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Music Thing: The Glitchdesk

Ryan Block, @ryan

Each week Tom Whitwell of Music Thing highlights the best of the new music gear that's coming out, as well as noteworthy vintage equipment:

Circuit Bending, as I'm sure you know, is when you crack open a Speak & Spell or an old Casio keyboard and poke wires into the innards until it sounds freaky. It's one of those things that's fun to do and fun to talk about, although the enjoyment often ends when the music starts.

Highly Liquid build high-end circuit bent instruments. They'll take an old Casio SK1 keyboard and turn it into an aluminium keytar with switches on the neck, or they'll sell you a kit to add a MIDI interface to a Speak & Spell.
Their new thing is the Glitchdesk system. $249 gets you a big banana jack patchbay, with some clever extras. You (or more likely Mr. Highly Liquid) take your TR-505, or Speak & Math or whatever and run all the contact points out to an RS232 socket. You can plug that into the back of your Glitchdesk, and get instant MIDI control over the bends.

It seems like a cool idea, and a pretty reasonable price, given the amount of development work that must have gone into it. However, Circuit Benders tend to be a pretty serious crowd, and they're outraged about the prospect of anyone spending $249 when they could just solder the thing together themselves, and break out some worms.

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