Warm Circuit, Modified Toy Orchestra, ZX Spectrum Orchestra

Posted: April 13, 2007 in creativity

Warm Circuit – A music Label dedicated to Outsider Electronics and Mutant Pop. Left field experiments in electronica. Artists: Modified Toy Orchestra, ZX Spectrum Orchestra, Twiggy and the K*Mesons, Mike in Mono.

Modified Toy Orchestra.

A collection of abandoned and reconstructed Children’s electronic toys, conducted by a selection of musicians. Solo artist Brian Duffy has been performing, lecturing, and demonstrating the Modified Toy Orchestra and the philosophical implications of his experiments for six years. Rescuing electronic children’s toys from car boot sales and thrift shops, Duffy chops and channels the wiring inside to produce a marvellous range of strange new sounds.

This year sees a new incarnation of the orchestra. Wishing to expand the live potential of the orchestra, Brian has formed a six piece tech-nerd ensemble to accompany him in the process of performing and writing, and playing things like Kraftwerk’s ‘pocket calculator’ on rewired dolls and altered plastic toy guitars.

They have performed to packed houses and critical acclaim, for instance, at the 2006 Sonar festival in Barcelona and SuperSonic Festival in the UK. Previous performances have included the Royal Institute, and supporting bands as diverse as Heaven 17 and Melt Banana. Live sets have also been transmitted on Resonance FM and BBC Radio 1.

Modified Toys Orchestra @ Sonar 2006

Modified Toys Orchestra @ Sonar 2006

Modified Toy Orchestra, Seville

ZX Spectrum Orchestra.

Use no midi, no samplers, in fact, no instruments other than Sinclair hardware and peripheral devices. For instance, vocals on tracks are supplied by the Currah µSpeech. An early speech synthesizer built for the ZX Spectrum, it explores the found poetry of basic keyboard commands. Creating music means ZX Spectrum Live Orchestra locks itself away in a lab, writing code.

ZX Spectrum Orchestra is Clive One aka Brian Duffy is an award winning sound artist, NESTA fellow, and creator of the Modified Toy Orchestra. Clive Two aka Mike Johnston is also a member of the Modified Toy Orchestra, Mike in Mono, and Plone.

In these 4 clips they are geeking out live with ‘x+x’ and “D.I.S.C.O….we are using ,1 48k rubber keys with Currah µSpeech, 1 spectrum 48k and 3 spectrum + 2s, … zxx …

The ZX Spectrum was a home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research Ltd. Originally dubbed the ZX82, the machine was later renamed the ZX Spectrum by Sinclair to highlight the machine’s colour display, compared to the black-and-white of its predecessor, the Sinclair ZX81.

The Spectrum was the first mainstream audience home computer in the UK, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the USA; the C64 was the main rival to the Spectrum in the UK market during the early 1980s.

Based on a Zilog Z80, a CPU running at 3.5 MHz, the original Spectrum had 16kB of ROM and either 16 kB or 48 kB of RAM.
The Spectrum’s video output was through an RF modulator and was designed for use with contemporary portable television sets, for a simple colour graphic display. Text could be displayed using 32 columns × 24 rows of characters from the ZX Spectrum character set, with a choice of eight colours at two levels of brightness, which gave 15 shades (black was the same in both modes). The image resolution was 256×192 with the same colour limitations.


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