Moog Music & Make Magazine presents the Circuit Bending Challenge at Moogfest 2014

Moogfest 2014 has been a blast. This festival is so jam packed with events, panel discussions, performances, parties, unveilings and art that it is impossible to see half of what you would like to see. Fortunately, I found myself in the right place at the right time a few times. One such place was the Moog Store as the Circuit Bending Challenge finalists were presenting their instruments. Circuit bending is defined by Moogfest as “a creative medium that combines technology, sonic artistry and creativity. By altering the internal circuitry of electronic devices such as keyboards, drum machines, and children’s toys, circuit benders are able to produce new sounds not intended in the original design. Moog Music announced…

In celebration of this creative curiosity that fueled a young Bob Moog and all of those that follow in his footsteps, Moogfest issued their 4th annual circuit bending challenge in October and is now announcing MAKE Magazine as the official sponsor of the contest. “We love the spirit of Moogfest which so aptly captures the curiosity, inspiration and enthusiasm of makers everywhere who love to tinker for tinkering’s sake and in the process discover new ways to enhance their hobbies and passions, whether it’s music and other creative pursuits,” says Vickie Welch, vice president of marketing for Maker Media. “MAKE Magazine as the official media sponsor of Moogfest underscores our commitment to support events like this that gather makers together to collaborate, share ideas and embrace community.”

The winner was presented with a brand spanking new Moog Sub Phatty. While the 2nd, 3rd & 4th place (a.k.a. honorable mention) instrument was presented with a Slim Phatty, Minitaur and Moog Minifooger respectively.

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Grand Prize: Moog Sub Phatty & Two Passes to Moogfest 2014 2nd Place:    Moog Slim Phatty & Two Passes to Moogfest 2014 3rd Place:     Moog Minitaur & Two Passes to Moogfest 2014


Stephen Barnwell

Stephen Barnwell is an aspiring engineer in the UNCA Mechatronics program. He runs a small repair shop in Asheville, NC called ‘The Circuit Surgeon’ which offers repairs, assembly and modifications for a wide range of vintage and modern electronics. He is an avid synth builder with a special interest in non-conventional control systems and synchronous analog audio and video synthesis. The primary motivation for and function of the Cataritone is video synthesis. The goal was to create a module that could take audio and control signals from an analog synthesizer and use them in a consistent and predictable fashion to add a unique visual element to a musical performance. Thus the Atari ‘Video Computer System’ forms the backbone of this piece. Several CV and signal inputs were added to the Atari, which work wonderfully when driven by a number of analog devices. However, if you don’t have any analog synths on hand, not to worry. The Cataritone comes with its own VCF, a pair each of VCO’s and LFO’s and a thoroughly modified Casiotone keyboard – all of which can be interconnected through the Cataritone’s patch panel. The possibilities are endless. See Stephen’s entry HERE.

Mike Sisk

Mike Sisk is 33 years old and lives in Santa Ana, California with his wife Emma. Mike works as a field service technician for an audio/video integration company. He has been working with and installing professional audio/video for over ten years. This device is built from a toy Kawasaki/Remco electric guitar, a toy voice changer, a kid’s cassette player, and a PT2399 delay kit. The case was built from a recycled BBQ grill kit, sheet metal from old audio equipment and some scrape wood. The bottom half of this device houses the circuit board of the toy guitar and the battery packs, and the top half is the effect section and holds the voice changer circuit, the cassette circuit and the delay circuit. See Mike’s entry HERE.

George Gleixner

George Gleixner is a 23 year old UVA graduate, musician and circuit bending enthusiast that began bending in 2008 after inspiration from Reed Ghazala’s work. Some of Gleixner’s bent instruments can be found in use by musicians and producers scattered throughout various countries, though most stay with him for use in composition. The device is a Hing Hon EK-001, a small Chinese-built children’s keyboard based on squarewave synthesis. It has been converted into an upright synth with wooden side panels, and a large plexiglass control panel containing a series of bends including distortions, glitches, various modulations, three additional LFOs, optic theremins, video inputs/outputs and more. See George’s entry HERE.

C. Freddi

C. Freddi was born in Syracuse, NY. Interest in both music and electronics began early: not being able to afford a turntable, C. Freddi built his own out of Big Gulp cups, an old broken blender, and a sewing needle. He’s been bending since most were counting on their fingers, and he’s been pushing the circuit bending community to step up their game since 2008. Super Sonic Circuit Bending Helmet: Circuit Bend your senses in the safety of your own head via C. Freddi’s Super Sonic Circuit Bending Helmet: A Reflective, Transmodern Statement on The Creative Culture of Hardware Hacking, The Socioeconomic and Environmental Necessity of Using Sustainable Resources, and The Nature and Extent of Interactivity and Community Influence, 2014. The artist has employed the exquisite sequencing and synthesis capabilities of the Yamaha QY-10 to convert any sound source into a state-of-the-art glitch collage via the easy-to-use circuit bending interface mounted on the anterior of the helmet’s crest. The hands-free condenser microphone apparatus allows the user to intuitively generate the sound source with their voice and enables the user to communicate in space through MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) despite the fact that there are no sound waves in outerspace. See C. Freddi’s entry parts ONETWO, and THREE.

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