The first time I met Patrick McCarthy, half of the duo known as Roth Mobot, he was teaching a class on how to transmogrify discarded toys for children into strange and wonderful musical instruments through a technique called “circuit bending.” Armed with screwdrivers and soldering irons, and mind open to possibilities and experimentation, he showed how to alter the internal wiring of an electronic find from a thrift store so it would make interesting and unusual sounds not intended by its original designer. The true lesson was to be adventurous, to try something and see what you can figure out.
Roth Mobot will be conducting demonstratons of circuit bending on Sunday at Evanston Mini Maker Faire and performing on Saturday night.
In addition to the many workshops on circuit bending and experimental electronics they teach, Patrick performs circuit-bent music with Tommy Stephenson in a style they call “recursive jazz.” From altered electronics and appropriately-amplified found objects– one of my favorites is the chimes of a Fisher-Price Happy Apple– they create compelling soundscapes that entice and intrigue the listener. You can listen here: http://rothmobot.bandcamp.com
Roth Mobot’s appearance at Evanston Mini Maker Faire is sponsored in part by Element 14.