Neanderthal Electronics

Neanderthal Electronics: an instrument-building workshop by Derek Holzer

More than 40,000 years ago, our Neanderthal ancestors invented the first music instruments from simple objects around them (bones and stones, sticks and skins…), without reference to any existing music history, and primarily for their own pleasure rather than that of others.

Nowadays, we use complex audio hardware and software which make it “easier” to create music, so long as we channel our creativity into such socially acceptable avenues as Western Classical or Minimal Techno. As with any established genre, the results are often completely predictable, and therefore quite boring.

But some of us, deep in our wild hearts, still long for the Stone Age simplicity of pure noise!

The Neanderthal Electronics workshops are designed for approximately 8-10 people, possibly with a background in sound, but with no previous electronics experience. Over 5 days, they are shown how to use simple objects from our modern environment (resistors, capacitors, transistors, LEDs, integrated circuit chips…) to design and build their own personal, customized primitive noise synthesizers.

A final presentation allows the participants to demonstrate and play their creations, as well as allows the audience to make their own experiments with the newly built instruments.

This workshop has been realized so far at:

Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark (Feb 2009)
Tartu Art Month, Tartu, Estonia (Feb 2009)

with future workshops under discussion to take place in Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia and the UK. The workshop is currently available for booking in Europe during Spring and Summer 2009.

Neanderthal Electronics workshop, Tartu Estonia from macumbista on Vimeo.

Copenhagen Noise Workshop from macumbista on Vimeo.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “Neanderthal Electronics”

  1. admin Says:

    From Josephine Bosma, on the Spectre mailing list:

    “How nice to read this. I hope you don’t mind that I share a little anecdote with you. When I was on holiday in the south of France me and my daughter visited a cave. Much to my surprise the guide gave us a demonstration of what kind of music the people who lived and worshiped in those caves had made: they used the stalagmites as a xylophone. It sounded absolutely amazing! Beautiful clear tones. Maybe you can get permission to play in a cave some day… ;-) ”

    Posted by macumbista on Thursday, February 19, 2009 – 18:47