Archive for the ‘Noise boxes’ Category

There seems to be something wrong with this video, but the result blends in nicely with the sounds generated by the zither:



Meng Qi is a  noise boxes builder from China and versions of this instrument seem to be for sale, see http://mengqimusic.com/AetherZither :

Aether Zither 以太筝 - built by Meng Qi, is an electro-acoustic musical 
instrument. It’s playing surface is assembled with springs, speakers, 
knobs and touch points. 
The combination of mechanical and electric aspects makes it an one 
of a kind and fully expressive instrument.
The Synthesis engine of AZ - Sidrassi, designed by Peter Blasser - 
is a true analog polyphonic synthesizer circuit. 
It has an unique approach regarding synthesis principle. 
There is a parameter called chaos - it controls the modulation depth 
among the voices, which would result in different level of noisy texture. 
Addtional to it, there are also touch points which allows the player to 
perform touch circuit-bend.

More information:

On YouTube I found this video today on the Ondes Martenot: an electronic instrument of the 1920’s which preludes today’s synthesizer. It is most widely known for its use in pieces by French composer  Olivier Messiaen:

I actually own a high quality software emulation of the Ondes Martenot made by VSTi producers Sonic Couture and use it quite often due to it’s distinct sounds. One of the interesting things about the Ondes Martenot was the ribbon controller demonstrated by Jean Laurendeau in the video.

A similar ribbon controller in a modern plexiglas enclosure now made by Eowave is also part of my synth studio. Here the Blade Runner theme is played on a synthesizer using the Eowave ribbon as a controller:

So although the Ondes Martenot may be almost a century old and is not often used as an instrument on its own, it’s sounds and concepts are still alive today.

More information:

Found through the Feminatronic blog: some articles, videos etc. on  Louis and Bebe Barron, two American electronic music composers  who made the score for the classic sci-fi movie Forbidden Planet in the 1950’s:

The Barrons didn’t get the credits as music composers of the score of this classic movie, however. This article on the NPR Music website from 2005 explains why and how they became “forgotten pioneers” of electronic music. But all was not lost: Louis and Bebe Barron continued to compose electronic music up until the turn of the century and thus were not completely forgotten. They now even have their own Wikipedia article, which saves their work for future generations…

More information:


Now in Mu Gallery in Eindhoven, Netherlands: the exhibition Sounds Like Art.

This is an excerpt of the description of the exhibition on the Mu Gallery website:

In the vanguard of music, sound artists are always exploring new ways of creating music. Often the search will not only lead them to the new sounds they set out to find, but also to some unique instruments. Instruments which, besides being functional, can also be seen as works of visual art in their own right. Especially when they combine the aesthetics of craftsmanship with the possibilities offered by the latest in technology.  Usually these works of art perform their humble services exclusively on the stage, where they can hardly be observed from up close. But in the exhibition SOUNDS LIKE ART the spotlight is not on the artists, but on the instruments they create. It has resulted in an exhibition in which we can hear and, most importantly, also see the unique interplay between form, material qualities, and technology of these new instruments.”

The artists participating are the Andy Cavatorta, who created a series of harps especially for Björk, which are played using gravity.

Design for The Inner of Andy Cavatorta  - A music-making machine that uses a human subconscious as a functional component

Design for The Inner of Andy Cavatorta – A music-making machine that uses a human subconscious as a functional component

Other artists in the exhibition include Dutch hardware hacker Gijs Gieskes who compiles new synthesisers from existing electronics, and  musician/artist Tom Verbruggen, better known as TokTek, who creates some ingenious sound-producing sculptures.


Just watch these two amazing videos…:


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October 2020

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