Experimenting objects like toy keyboards, robots, music boxes, which blended with synthesized sound layers by the technique of circuit bending, the band converts the ordinary buzz and bang to beautiful yet unaccustomed melodies. This contemporary treatment deconstructs our understanding towards musical tunes and inspires us to listen to the familiar from a different manner.
The first electronic sound synthesizer, a musical instrument that generated sounds by means of electric vibration, was invited 150 years ago and was capable of generating a single musical note. Fast forward to today, electronically produced sounds are ubiquitous. Yet it was not until the 1970s when synthesized music made it into the household, in the form of a toy, or more specifically, a game console - the Atari. The reach of this form of electronic music, primitive by today's standard, achieved critical mass thanks to the overwhelmingly popular Nintendo Famicon (or the Nintendo Entertainment System in most non-Asian markets) which generates melodies, beats, harmonies and sound effects through its internal synthesizer.
The wonderful music in video games during that era played a critical role in bringing game consoles to unprecedented popularity. The Toy-Vide-Orchestra poised to reintroduce the 8-bit, synthesized music through toys, computers and apps; to recreate a game-like experience that invites everyone to toy with; to create music through interaction and active engagement, not unlike a video game.
“Circuit Bending” was coined by Reed Ghazala, who is believed to be the pioneer of this method of music in the 60’s when he accidentally discovered the eccentric sound emitted by a broken toy amplifier on metal desk.
Toy guitar photo by Flickr user Alan Levine (brightness, contrast, saturation adjusted)
Speak & Spell photo by Flickr user Loz Pycock (brightness, contrast, saturation adjusted)
Sound effecy “vtech circuit bend052.flac” by freesound.org user koostix
Sound effect “wrong-right.wav” by freesound.org user patchen
The commercial Moog synthesizer, invented by Robert Arthur Moog in the mid-1960s, is regarded as the iconic instrument of electronic music
Progressive English rock bands like Pink Floyd made the iconic Moog synthesizer one of the most important aspects of their sound. Pop rock bands like The Beatles also incorporate keyboards and synthesizers into some of their experimental songs.
Kraftwerk – an iconic West German band – introduced the electronic sound to a wider audience in the 70s, their interesting new sound influenced a wide variety of musicians and created the foundations for the electronic music scene.
The most notable example of 1970s electronic music is the theme to the movie Midnight Express, scored by Italian music producer Giorgio Moroder. The track, known as Chase, became one of the first electronic tracks to reach #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.