Four years ago I'd been DIYing modular stuff for a year or two at least and was having a lot of fun - but then I was faced with the challenge of how to take a system to Europe (on Easyjet). I ended up building this (built to the Easyjet musical instrument carry-on dimensions - of course, flying from the UK they totally DIDN'T let me carry it on...) and performed a 4am wobbly-techno set by a lake near Berlin for the Goldmund Festival - it was great.
The Modular has always been driven by what I desire from a live system and portability has always been a major concern for me. Since I started producing 'regular' systems, the size has come down a long way from the old DIY days, but my 4" deep Frames still felt a little cumbersome - and they actually held a lot of wasted space since I changed all module designs to the new Rev.2 status (using SMD parts).
So, when I was asked to return again to the same festival (now called Am Ende Der Wald - it really is the most magical event and location) I got the idea to produce a new system frame - the Shallow Frame. Not only does it cut down the depth by almost 50% (now only 2.3" deep) but I also spread out to the sides to produce a 16-width frame (2 foot wide) - why should I stay constrained by the original sizes dictated by 19" Racks when 95% of my frames DON'T get used in 19" Racks?! I really do see these new frames as the future! (Yes, they will be regular production cases, along with the current 11-width ones)
Here are the results - a 2FrameShallow setup, crammed to the gills with sonic & rhythmic power! Believe me, this system is seriously fun to play and constantly surprises with variety. And it is pretty portable too. If you want to catch the results, then I'll be playing around Midnight on the first night at the Space Opera Saloon. [Click the pics for larger versions]
[Yes, as always, virtually no public availability due to ongoing work with current system users - but I *AM* working towards 'proper' production - oh yes! Sign up for the ModularMailingList via the main BugSite]
Jules wrote to me recently with a wonderful picture - his new baby boy with his old Weevil (c.2006 I think).
"I cannot tell you how brilliant the weevil is in terms of helping this little baby sleep."
[My niece also had a lot of fun with a Postcard Weevil from the age of 1year6months and I've heard similar from a few people. I'm always a bit surprised that they seem fine when putting the touch-plates in their mouths because that can certainly give a tingly little shock!]
At the start of April there will be a great event at the Cube Cinema in Bristol over two evenings - A Radiophonic Weekend - Sat 2nd and Sun 3rd April 2011.
Recently I asked the users of my BugModular systems to come up with short tracks inspired by the works of the Radiophonic Workshop to be played in between parts of the Cube weekend. You can listen to all the tracks via the MuffWiggler Forum Thread Here. The results are, though I say so myself, freaking amazing and highly varied.
Daren Ager has gone one step further and has compiled his tracks into an album which he is now offering at a super price of only £1.25 with ALL proceeds being donated to the Red Cross for the Japan Disaster Relief Fund. (You can also easily donate MORE if you'd like!)
And to whet the appetite, here's one of his new videos:
Five years ago, back when I was making a load of Contact Mics, I soldered some guitar string offcuts onto the back of a C-mic and enjoyed the plinky fun sounds that resulted:
Recently someone reminded me of these and I thought I'd make a new version mounted in a little box. Here's a simple DIY guide to make your own (click images to enlarge):
It is a very simple setup - a c-mic mounted inside a little box with some guitar string pieces (c. 6" length) soldered on to the back of the c-mic.
I used some plain and some wound guitar strings of various diameters - you can experiment with different gauges and different lengths.
The only slightly tricky part is how to effectively solder the strings onto the back of the c-mic - what is important here is to get decent heat-transfer - make sure your soldering iron is as hot as it can be (I turn mine up full) and that it is clean.
- I first make a blob of solder on the back of the c-mic, about 1cm diameter
- I then tin the ends of the guitar strings
- clean the iron tip and re-tin it, but with quite a lot of solder
- now re-melt the solder blob and fuse in the guitar string
- repeat for all the other strings, spacing them very slightly apart from one another
- you can see in the 2nd image how I stripped back the ends of the wound strings to expose the plain central core
I mount strings onto the c-mic and then use epoxy resin (araldite etc) to fix the c-mic into the plastic case.
The Piezo element is just a standard 27mm piezo disc.