The Tomorrow Project == Welcome Home
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The Tomorrow Project is more than just a musical concept or belief. It is a group currently made up of artists Nate LeBarron and Ian Betsinger. We strive to create unique musical expressions through experimentation in circuitry. The result is a unique sound, amazing instruments, and inspiring art.
To us, the instruments we bend are more than just the sum of their collective parts. They are all unique, despite their uniform shape and militaresque colors. Circuit Bending and instrument art is meant to enhance that "personality", if you will, of the instrument. This is why we object strongly to individuals who mass produce circuit bent instruments using the exact same layout, parts, and bend points every time. It kills the creative process, and beauty of unique circuit bent instruments. In a circuit bent instrument, there are no "best bends". True, some sounds are more appealing to the ear than others; however, the sheer range of possibilities from each bent machine makes its potential all the more powerful if the bends are flexible (or better yet, moveable).
I personally take inspiration from advanced creators and forward thinkers such as: Reed Ghazala, Waterhed, and Arius Blaze. Special thanks to Michael Oster. His web page found here kept us from frying the hell out of our first few 707s. Reed is the granddaddy of us all. He is probably the single biggest force behind circuit bending ever. I really wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be God. Everyone who bends and enjoys bent music owes him a ton. Please visit his site found here. Waterhed is also a great bender and a great guy. His stuff is often found on ebay and is always decked to the max and unique. So far he's the only person I know of to bend the fisher price pixelvision camera!!! It is so bad ass. Buy one if you can afford it ($300-350 US). Last but not least is Arius (Aquarius) Blaze. Old skool to say the least. He keeps it real with great creations and awesome circuit bent art.
What is circuit bending in layman's terms?
Technically circuit bending is connecting points on the circuit board of a toy or musical instrument, although any electronic instrument that produces sound qualifies.
What does circuit bending do?
Usually circuit bending changes the sounds that come from the toy or instrument being bent. Often the sounds are amplified, distorted, transformed, or muted altogether. Often times the two points will do something extreme and unexpected when connected and change the rhythm, tempo, pitch etc. Sometimes connecting the two points will cause the machine to cease working or restart. This is referred to as a "crash". Connecting the batteries often works to "revive" the machine, but once in a while a chip becomes fried and the machines circuitry is overloaded (or when soldering-overheated). This results in the machine ONLY making bent sounds or possibly no longer working at all.
What do the new sounds sound like compared to the old sounds.
The old sounds were the digitized sample sounds of whatever the original toy was. I bend drum machines, so the original samples were drum sounds like cowbells, snare drums, bass drums, tom toms, and cymbals. After being bent, the new sounds are usually completely different. They range from deep droning reminiscent of a deep synth all the way up to high pitch squeals. Most of the sounds are 8-bit-ish bleeps and bloops. There are also crashing grinding combinations aplenty.
Can I circuit bend things too?
Sure it's a great hobby, and improves mental ability and stimulates creativity. It is also relatively inexpensive. I learned the very basics from: Rheeds nice little bending tutorial page here.