Now Taking Orders for Macumbista Benjolin V5

Posted in Announcement on December 15th, 2019 by admin

The Benjolin is a standalone synthesizer designed by Rob Hordijk from the Netherlands. It contains two oscillators (one LFO and one VCO), a voltage controlled filter and a circuit called a “Rungler”, which allows chaotic cross-modulation possibilities between the different parts of the circuit. Hordijk refers to the Benjolin as a circuit which has been “bent by design.”

These hand-made Macumbista Benjolins are officially licensed by Hordijk, and have been further customized with a patchbay, which can be used to interface with other modular synthesizers or to setup further control voltage feedback systems within the Benjolin itself, attenuators on the three control voltage input and LEDs displaying the internal state of the Rungler.

The latest Macumbista Benjolin V5 instrument has been redesigned during the spring of 2019 in collaboration with Pete Hartman of Frog Leg Synthesis. The filter input has been improved, and the main output of the instrument buffered for lower noise and ease of use with a wider range of mixers and DI boxes.

The wooden enclosures used to create these handmade analog synthesizers all date from the 1960’s and 1970’s. There are individual variations in the exact color, the size, and the marks which history have left upon them. A number of different colors are available, including a natural finish as well as three different types of “hammered metal” paint finishes in grey, green, blue, and (infrequently) red or purple. Please see the photos at the bottom of this page for examples.

PRICE

The price of the Benjolin V5 is EUR 565 (incl. 19% EU VAT) / EUR 475 (for customers outside the EU), plus shipping costs. All my instruments are made-to-order, and require a 50% deposit to begin work. The current batch should be completed in March 2020. Every Benjolin ships with two banana patch cables and a universal 110/220V AC to 12V DC power supply.

Please contact me using the CONTACT page here, or through MACUMBISTA at-the-domain GMAIL dot COM.

MODIFICATIONS

The Benjolin V5 contains the following modifications from Hordijk’s original Benjolin circuit:

LOOP SWITCH: The LOOP switch locks the otherwise chaotic pattern of the Rungler into a loop. The LEFT position is a loop of 4 steps going forward, the MIDDLE position is the normal chaos of the Rungler, and the RIGHT position is a loop of 4 steps forwards and 4 steps backwards.

EXTERNAL INPUT SWITCH: The external input 6.3mm jack on the back of this Benjolin allows a signal from another source to be sent through the Low Pass Filter of the instrument. Selecting EXT on the FIL INPUT switch sends this signal to the FIL input, where the cutoff and resonance controls of the filter can be used to affect it. When the FIL INPUT switch is in the INT position, the PWM signal, mixed with a small amount of RUN voltage, is sent to the FIL (this is the normal Benjolin signal path).

EXTERNAL RUNGLER CLOCK:: A banana jack on the back panel of the instrument provides a switchable clock source for the Rungler of the instrument. The EXT switch position clocks the Rungler from OSCILLATOR 2 of the instrument, the INT switch position clocks it from the external clock input.

VIDEOS

Duelling Benjolins from macumbista on Vimeo.

Two Benjolins cross-patched to modulate each other function identically to the Dual “Butterfly” Benjolin.

PHOTOS

Please note that you can click the images on this page for hi-res details of the panel and design.

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Vector Synthesis Workshop Berlin

Posted in Announcement on June 8th, 2017 by admin

VECTOR SYNTHESIS WITH DEREK HOLZER

http://spektrumberlin.de/events/detail/vector-synthesis-with-derek-holzer.html

WORKSHOP (7hours/1day)
Level: introductory/beginners
Costs: 70 euro
Max number of participants: 12 people
Min number of participants: 4 people
Contact: macumbista@gmail.com
Sign up through this form:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfo-Wn4JIdidSTJuTWmu6mzMFK34VH1d0qDVwMJ9InObAJcig/viewform

OWN COMPUTER AND HEADPHONES ARE NEEDED

DESCRIPTION

The VECTOR SYNTHESIS project is an audiovisual, computational art project using sound synthesis and vector graphics display techniques to investigate the direct relationship between sound+image. It draws on the historical work of artists such as Mary Ellen Bute, John Whitney, Nam June Paik, Ben Laposky, and Steina & Woody Vasulka among many others, as well as on ideas of media archaeology and the creative re-use of obsolete technologies.

SOFTWARE

During this workshop, you will learn how to use a custom library in the Pure Data programming environment to directly control the vertical and horizontal movements, as well as the brightness, of a beam of light. You will then explore Lissajous figures, waveform representations, and other multiplexed, audio-driven visual shapes and forms which can be displayed and manipulated in real time on an XY oscilloscope, Vectrex game console, ILDA laser display, and other analog vector displays using a DC coupled soundcard.

