Dec 102011

In June of this year, I took a trip to Chicago, Illinois to attend the 4th annual Experimental Garage Sale, a gathering of circuit-benders, instrument makers, and musical innovators. I recorded interviews with ROTH MOBOT, TIM KAISER, ALEX DEEBA, CMKT4, THEJUNKYARD CATALYST from THRIFTSORE BORATORIUM, LOW-GAIN, and a number of other makers. What follows is my correspondence from the field. Special thanks to the makers, the Experimental Sound Studio (who hosted), and Katherine Guza for taking the incredible pictures you see below.

If you are enticed by any of the inventions mentioned in the podcast, support the designers by buying from their sites below. Christmas is just around the corner, and nothing says love like a custom-made piece of musical goodness!

Cosmic Blooper
Creme Dementia
Delptronics (Mickey Delp)
GetLoFi (Alex Deeba)
Low-Gain Electronics (Logan Erickson)
Roth Mobot(Patrick McCarthy / Tommy Stephenson).
Steven Buck
Tim Kaiser
Thejunkyard Catalyst (Thriftsore Boratorium)
Welcome Tomerica

“Podcast available for download or streaming at
Photographs by Katherine Guza. Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago, Illinois.”

From Experimental Garage Sale 2011-06-04, posted by Tony Youngblood on 12/10/2011 (27 items)

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Jan 092011

“Even the music that I do, it’s like folk music during the Civil War. If you wanted a banjo, you built a banjo.” — Tim Kaiser interviewed on T.I.

Tim Kaiser – -2010 Circuit Benders’ Ball. Photo by Stephen Zerne

On tonight’s show, I’m very happy to have one of the real pioneers in contemporary instrument design and experimental performance. Tim Kaiser is a Minnesota-based musician, inventor, and artist who has been making experimental art for the past 25 years. He designs and builds his own instruments, both acoustic and electronic, using toys, vintage electronic gear, and other found materials.

Tim’s work was featured in Make Magazine and presented in Germany, Brazil, Sweden, Hong Kong, Cuba, Canada, and more. He tours across America performing ambient improvised music incorporating his inventions. In October of 2010, he performed at the Circuit Benders’ Ball in Nashville, Tennessee, and today’s show features that performance in its entirety.

In the interview, we discuss the Makerbot revolution, hackerspaces, opera, the intersection of science and making, improvising, and Tim’s latest creations.

Download more audio and video from the 2010 Circuit Benders’ Ball at the CBB10 Media Repository. If you like the show, tell a friend or write a review in iTunes.

If you like tonight’s performance, check out the Circuit Benders’ Ball Theatre Intangible Live Improv w/ Tim Kaiser, DaveX, Thriftsore Boratorium, 1/2 Mang, Lola Wilson (I Am Pazuzu) & Jeremy Walker.

Mentioned in this episode: Harry Partch, Brian Eno, Yoko Ono, King Crimson, Adrian Belew, Reed Ghazala, Circuit Ben, Low-Gain, Paul Metzger, Makerbot Industries, Cupcake Makerbot, Make Magazine, Open Lot Nashville, BT, Duran Duran, Throbbing Gristle, Peter Christopherson (AKA Sleazy), Pogo Studio, DJ Marco Ricci, Short Circuit Festival, Bent Festival, MEECAS, The Circuit Benders’ Ball, and The Transistor Gallery in Chicago.

Upcoming Tim Kaiser gigs:

Teatro Zuccone Short Circuit Duluth, Saturday January 22nd 7:30 pm w/ Low-Gain & Talking Computron, $6

First Avenue w/ Woody McBride, Minneapolis MN Feb. 18, details forthcoming

Franconia Sculpture Park June, details forthcoming

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Oct 252010
Tim Kaiser at the Circuit Benders Ball

Tim Kaiser live at Circuit Benders’ Ball 2010. Photo by Stephen Zerne.

Yesterday’s Circuit Benders’ Ball at Open Lot was an enormous success. Both workshops were completely filled, and every performance was brilliant in its own unique way. Garbed in tribal space outfits, CMKT4 emerged out of a smoky sliding van door and proceeded to mesmerize the house. Thriftsore Boratorium brought the show out to the loading dock and handed everyone a transistor radio that broadcast the live feed. Tim Kaiser set up his gear on the floor for an intimate and breathtaking ambient performance. Robbie Hunsinger, Blight Side of Life, Ben Marcantell, DaveX, Jeremy Walker, and Freya West were all amazing, as were the many talented visual artists.

For tonight’s podcast, we give you the final performance of the night: Theatre Intangible Live with Tim Kaiser, 1/2 Mang (Thriftsore Boratorium), DaveX, Jeremy Walker, and Lola Wilson (A Parade). Most had never played together and were asked to very quickly pick a single instrument for the performance. The results are quite cohesive, surprising given the performers’ varied styles; unsurprising given their razor-sharp instincts.

I know I promised the Halloween Extravagana 3 this week. That will have to be bumped to next week. For now, enjoy this very fine live set from some of the best benders in the business.

Tim Kaiser — Tim Kaiser builds experimental musical instruments and creates atmospheric sonic landscapes. He has been featured in Make Magazine, Wired, the AP and New Art Examiner. His video, installation and performance art projects have been presented in Germany, Brazil, Sweden, Hong Kong, Cuba, Canada, Philladelphia, New York and Chicago. His instruments are sought after by artists around the world.

Thriftsore Boratorium — Out of Circuitastrophe Cincinnati 08, Karl the junkyardcatalyst and 1/2 Mang decided to start the Thriftsore Boratorium; a lab where people can come and experiment, work, troubleshoot, record, jam, circuit-bend, modify, design, make robots, etc. Thriftsore Boratorium puts their creations to task in their mind-bending live shows. They’re cooking up something special for the Circuit Benders Ball. Check out this great Robotic Barbie Sing-a-Long bend by Boratorium member 1/2 Mang.

Lola Wilson — Co-founder of the Captain Beefheart/Art Bears-inspired A Parade (with T.I. all-star Cody Bottoms) and the experimental solo project I Am Pazuzu, Lola is a singer and songwriter with individuality, depth, and great talent.

DaveX — a certified and licensed raconteur, DaveX is best-known as providing the real-life inspiration for Artax, the depressive horse featured briefly in the 1984 motion picture, “The Neverending Story.” Following his Emmy-nominated voice work on the animated spinoff series, “Artax’s Diner,” DaveX took full credit from his team at Bell Labs for the pioneering invention of various geometric forms. He is currently living off the royalities for the wildly successful “circle,” which he describes as “something like a curvy square.” Ordinary folks are encouraged to listen to a fifteen-minute looping audio biography of DaveX broadcast weekly at WDBX-FM and WSIU-FM on the programs It’s Too Damn Early and Sounds Like Radio. He also runs the experimental music blog Startling Moniker.

Jeremy Walker — His work focuses on reclaiming process, material, and content. Jeremy Walker creates unconventional instruments by altering found electrical circuits. By manipulating the intended function of the circuit, he’s able to emphasize its hidden, organic qualities. Each work is intended to conjure a certain child-like curiosity to investigate, to touch and to learn. By inviting direct interaction between the viewer and sound, Jeremy enables the participant to take the place of performer. Jeremy graduated from Watkins College of Art & Design and is currently enrolled at Middle Tennessee State University to pursue a BFA in Sculpture.