Maker Faire Instrument Panel MP3

This is a first. I’ve been doing the almost-daily Downstream entries since October 14, 2003, and today is the first time I’ve linked to something I did myself. This past Sunday I moderated a panel discussion at the inaugural Maker Faire, put on by Make magazine ( The subject: “Making Instruments, Making Music.” The panelists: Krys Bobrowski, Tom Koch (aka univac) and Chachi Jones. Bobrowski brought along some fantastic horns made of dried kelp and an oversized glass ‘armonica designed for extended glissando. Jones and Koch brought numerous homebrew gadgets, most of which are broadly summarized as circuit-bent: Speak’n’Spells and Teletubby dolls with extra switches added on, like the hybrid “remades” of China Mieville’s fiction.

The panel took place at 11am on Sunday in a room called the Makers Lounge. The soundboard guy told us what we’d already figured out: the hall had poor acoustics at best. Plus, we shared the space with a loud bunch of retro pinball machines. (The folks who created the new USB musical interface Monome [] were in the room on Saturday but managed to relocate on Sunday.) As a result, the file’s audio isn’t the greatest quality, and my voice sounds like it’s going, as I tried to compensate for the noise and cross-traffic.

Still, it was a great experience. The audience was very responsive, and Krys, Chachi and Tom did a great job. The full file (MP3) is 45 minutes long. About 25 minutes in they perform a five-minute collaborative improvisation, and then take questions from the audience. I’ve posted the file at, the Internet Archive, along with additional information about the event.

PS (May 1, 2006): Steve Cooley of was in the audience at the “Making Instruments, Making Music” panel and he posted two short videos (one of Krys Bobrowski on her Gliss Glass, the other of the full trio improvisation) and three photos (panel, panel, audience). Thanks, Steve!

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