Thursday, August 21, 2008

Weevil08

Whoo hoo, I finally got one!

(Although this photo is from the BugBrand website.)


Uh, sorry about that, but I’ve tried to get a Weevil so many times now that I didn’t really think it was actually possible. The stars all aligned properly yesterday, apparently, as I happened to check my email while at work, which I’m not really supposed to be doing, of course, just after the Bug Brand email came in. Also, this time there were an unusually large number of Weevils available, 20 of them, rather then the usual 5 or 6. I jumped on it, and have just released a 24-hours-held breath as I checked my email, again from work, and found my congratulations note from Tom.

In my excitement, though, I’ve more or less started at the end, so let me start from the beginning as I’ve probably lost a few people along the way.

Tom Bugs of BugBrand makes all sorts of boxes which make all sorts of noises (and in fact some of them don’t even come in boxes). Here’s how he describes it on his website:

BugBrand offers a constantly expanding and mutating range of electronic sound & effect devices, all built by hand in Bristol, singly or in small batches. All designs mix experimental audio circuitry with ideas taken from the techniques of circuit bending, and bring together many different controls and playing methods to give intuitive and inspiring instruments.

Most of the boxes have small touch pads, nine of them in the case of the Weevil08, and a selection of knobs and switches. They’re not exactly a synthesizer because that implies full control, but they’re more than a Cracklebox because those have pretty much no controls at all.

Here’s BugBrand’s description of a Weevil:

Weevils are built around lofi squarewave oscillators which are quasi-ringmodulated together. Add on power starvation, body contacts and other features and you get versatile noise’n’drones, full of chaotic and analogue life.

There have been many incarnations of the Weevil, ranging from tiny postcard versions up to the latest AudioWeevil. There’s a fascinating history of the Weevil with lots of photos on the BugBrand Sound Devices page. The one that I’d really like to have is the Drone Machine, but unfortunately only five were ever made. There’s also a BugBrand modular, but they’re not available for purchase as there’s only one. Also, if you’re in Europe there’s an occasional BugBrand performance and/or installation.

I hope to have my Weevil08 in a week or so. Once it arrives I’ll post photos and maybe a video.

Update: Some of the Bugbrand links have changed since I wrote this. The current BugBrand Sound Devices page is more of a what's-currently-available page rather than a history. Also, unfortunately the Drone Machine page isn't there anymore. The BugBrand modular is actually being produced now, though. There are 12 being made as of mid 2009 (all of which are spoken for).