Son of When Gadgets Mate

October 13, 2009

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As the era of the music CD draws to a close, artists attempting to sell physical products have been forced to become more creative. Those that succeed have figured out how to add value to the package, usually though the inclusion of “bonus material” like a live DVD, or an illustrated book, but that “value” is often bloated or just plain boring.

I have written previously about my fondness for music-making gadgets, and have even tried my hand at music-making. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered the self-titled CD by a musician named Moldover. The disc label looks like a printed circuit, but the disc holder insert is a printed circuit:

moldovercircuit

After a bit of experimentation, I discovered that in addition to having the track info etched into the circuit traces, the board is a working light-activated theremin. The left edge has sensors at either corner and a switch to engage the circuit. The right edge has a small speaker, a battery, and an output jack. You play the board by holding the button down and moving your fingers over the two sensors, or by moving the board closer to or farther away from a light source. A blue LED in the hub provides visual feedback.

Moldover explains and demonstrates his new CD in this promo video:

Nice case, neat-o instrument, but what about the music? It’s electronic-based, covering a wide range of styles. I’ve been listening to it at least once a day, but I don’t know that I would have found it without the buzz about the clever package. So in that regard, Moldover has succeeded.

For reasons completely unrelated to the music, I think of XTC’s “Cross Wires” whwnever I play or play with the CD:

When you’ve got Crosswires
Everything is Buzz Buzz
Everything is Beep Beep

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