In the spirit of the ‘maker’ movement and in an attempt to engage with the materiality of music technologies I have designed and built some handmade electronic music instruments. This emerged at a time when I was involved in co-chairing the New interfaces for Musical Expression conference that celebrates such handmade instruments and the musical practices they afford.

The 8 Box

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Based on a Teensy, Arduino-like micro controller, the 8 box employs sound output direct from the PWM pins on the board and explores the sonic and musical potential of only having two parameter controls; pulse width and frequency. This approach results in a raw and edgy timbre peppered with occasional analog and digital glitches and emergent properties. A kind of post-digital practice as articulated by Cascone (2000) and expanded in Ferguson and Brown (2016).

WP_20160412_15_21_25_ProAs with all Arduino projects the software for the 8 Box is written in C. Coded processes manage pin oscillation, sound parameter control, structure and timing, and interaction.

Here is a video of the first performance with the 8 Box – Init for the 8 Box.

Init for the 8 Box from Andrew Brown on Vimeo.

Cascone, K. (2000). The Aesthetics of Failure: “Post-digital” tendencies in contemporary computer music. Computer Music Journal, 24(4), 12–18.

Ferguson, J., & Brown, A. R. (2016). Fostering a post-digital avant-garde: Research-led teaching of music technology. Organised Sound. (In press).
Handmade Electronic Music