Barry Prophet's 'Synthecycletron'. Amazing installation/instrument from Toronto based composer and instrument architect, Barry Prophet. It's basically a pedal-powered synth that allows anyone (up to 4 people) to create improvised music by pedaling and moving their bodies to shape the sounds. Here's his own intro to the work which exhibited in Toronto over the summer and into the fall.
He gives this break down of the title of the piece:

synthesis: Combination, composition, putting together; building up of separate elements esp. of conceptions, propositions or facts, into a connected whole, esp. a theory or system.

cycle: Recurrent period. Cycle per second. One complete wavelength. What is technically a double vibration is conventionally called a vibration, cycle or oscillation.

bicycle: Two wheeled mode of transportation powered by foot or hand crank.

cyclotron: Apparatus for acceleration of charged atomic particles revolving in magnetic field.

Synthecycletron is a site specific pedal powered sound sculpture containing electronic sound components within structures of steel, sheet metal, rattan and wood. The dimensions of the sculpture are approximately 8 ft high with a 14 ft. square foot print. Four stationary bicycles serve as turbines to generate electricity to power synthesizer components housed in a metal tower. The bikes radiate out from the tower to connect with Theremin pedestals which house Theremin synthesizers. When a person pedals a bike, they will generate energy which powers the synthesizer components creating patterns of sounds. When they or someone else wave their hands in front of the Theremin Pedestals, pitch bending electronic sounds are generated from the Theremin synthesizers.
Visitors to the Synthecycletron will be encouraged to pedal and play with sound. From a distance, observers will see people pedaling and waving their arms at the base of something that looks like a wildly painted space ship. What they will hear will be improvised sound art.

Here's an example of the kind of sounds this thing will make:

Field Recordings of the Synthecyclotron

Here's a photo:

I kind of love the dorky 6 year old paint splotch job although if he was really going for a space ship, I think he could have done something a bit more technological seeming. But this is pretty lo fi technology that makes this thing work, I mean it's pedal powered and uses theremins...not that I could put it together or anything. Just sayin...

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