Music » Music Stories

Come On, Feel the Noise

For all your circuitry needs, the Web's the place


Circuit-bent instrumentation in popular music acts is hard to find. Add N to X, Nine Inch Nails and Tom Waits are all reputed to use bent toys, but the only act in our memory to grace St. Louis with a live demonstration is Sonic Boom. Short of building your own little monsters (which, you know, is what you're supposed to do), how can you get a taste of this beautiful noise?

· You can download a simulated circuit-bent Speak & Spell -- compressed in a .zip file -- from the Web at Suitable for Macintosh and Windows, the simulator is constructed as an HTML page that plays in a window of your browser directly from your hard drive. It has few features that give the user much control -- most notably it lacks a loop switch, and of course body contacts are impossible here -- but you can definitely freak out all your co-workers to the outside limits of your satisfaction.

· MP3 files are available on many Web sites. See and for dozens of connections. Be advised that few of these sound files are actual songs. Their primary purpose is to share examples of quality glitches.

· The album/book combo Gravikords, Whirlies & Pyrophones (1998, Ellipsis Arts) is an excellent introduction to the galaxy of experimental musical instruments and includes a five-minute excerpt from Qubais Reed Ghazala's circuit-bent symphony Silence the Tongues of Prophecy.

· Ghazala's Web site,, is ground zero for circuit-bending philosophy and practice.

· To pick up tips or share information about your own experiments, will be your virtual campus lounge.

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