•March 1, 2015 • Comments Off

A brief post, truncated primarily by the combination of ice storm and finding activities to do with an infant who, while not necessarily cognizant of this, was promised a trip to DC today and is now confined indoors at home since it is indeed gross out. However, yesterday, when it was not gross out, our good friend Ami Dang came over to plug her sitar into a Number 23, as well as introduce Xime to music other than her dad’s strange chirps and whatnot. Here’s the initial report. Notice – a sitar run through a 23 does indeed sound awesome.

VF’s 23 Reviewed in Guitar Moderne

•February 23, 2015 • Comments Off

Wow, two posts in one day – when it rains, or snows, or snows and then melts and refreezes, or whatever the current weather pattern outside may indicate by “Special Weather Advisory” at the moment, or however the seasonally-apporpriate saying may go. In this case, we’re happy to announce that the good folks at Guitar Moderne, currently one of our favorite blogs on the world wide web at the moment has provided us with a comprehensive and epic review of our Number 23 fuzz. Read all about it here. For those interested in taking the plunge, head over to one of our online marketplaces and follow the prompts. Also, as a heads up, all 23’s from here on out will now be epoxy-sealed as apposed to clear-coated – meaning that while the box may be boutique, it can take even more of a beating and still come out relatively unscathed. Or at least to be expected considering that this is effectively a product designed to be stepped on. Figured I’d mention it.

Also, seeing as it’s come up in two reviews now, I figure it may be time to mention what these “atonal heterodyned artifacts” are. The 23, while capable of making ring modulator-like sounds, isn’t a ring modulator. To be one of those, you need a carrier frequency and a modulator frequency and, for lack of any better descriptions, a ring of diodes. Seeing as I actually studied synthesis, I’d feel weird saying it does something it doesn’t just because it sounds kind of like a ring modulator. Thing is, when you combine frequencies on the 23 – i.e., like when you lay two notes at the same time, the combination of these frequencies produces beating patterns that are received as a separate pitch other than the notes you’re playing – in other words, heterodyning, but not by way of a ring modulator. Why atonal? Because they are. In some settings you get a nice octave up, but in most, the pitch is just off the charts and off the scale. Why artifacts? Because of the gating effect present in this box – remember, unpredictability is key here. These tones aren’t consistent, so hey, why not say artifacts rather than “weird sounding stuff that sounds different than what you played, but only sometimes.” What can I say, I espouse an air for the poetic sometimes or something…

¡Eyes Mk-ii!

•February 22, 2015 • Comments Off

2015 Eyecillator

A quick one as we get ready to take Xime to her first Chinese New Year celebration, provided we can dig out the car and the roads are plowed, etc. Yeah northeast/mid-atlantic logistics! But, hey, it’s a new year, so lets offer up some new stuff! First up, the new incarnation of our beloved Eyecillator – bare-metal, industrial and $44 bucks. Fun times in the wonderful world of opto-synthesis and control voltage awaits you at this here link – go check it out! And now, I shovel.



**note – the Eyecillator is currently sold out – but we’ll have a few more ready for consumption in about a week – will keep you posted**

This week’s print-haul

•January 27, 2015 • Comments Off

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Greetings from Baltimore where Pau and I just celebrated our second wedding anniversary by doing something we haven’t done in a long time – namely, eating sushi, one of the major taboo’s of just about any pregnancy. I figure I have about a good 15 minutes more until I succumb to a tuna-flavored stupor, so here’s the latest haul of prints I’ve been working on over the past week or so. Nothing too special – mostly just eye-candy, but hey, sometime’s that’s all you need. The process is again pretty straightforward data bending; combining digital photographs with homebuilt analog synth experiments until something decent is conjured from the ethers. Not quite sure where I’m going with this, but I said I’d do 144 – let’s see how things pan out, yes?

Also, more fun electronics on the way – things tend to slow down in the winter due to ventilation issues, but even so, this winter is mild in comparison – we’ll have something fancy for you soon.



