Benjamin Bacon (aka Soundspade)
has worked for Nokia, designed and
built his own synths and instruments
and headed up two design agencies.
As if that wasn’t enough, he also
runs the Black Eyeliner night at
DADA, which focuses on industrial,
electro, post-punk and other
sounds. He introduces his favourite pieces of equipment.
I made this for my thesis in 2005 at
for Design in
New York. This
might be the
most expensive thesis project
ever made. The 15
was very expensive
in 2005 and the
circuit board itself is massive. The
chips are all capacitive touch; at
the time it was really hard to get the chips because Apple had a hold on
them, so I needed to sign a bunch
of disclaimers. You plug it into the
network and ask people to come
and share music. It then randomly
chooses a song, downloads it,
calculates the BPM and average
pitch, then puts it in a database.
You select a BPM and a pitch, and it
chooses a part of a song at random
and loops it. The controls on the
front are used for messing around
with filters and mangling the sound.
I used to play bass lots back in the
day. I was in this band called Dies
Irae who opened for Siouxsie and
the Banshees – it was a whole
different scene. We played a mixture
of dark pop, goth and industrial
Electromechanical Solenoid Orchestra
There are 25 of these
with each one
covering an octave.
They can plug into MIDI meaning
they can be controlled with a signal.
One of my graduate students
made a module that was taking
environmental information from
weather stations in 12 different
cities around the world. Each one of
these then picked up the different
environmental information and
created arpeggios on the instrument
based off the data. That was on
show at the National Art Museum of
China in 2011.
Somebody else made this. It’s an
open source DIY synth that I paid the
full price on Kickstarter for so they
engraved it for me. It’s just a really
nice saw-wave based synth.
It’s great for deep basses.
Benjamin Bacon runs Black Eyeliner night at DADA on
Friday 9 October.