This is Chanter. It began its humble life as one of those free prayer boxes you can get free from the Buddhist Temple in LA. My friend the wonderfully bizarre Negativland co-conspirator Tim Maloney (Naked Rabbit) gave it to me to see what I could do to it. Here's his comment on the modification: "No matter the motivations, you are still offending a world religion."

Well. I was able to do much to it, as you can see.

I added a 500K pot for fairly wide pitch down control, 2 optical resistors (under the glass blobs), an LED snakelite that is hooked up to the audio output so it can optically play itself, and an amazing noise bank of 9 switches (8 toggles and one momentary pushbutton). Each group of "additions" can be switched on independently, together, or left off for "normal" mode.

I installed it all in a Chinese box I got at a garage sale in SF. Mounted the switches, pot, lite, etc in a piece of hobby wood that I stenciled different "areas" of modification in black, then stained and scratched the wood to give it an antique electroalchemical test equipment feel. I wanted to use the original enclosure somehow so I used it as a speaker mount on the inside of the lid. It also contains a red LED hooked up to the audio output that makes the "smiley face" on the top of the lid glow while playing. Nifty!

This noisy box puts out the most amazing array of lo-bit glitchiness and cacophony. I can play a 20 minute noise set with just this and make some ears bleed. I wonder what the Buddhists would think about their chanter box now?

See more of the requisite construction shots here, if you're a glutton.

Shots of the Box itself, front and back. Note the "smiley face" thing on the top. Its some weird piece of plastic I had among my mountains of junk. It worked perfect as there was a round indentation in the top of the box that needed to be filled. I think this worked great. And, it glows flickery red when the instrument is playing. On the back, for my signature, I used the "FOR CHARITY USE NOT FOR SALE" label which was on the underside of the original enclosure.
Here's a detail shot of the control panel.


Completed: 4/5/07
Dimensions: 8.75" wide, 4" high, 6" deep.
Current Status:

Jumbled with the rest of the gadgets on the shelf. Waiting...

Audio Bits:

ChanterNormToSlow.mp3 Just as it's listed there, from normal chant to slowwww.
ChanterOptical.mp3 Notice a pattern? Optical control with LED snakelite.
ChanterSwitches.mp3 A nice long noisy journey thru the switch matrix. Turn down the lights. Hide the cats.
Don't call your girlfriend.