Post-Holiday Printwork

•January 7, 2015 • Comments Off

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Wow, has it really been two months since the last post? Is that a wise thing to say when you’re trying to be all business-like? And to ignore the holidays and not attempt to barrage loyal followers with Black Friday announcements and exclusive sales and seasonal products, etc? Eh, so it goes. Been busy. Dad stuff. Not to say that I haven’t been soldering. Oodles of thanks to the multitudes who took the plunge and invested in VF wares and devices. Even more so for the interest and recognition. While it seems fairly cliche to say so from a business perspective, 2015 is going to be a pretty killer year. There’s definitely something new on the way, to say the least. More on that as things develop, but in the meantime a quick glimpse into the art side of the empire. I was fortunate to have the holidays off from my day gig and was doubly fortunate to be able to record a couple tracks using only instruments I made myself as the sound source. They’re pretty rough – more like sketches and demonstrations, if anything. I think they’re a little better than some sort of noise-dad donking around in the basement with his hobby-tronics while the kids are at field hockey, but to be honest, I’ve been pretty isolated of late. Either way, I’m sure there’s a certain degree of charm to them. Even more so when you extract the raw file data from them and embed it into an uncompressed digital photograph such as the four landscapes at the top of this missive. Thinking I may have to expand on this idea. Maybe not with landscapes, though – let’s keep it contextual. If only I was a better photographer. I’m sure I’ll figure something out. More on the way when I do.

In other news, Platanos are now $59. We have our reasons. Go get ‘em while the getting’s good – we might be taking a break from them for a second. Just saying.

And also, hey now, Happy New year from my family to yours – let’s make it a good one, yeah?

The Platano Turns 2

•November 2, 2014 • Comments Off

2014-10-21 13.08.34

So this is what’s up: A couple days ago, NPR had a puff piece about the two year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and, puff-ness notwithstanding, I was a little floored – has it really been two years? Time flies, I suppose, especially when you experienced the storm on the periphery. Like, right on the rim – 100 miles north of the city in Rhinebeck and by and large on the edge from a logistics standpoint. We didn’t even lose power, which is surprising since when you live in the forests of the Northeast, an especially strong sneeze can cause an upset to the grid that may take upwards of 11 days to rectify. Or at least that was the case back in ’87 – though in that case, the especially strong sneeze was more like three inches of snow in the first week of October. In this case, we didn’t even lose internet. Most of the storm was spent streaming Moonrise Kingdom, for crying out loud. So yeah, no flooding, no washed out boardwalks, not much really. The surge up the Hudson caused some coastal flooding and a couple boats were knocked off their moorings and jackstands, but even then the damage was negligible. In fact, the only true inconvenience of the storm for me involved the Platano Verde. Sometime during the onslaught of Sandy, I finally decided enough was enough and it was time to head south back to Costa Rica to prepare for the Central American Biennial and Pau and I’s wedding. Earlier in the year, I’d cobbled together a fur-covered prototype of what would one day become the Platano Verde and figured that in order to recoup the cost of airfare and give us some income in the field, it would make sense to go production with it. Pau designed the artwork, largely involving smooching some actual green plantains between saran wrap in the scanner. I cobbled together the circuit boards from my notes (the prototype found a home with a friend in Oakland, Ca. a few months prior), shelled out for enclosures and jacks and ordered the adhesives… right before the storm hit. Let’s talk logistics. When the northeast is experiencing a gasoline shortage, UPS gets weird. And it only gets weirder when even a trip to the local office involves wading through the parking lot in ditch boots. Not to draw out the description, everything arrived eventually, albeit about two days before I split south and sleep was sacrificed for solder. And, as usual when such events occur, things got interesting, but in the end turned out okay. And with that, the first batch of Platanos were born. 2 years ago. on the back of a superstorm. Figured I’d at least tell the story. We sell them in the usual places. They’re $89, which is fairly inexpensive considering the current economic state of things – hell, go use your left over gasoline savings and pick two up – one for home, one for the car or something. Figured I’d pontificate while I have a second on a cold, windy autumn Sunday in Charm City. How are you doing?

And they’re up!

•October 18, 2014 • Comments Off


As promised, new batches of not only 23’s, but also 24’s and Gold Standards. Come get ‘em, y’all! – Here’s the link:


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