THE BENDS COLLECTIVE
The Bends Collective was born out of a 10 week project in early 2011 as part of the Sound Design MSc at The University of Edinburgh.
The project focussed on circuit bending, and hardware hacking. The group learned how to modify various electronic devices ranging from cheap kids toys to a Nintendo Entertainment System (dedicated video below). With an army of circuit bent instruments, we performed a concert in front of a live audience in March 2011, shown in the video above.
Many devices were hacked in various ways, producing crazy sound textures far superior to that of their original output. They were all fitted with output jacks so that they could be played through amplifiers or loudspeakers. The instruments were fed into a Max/MSP patch which quadraphonically panned the audio around 4 loudspeakers which surrounded the audience.
This immersive performance experience was added to by the visual backdrop of the circuit-bent Nintendo. The NES was not only circuit bent, but also fitted with an arduino board and a selection of electronically operated switches (relays, 4066 chip). This way, 'bends' were controllable from a laptop running Max/MSP; a patch was written which analysed the audio from the performance and triggered different switches on the NES depending on this data. The result was a machine which appeared to 'glitch-in-sync' with the music. Max/MSP was NOT used to alter the audio in any way. The sounds were recorded live and have not undergone any processing since; what you hear here is what was heard on the night.