Monday, October 5, 2009

Seizure Specs

...well ANTI-seizure specs, anyway: Sometimes at rock concerts, the flashing lights make Barrie a little sick. She doesn't have epileptic seizures or anything but definitely strobe-light-induced discomfort. Barrie's ordinary "home remedy" is holding up a cell-phone screen or other bright light right up to her eyes to drown out the strobe lights and sorta just calm down or otherwise NOT vomit and pass-out. A regular blindfold doesn't work because the stage lights are just too ferocious! SO! A plan...

Here's a pair of stunna shades grown fresh in the parking lot across the street from Amoeba on Haight st., with just enough excess plastic to hot-glue on some low-voltage medical technology. Just a switch and some painfully bright LEDs -- which I actually had to dremel-down to actually fit them between the inside of the lens and the EYEBALL!

Definitely the spookiest contraption yet.
What's everyone gunna be for Halloween?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Inspired by this guy, I decided to make an analog handheld noisemaker based on thousands of tiny grains hitting a microphone element. Nothing too special here, just an amplifier and an LED-blinker. The circuit is triggered by two tilt-switches that activate when the device is upright.

I stained and carved out a wooden craft box to fit my nefarious design, and carefully superglued two piezo pickups and red LEDs into a 30-second game timer I got from the Dungeons and Dragons Store!!!

Getting everything to fit was absolutely the hardest part. That strip of electrical tape across the speaker is a gimmick to reduce most of the feedback. The only way to really kill ALL that close-proximity feedback is... video editing. So it's sort of a challenging piece. Maybe a game! There's a narrow angle where it won't shriek at you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New MCTHFG record features Funx Capacitor

(hmmm.... looks like it also features a picture I took of some graffiti in Buenos Aires!!)
Click above to open the iTunes page and preview tracks...

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Penguin

The Latest Insanity Generator...
Here's a birthday present for my long-time buddy (his birthday was in November). It's a touch-sensitive synth built into a little guitar I bought for 100 pesos in Tijuana. It's triggered by tapping on the piezo element sealed underneath the penguin, runs for however long the decay is set, and can be modulated in different ways merely by touching the the strings... with HUMAN TISSUE !!!!!

Controls are volume, decay time, and amplitude modulation vs. frequency modulation. The last switch patches the body contacts between the main "pitch" oscillator, and the modulating "freak out" oscillator. Check out the waveform.

It took a lot of trial and error and screaming and error and error and trial to get the piezo sensor to work consistently. The other big thing was actually electrically isolating the strings from each other so that they would respond to TOUCHING and nothing else. This was done by wrapping the base of each string in plastic tube, and sealing the metal frets with an acrylic glue so they don't short out when you push the strings all the way down.

So now Jon, his seven pet monkeys, and his dog taco have a guitar they can make beautiful music with simply by cuddling with it.