Earlier today I took part in a DIY synth workshop at TEKS. The workshop was a lot of fun. We got some hands on experience making noisy gadgets and I am probably going to continue experimenting with mine on the weekend. I've been thinking about hooking up to my Arduino to make it MIDI-controllable, though before i do that I probably have to whip out my calculator and do a bit of head-scratching to make sure that I don't fry my Arduino.
The part that really excites me is that TEKS may be what Matt, Ståle, me, and others have been looking for: a place to meet other people who are interested in building stuff -- and not least, a place to do it. I talked a bit to Arnfinn, who works at TEKS, and we agreed that we should set up a meeting and discuss a bit.
We also talked a bit about building an instrument based on a tesla coil. Well, actually, multiple tesla coils. I am thinking something along the lines of having 2-4 large tesla coils (anything worth doing is worth overdoing) hooked up to some oscillators and build a MIDI interface for it so it can be hooked up to a keyboard or a sequencer. The more of it we build ourselves, the more fun it will be.
To that end I was thinking about recruiting Hans Jørgen Grimstad since he has actually built a tesla coil. If Hans Jørgen is up for the challenge of guiding a bunch of people through building: I'm in! :-)
On my way home I got a couple of other crazy ideas involving large, translucent tubes with jacobs ladders inside them and microphones in the tubes to capture the sound of the sparks so we can process the sounds before pumping them out on a PA system.
It would also be interesting to build a (MIDI-controlled) percussive instrument based on gas, pipes, some solenoids and spark plugs, but I'm afraid the fire department may have something to say about that.
It would be cool to write a piece of music for "four tesla-coils, a pyrophone, two jacobs ladders and a fire-department". :-)