HARDWARE

We will also discuss hardware essentials such as how to modify a normal CRT monitor for vector inputs, how to hack together a cheap DC coupled soundcard, how to use a microcontroller such as the Teensy, Bela or Axoloti as a base for your vector synthesizer, and how to interface with the International Laser Display Association control protocol.

WHAT TO BRING

Please bring your own laptop. If you have a DC soundcard such as the MOTU Ultralight, please bring that as well. Many cheap USB soundcards can be adapted for DC use as well, you can find them on EBay or I will bring several for sale at the workshop. There will be a limited number of displays, so if you already own an analog XY oscilloscope, Vectrex game console, or other vector monitor, that would be very useful to bring. And finally, please get in touch if you have a CRT monitor you would like to see hacked (no guarantees!) during the hardware phase of the workshop. (Additional materials fee applies, we can discuss this.)

LINKS

http://macumbista.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/VECTOR-SYNTHESIS-PURE-DATA-LIBRARY.pdf

https://www.instagram.com/macumbista/

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP HOLDER

Derek Holzer is an American instrument builder and sound artist whose current interests include DIY analogue electronics, field recording, media archaeology and the meeting points of electroacoustic, noise, improv and extreme music.

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SKETCHES for VECTOR SYNTHESIS

Posted in Documentation on February 7th, 2017 by admin

SKETCHES for VECTOR SYNTHESIS [2017][HD720] from macumbista

The VECTOR SYNTHESIS project is an audiovisual, computational art project using entirely analog synthesis and vector graphics display techniques to investigate the direct relationship between sound+image. Driven by the waveforms of an analog synthesizer, the vertical and horizontal movements of a single beam of light trace shapes, points and curves with infinite resolution, opening a hypnotic window into the process by which the performed sound is created.

This project is available as a live performance, a video installation or soon as a standalone audiovisual object crafted from handmade circuits and analog CRT tubes.

Informed by the discourse of media archaeology, my own personal interest in analog vector graphics isn’t merely retro-for-retro’s-sake. Rather, it is an exploration of a once-current and now discarded technology linked with specific utopias and dystopias from another time.

Essay “The Vectorian Era” here: http://macumbista.net/?p=4715

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Pure Data Benjolin

Posted in Announcement on December 5th, 2016 by admin

pure_data_benjolin

The Benjolin is a standalone synthesizer designed by Rob Hordijk from the Netherlands in 2009 and available as an open hardware project online. This Pure Data implementation of the Benjolin was coded by Derek Holzer in SEP-NOV 2016 in Helsinki, after several years of producing customized hardware Benjolins from his Berlin studio.

Get it here: http://macumbista.net/?page_id=4690

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XR-VCOs Custom Synthesizer

Posted in Documentation on July 12th, 2016 by admin

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Another vehicle for interdimensional travel completed! This one features seven identical Thomas Henry XR-VCOs with three different timbre modulation options (hard sync, “skew” waveshaping and a J3RK/Stroh Modular crossfader between triangle/sine and square), all with voltage control, plus voltage-controlled frequency modulation, a summing mono output and even a headphone amp.

When I think about the human-hours that went into this instrument, I start going a little bit insane. Completing this would not have been possible without the assistance of Lars Ennsen and Damian Jaroszonek. Thanks düdes!

Videos someday….

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Miasmachine for Erik Skodvin

Posted in Documentation on April 25th, 2015 by admin

skodvin-01

The “Miasmachine” is a custom re-design of the Benjolin as a guitar-processing synthesizer for Norwegian musician Erik Skodvin (aka Svarte Greiner, half of Deaf Center and owner of the Miasmah record label). In this adaptation, the input signal is first run through a ring modulation circuit (with one selected raw oscillator waveform–TRI, PULSE or PWM–of the Benjolin being the modulator signal), then the ring-modulated signal is inserted in the Benjolin’s Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter to control the higher harmonics.

This instrument was a custom commission, however if you are interested in a similar instrument, please contact me at macumbista AT THE DOMAIN gmail DOT com, or via the CONTACT page of this website.

I am still in the process of editing video for this machine, so this will be posted at a later date.

skodvin-box-block-diagram

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skodvin-06skodvin-box-complete

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Interview for Makery Magazine

Posted in Text on March 19th, 2015 by admin

My good friend Ewen Chardronnet asked me to answer a few questions about the DELILAH TOO installation, my instrument-building practice and the workshop process. You can read my replies here.

