Over the past few years, a strong reaction against the sterile world of laptop sound and video has inspired a new interest in “dirty” analog processes. With this renewed analog interest comes a fresh exploration of the electronic art pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s. Artists and inventors such as Steina & Woody Vasulka, Don Buchla, Serge Tcherepnin, Dan Sandin and David Tudor all constructed their own unique instruments long before similar tools became commercially available or freely downloadable–and often through a long, rigorous process of self-education in electronics.
From the beginning of my involvement in sound, I found the process of inventing and constructing my own instruments (whether analog or digital) to be the starting point of any new work. After some clumsy first attempts in 2001 at constructing an analog synthesizer from a 1980s sound chip used in pinball and video games, I put electronics on hold to master the Pure Data programming environment. I returned to the analog world in 2007 and began the process of building my first full-sized instrument.
In this section, I have documented the following three analog electronics projects which have kept me busy since then:
TONEWHEELS — optoelectronic synthesizer for the overhead projector
MACUMBISTA MODULAR — a Serge and Buchla-inspired analog synthesizer
MACUMBISTA MINI — the Macumbista Modular’s little brother