Go: Vocoder Clearance in the Deformation Age of NSA and Electrofunk”

2:30 p.m. Paul Elliman “Detroit as Refrain”


Standing ovation by an adoring crowd

Thank you Herbert Deutsch!