One of my first formal trainings was as a silversmith, so the idea of making real things with my hands has always held far more appeal than the symbolic substitutions and semiotic shell games so beloved by the more conceptual and theoretical wings of the contemporary art world. But I think my instrument-building also reflects an economic reality one faces as a non-academic, non-institutional artist these days. There is so much digital music out there right now, and no one pays you for making any of it. But since we are working in the era of the “pro-sumer”, there are plenty of people who are constantly spending money on the tools to make their own music.

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NEANDERTHAL ELECTRONICS ORCHESTRA (RITS Winterschool)

Posted in Documentation on January 28th, 2015 by admin

Together with Jeroen Vandesande, I gave my Neanderthal Electronics instrument-building workshop to a group of students of the RITS Winterschool (Erasmushogeschool RITS, Brussels) from 12-23 JAN 2015. Over these ten days, the participants with backgrounds in acting, writing, theater tech and radio production designed, constructed, learned to play and created a composition using their own self-built DIY electronic instruments. A variety of circuits–including CMOS logic chips, amplifiers, portable loudspeakers, contact microphones and opto-electronics–ensured that each instrument gave a unique voice to each player in the piece.

The resulting 16 minute composition (inspired by the works of Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, John Grzinich, David Tudor and others) was an immersive, surround-sound experience, performed in a darkened room for an eyes-closed audience of 25 people at a time. In the piece, a swarm of individual, simple sound sources such as tones and textures are modulated and moved through the space physically by the performers to create a complex sonic environment. Delicate and intimate sounds pass closely near the bodies and ears of the audience, while stronger, more extreme sounds occur at the edges of the space to give a sense of the architecture of the room and the objects in it.

Composed and performed by Bram Verrecas, Amber Meulenijzer, Jana Rymen, Kimberly Struyf, Francesca Van Daele, Anna Van Hoof, Max Adams, Zoë Bossuyt, Iben Stalpaert, Milan Van Doren, Nils Melckenbeeck, Emma Schiettecatte, and Michèle Even at Kunstencentrum NONA, Mechelen, Belgium on 23 JAN 2015.

Much gratitude to Dieter van Dam for the invitation!

Workshop info here: http://macumbista.net/?page_id=497

PLEASE LISTEN TO THIS CLIP WITH HEADPHONES

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DELILAH TOO at CTM Festival Berlin

Posted in Announcement on January 13th, 2015 by admin

My vocoder-based sound installation DELILAH TOO will open at the CTM Festival, in the Kunstraum Bethanien on 23 JAN 2015, and run until 22 FEB.

I am looking for a number of volunteers to speak, read or sing texts in any language you choose, as well as attempt to communicate with installation visitors (hopefully in a language they do understand) during the entire month of the festival. In the spirit of Alvin Lucier’s “North American Time Capsule”, you could consider these texts as transmissions to other beings in space about what life on Earth is like for you…

I hope that a number of people can take one or two one-hour long slots, and I will try to make a small gathering with snacks/drinks sometime during the festival for people who help out.

You can find a short overview of the project here: http://tinyurl.com/delilah-too-ctm-info

Please contact me by email at MACUMBISTA at the domain GMAIL dot COM with the subject line “volunteer” and I will send more information and a link to the sign-up sheet.

Many thanks!!!! D.

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Atelier Macumba Demo Night

Posted in Announcement on October 30th, 2014 by admin

As part of the Lange Nacht der Bilder Lichtenberg 2014, Juan Carlos Duarte, Darsha Hewitt, and I will host an open studio from 20-00h on Friday 07 NOV 2014 at the Atelier Macumba.

Drop by to try out several of the SoundBoxes, Benjolins and custom modular synthesizer systems I have built, and sip a little fine bourbon while you are at it!

The instruments:

http://macumbista.net/?page_id=4035

Live sets by Seth Zahn + Matthew Burnett, Juan Duarte and Derek Holzer, a demo of the Wurlitzer Sideman tube drum machine by Darsha Hewitt, a live Benjolin+snaredrum set by Andi Stecher, and a very reasonably-priced selection of 10 American whiskeys for your tasting pleasure by Pure of Taste the Doom/Slowlands fame.

There will be many other exhibitions, events and open studios going on that night as well here, see full program here:

http://www.hb55.de/lange-nacht-der-bilder-2014

Atelier Macumba, Room 2.31, Eingang B, HB55 Kunstfabrik Herzbergstrasse 55 Berlin-Lichtenberg.

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