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Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking [Paperback]

Nicolas Collins
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 13 2009 0415998735 978-0415998734 2

Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking provides a long-needed, practical, and engaging introduction to the craft of making - as well as creatively cannibalizing - electronic circuits for artistic purposes. With a sense of adventure and no prior knowledge, the reader can subvert the intentions designed into devices such as radios and toys to discover a new sonic world. At a time when computers dominate music production, this book offers a rare glimpse into the core technology of early live electronic music, as well as more recent developments at the hands of emerging artists. In addition to advice on hacking found electronics, the reader learns how to make contact microphones, pickups for electromagnetic fields, oscillators, distortion boxes, and unusual signal processors cheaply and quickly.

This revised and expanded second edition is extensively illustrated and includes a DVD featuring eighty-seven video clips and twenty audio tracks by over one hundred hackers, benders, musicians, artists, and inventors from around the world, as well as thirteen video tutorials demonstrating projects in the book. Further enhancements include additional projects, photographs, diagrams, and illustrations.

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About the Author

Nicolas Collins, an active composer and performer of electronic music, and has worked with John Cage, Alvin Lucier, David Tudor, and many other masters of modern music. Dr. Collins is Professor of Sound at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has led hacking workshops around the world. He has been Visiting Artistic Director of STEIM (Amsterdam) and a DAAD composer-in-residence in Berlin. Since 1997 he has been editor-in-chief of Leonardo Music Journal.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
By Steven
This is the most valuable book that I have in my possession. The basic concepts which Collins brings to light, presented in such an accessible way, I have found no other text. If you read this book front to back you will have new ideas and if along the way you try to some of the projects you will have new skills.
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4.0 out of 5 stars well written, interesting projects Aug. 23 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a highly recommended, entertaining read. The instructions are clear and the projects can produce wonderful results.

This book is good if you are anxious to get started on a project and you want to make noise asap. There are about twenty or thirty projects that increase in difficulty, complexity and cost (e.g., more specialized parts, tools, components, etc). The projects can be independent, or can be sort of piggybacked and linked to create a few larger projects by the end if one were to follow the book sequentially (I did not). There are usually suggestions on how to expand each project, and the author always encourages the reader to experiment (though never with a wall socket!).

It is very light on theory, but the goal is noise and creative experimentation, not math. The author makes this clear from the beginning, but also points the reader in the right direction if he / she wants to know more.

The DVD is incredible. Little instruction videos by the author in his workshop; music; videos; art; weirdness. A unique collection almost worth the cost of the book itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars handy for the handy Oct. 17 2012
By goosers
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book outlines basics and provides documentation of sound artist work therein providing the practices of making work from the techniques provided. Great for people wanting to get some basic electronics made and work through ideas on their own.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best musical circuit book ever Aug. 8 2011
By Analog Monster - Published on Amazon.com
Quite simply this book is fantastic. It starts off very simply, each project is explained in a way that is easy to understand. There is a logical progression and there is enough information provided that you can start experimenting yourself - I combined and modified some of the designs to make something of my own. The chapters are interspersed with inspirational descriptions of artist's related projects, and the included DVD allows you to see many of these.

This book has given me enough basic skills and inspiration that I have caught the bug. I have been to a few electronics/music workshops over the past couple of years and if the tutor does not recommend this book a fellow student does. I have since honed my skills and I am now running my own business designing and building guitar effects pedals and synthesizer kits. Get this book, you wont regret it
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Now! Sept. 26 2011
By Gary Kalar - Published on Amazon.com
If you're looking at this book, and reading the reviews, you are the type of person who will be really happy you bought this.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great basics and not-so-basics for musicians Jan. 11 2011
By Kirin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a musician with an interest in bizarre tone generators this seems like a very cool book and includes circuit-bending and circuit-building advice that I've heard many times from my electronically gifted friends. Mainly, however, I am interested in a little DIY money-saving action and this book is great for that. It's explanations of electrical phenomena is simple and easy to understand, and the sections on speakers and microphone building will pay for the cost of this book ten times over.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely changed my life Sept. 24 2011
By Mosspassion - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely incredible! So simply articulate to such technical things, and such interesting projects! This is just an all around well written project book. It has updated citations to things like what website to get bulk/cheap parts from and examples (on DVD, as well as other references) from many sonic artists who have tampered in related mad sciences. The different projects are diverse and well prepared.. It's just the greatest thing for a beginning sonic/electronics nerd! Can't say enough about how much I've gotten out of this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discover your own awesome sounds Dec 10 2012
By Prole - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is a free digital version of this book but it lacks some of the very best projects and also some of the most useful information. Nic Collins makes electronics instantly accessible to non-engineers like me without removing all the theory or dumbing it down.

Most of the projects in this book rely on existing electronics thus: "the art of hardware hacking" so you probably won't be building a minimoog clone after reading this but you will know how to unlock the awesome sonic potential of the old electronics in your basement or attic.
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