Number 33





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So ok, I confess – its been around 6 years since I built this and some of the details about what this all is kind of escapes me. I’ll try my best to explain it but unless I get my hands on this guy again, there may be some guesswork involved here.

More or less here’s what happened:

In retrospect, 2013 was a pretty prolific year for most things VF. And I guess me as well. First there was the Central American Biennial in Panama. Then Pau and I got married. Then we had a show in Guatemala. Then we taught TicoTronics. Then I built a bunch of stuff, moved back to the US, built more things, got a job, moved to Baltimore, released the Gold Standard and made a baby. Not bad, yeah? Number 33 would be part of the bunch of things that were built before I moved back to the states and built a bunch of other things. As you might notice, the similarities to the TicoTron interface is pretty evident. I’d just finished the first round of classes when my good friend José Duarte rung me up asking me to dream some stuff up for him. After all, I was leaving and what better time to pick up some weird than on the way out, right? Thankfully there wee only two criteria that needed to be addressed: 1.) it had to be crazy, man. and 2.) can it do stuff with video?

Challenge = accepted, and conquered in three parts.

Part the first: Rungler! At this point, I was just becoming marginally associated with the work of Rob Hordyk by way of his Benjolin circuit, as well as a couple other 4015-based circuits and decided to try my hand at it. In all, its pretty simple – its just 1 4015 with clock and data inputs for section 1 and the same layout for section 2 with the proviso that the data output from section 2 was also fed back into the input for extra silly glitch effects. Each output had both an audio jack out as well as a machine screw for voltage manipulation of other synths and sections.

Part the second: Mr. Grassi. Or mostly a Mr. Grassi. I know that was the basis for the circuit but I forget if I embellished it or not. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Part the third: Hacked VGA line. Basically, I took a VGA cable and added a disconnect to the Red, Green and Blue signal cables. The Horizontal and Vertical sync lines were just passed through so you’d need to have a VGA cable plugged into it for it to work, but you could individually disconnect each color channel and replace it with whatever means of voltage you could conceive of for various degrees of dancing technicolor static.

I’m sure there’s a million and three things that I could have done better and/or safer, but all said, it was a pretty major milestone when I made it and in some ways, a path that I would like to eventually revisit. Not to mention that José’s not been killed by it and has even used it on a recording or two, so there’s that. More on any and all as I try to fill in the past, present and future gaps in my memory, but at least here’s something to grow on for the time being.


A couple snaps of the box doing its video thing:




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And here’s some video shot while testing this beast:



It should be noted that this instrument is all over José’s VFI album CR Distopia as well.