Echo Lightwave Unspeakable : Toy Train Sequencer/Circuit Bent Keyboard
Toy Train Sequencer/Circuit Bent Keyboard
A toy train that triggers added keyboard modifications as it drives around/guitar pick ups that pick up the sound of the train as it goes around.
Train Sequencer A magnet is taped to the underside of the tank car.
The track has 8 reed switches attached underneath. As the train drives by the magnet activates the reed switch and it sends the output of the keyboard to 3 banks of 8 switches. (dip switches.. plan on replacing these with toggles eventually.) The first bank of 8 switches connect to 8 different bends that vary in pitch and sound different depending on which keyboard voice is selected. The other 2 banks are 2 more bends but you can kind of "program" the rhythm of how they're triggered based on how the 8 switches are flipped. Combining bends at the same step in the sequence can cause unpredicted chaos/aleatoric glitches/harsh noise madness. The humbuckers on each side of the track pick up the sound of the dc motor as it passes. The instrument has 1x 1/4" output for the keyboard audio , 1x 1/4" output for each humbucker, and 1x rca video out for CRT visuals. Everything runs into my big box of circuit bent weirdness and some effects. Created for a performance at Circuit Benders Ball 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired you to do this?
Had the idea for a long time and I wanted to experiment with reed switches. It eventually lead to a bunch of other projects involving them.
How long did it take to make it?
About a week.
How long have you been doing things like this?
I've been circuit bending/experimenting with electronics for around 20 years.
Have you done other things like this?
I've used a train before but I've built several different mechanical sequencers in the past and bunch of circuit bent/questionable electronics.
What’s next?
More testing, experimenting, and live streaming on twitch with the current setup. Then building a better version with a more traditional electric train with speed controller.
Echo Lightwave Unspeakable : Circuit Bender/Mad Scientist/ Teaching Artist
The maker Echo Lightwave Unspeakable
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Circuit bender/artist located in Pittsburgh PA making and breaking questionable electronics into new strange instruments for the past 2 decades.
Connect with Echo Lightwave Unspeakable
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If youre interested I build and bend instruments for sale posted on my instagram. Im also open for commissions.
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