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Luis Etscheid, last year's circuit bending champion, with his custom machined Akai Sampler, which used sounds from the Google Doodle displayed on Bob Moog's birthday.

Luis Etscheid, last year’s circuit bending champion, with his custom machined Akai Sampler, which used sounds from the Google Doodle displayed on Bob Moog’s birthday.

Synthesizer fans recognize the distinctive sound of the Moog, but might not be aware how heavily its roots are vested in making. This early marriage of electronics and music was born out of experimentation, and its father, Robert Moog, was a pioneer in circuit bending, before it was called circuit bending.

All of this is a way to explain Make‘s involvement as a partner at Moogfest, presenting the festival’s circuit bending competition. It’s been said that electronic music is the folk music of the future, because of its DIY nature. This is the DIY movement set to music.

“Bob Moog was a do-it-yourself pioneer in the field of electronic music, and the presenters I’ve selected represent some of the most interesting electronic music experimenters around,” says Make founding editor Mark Frauenfelder, who’s one of the contest’s judges, and is also playing host to presenters from littleBits’ Geof Lipman to Make‘s own columnist Forest Mims III.

Four finalists have been selected — more on them soon — who have been building new and improbable instruments since the contest was announced in October.

Meanwhile, presenters at Moogfest include Jay Silver (famous for his banana piano) and Nic Collins (author of Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking), and musical acts feature M.I.A., Keith Emerson, and RJD2. Ryan Germick from Google, and Amos Gaynes and Andy Hughes from Mood Music round out the judges panel.

The festival begins April 23. More information can be found at www.moogfest.com.

Nathan Hurst

Nathan Hurst is an editor at MAKE. He loves anything having to do with science or bicycling.


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