DATE: 04-19-2016

Ed Seeman Artist Self Portrait Dr Blankenstein Drew Blanke's GrandfatherWhat I am talking about is our relationship with world renowned multimedia artist Ed Seeman. To put it most bluntly, he is my Grandfather. As our apparent genetic artistic connection becomes more and more clear, today… the 4 year anniversary of this website, I thought it important to bring to everyone’s attention. The more I find out about his long and impressive career, the more I draw connections between what he does (although we have worked with much different medias) and what I do.  Thinking outside of the box, and working with what you have runs in the Blanke family it would seem.

Ed Seeman Army CartoonLet me just take a long moment to highlight SOME of his many well-known projects (this is not even close to the complete list, for that you will need to visit his website www.EdSeeman.com).  Ed Seeman graduated the High School of Music and Art in 1949, then proceeded to get his start at Paramount Studios in New York animating famous cartoon characters such as Popeye and Casper the Friendly Ghost.   In 1953 he headed to Frankfurt, Germany during the Korean war where he served in the Army 4th Division for 2 years as a very popular cartoonist for the military till being honorably discharged in 1954 (receiving both a ribbon & medal for his work). That would have been impressive enough for most people, but for Ed it’s just the very beginning of an incredible art career. From there Seeman formed GryphonEd Seeman Sugar Bear Cartoon Animation Frame Productions where he and his partner w/ Ray Favata animated more of the world’s most recognized cartoon characters (Rocky and Bullwinkle, My Little Pony, The Flintstones, Sugar Bear, TRIX Rabbit to name a few) from 1961-1969. This is where things get really crazy, the late 60s of course. My grandfather was working with the legendary Gershon Kingsley at the time, which is when and how he met Bob Moog!  Bob had been selling synthesizer modules to Gershon to use in his commercials, here is a commercial Ed Seeman Frank Zappa Uncle Meat Box Cover Back Creditsthat Gershon and Ed Seeman worked on using one of the very first modular Moog synthesizers called "Hanes Hell". It was also around this time he had heard about these “freaks from the East Village” from my Mother called Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.  Wondering what all the fuss was about, he went to see Frank Zappa and later offered him the chance to do audio for a TV commercial (A Luden’s Cough Drops commercial named “The Big Squeeze” that went on to win a Clio award). More importantly, Zappa and Seeman decided to work on a long term film project that would have my Grandfather touring all around the world capturing Zappa with his special breed of psychedelic filming.  A lot of the footage that would later wind up in the Frank Zappa films “Uncle Meat” and "Mothers of Invention" (which Ed won the Cine Golden Eagle Award for) were filmed by my Grandfather Ed Seeman during that time. The rest ofEd Seeman Great Space Coaster Opening Animation the 14 hours of footage is kept locked away in the Zappa vault, where no one has seen any of it in a LONG TIME. What very rare footage is remaining in Ed’s hands, can be purchased here (I highly suggest it if you are a big Frank Zappa fan).

Do you remember the show Billy Jo Jive or The Great Space Coaster (well, the hand animated opening which he won a daytime Emmy for  in 1982)? That’s Ed Seeman animation. Along the way he managed to save thousands and thousands MUMPHREY MINDY MAX MANATEE by Ed Seemanof Manatees with the TV campaign he spearheaded (animated, voiced, and filmed) with the Florida Oceanographic Society (Mumphrey, Mindy and Max). Of course we can’t leave out the ILLUMIRINGER pedal he co-designed with me for Dr. Blankenstein.  As you can see, the man has been a nonstop art producing machine since the late 1940’s and that’s the shortEd Seeman / Drew Blanke Illumiringer Pedal version (I am leaving so many things out, I challenge you to Google him and find them ;) Still at it with my wonderful Grandmother (I call G-Amy), Ed and Amy are still selling his fantastic fractal art and photo montage tributes on eBay, in this incredible e-book and on his website. I really do feel a lot of my creativity and ability to work outside the lines comes from him, I am proud to call him my Grandfather.  Ed Seeman, thank for all you have given to me (and the world), we truly appreciate it.


Moogfest 2016 LogoIt’s that time of the year again (well, that time of bi-yearly again really)… MOOGFEST 2016! I could not be more excited, this is going to be the best year yet. Not only because Moog Music has put together one of the most mind-blowing and extensive line-ups of musicians and technology visionaries ever, but also because I will be doing 3 WORKSHOPS for it this year! That’s right, count em’ with me… not 1, not 2, but 3 WORKSHOPS at this year’s Moogfest. Well, really 2 synthesizer building workshops, and 1 circuit bending Hack-a-Thon. Let me say from the beginning, space is limited. So, if you are the hacking type… or want to buildDr Blankenstein Moogfest 2016 Daytime Lineup your first voltage controlled synth with me, be ready to sign up for the workshops quickly. I believe it will be a first come, first serve basis… there are only so many soldering work-station that can be set up in an area without it getting just nuts. Ha
That being said, if you enjoy my work and will be at the festival… PLEASE make every effort to get signed on early. If you have no plans to go to Moogfest this year, think again… really really really think about it. Done? Okay, good… now go buy your tickets. It really would be amazing to meet a lot of you, talk nerd and connect. I assume Moogfest will be putting Drew Blanke Dr Blankenstein Moogfest 2016 Website Profileup some kind up sign up for the event on their site, or at the event itself. Please subscribe to my Twitter feed to make sure you get the sign up info as soon as I know. This much I can tell you right now, it’s going to be AWESOME!!!

Moogfest has been interwoven in my circuitry history for many years now, from attendee, to contest winner, to keynote speaker for MAKE Magazine, and now my favorite of them all…. Circuit Bending / Circuitry Instructor.  Started by a man with a vision for the world, continued by a company that is owned by the very people who work for it, Moogfest continues to excel the revolution started by geniuses like Dr. Robert Moog… and inspires the ones to come. It’s an absolute pleasure and an honor to be part of such a fantastic and important technological linage. Thank you Moogfest for all you do for circuitry, thank you Moogfest for all you do for Dr. Blankenstein… I’ll see you soon Durham!!!


Workshop – Build your own voltage controlled mini stylus synthesizer!
Friday May 20, 2016 2PM-3:30PM (subject to change, stay tuned)
Saturday May 21, 2016 4:30PM-6PM (subject to change, stay tuned)

Circuit Bending Hack-A-Thon – We Void Warranties!
Sunday May 22, 2016 10AM-1PM

DATE: 12-14-2015

Vice Magazine LogoWhat can be said about VICE Magazine that they don’t make abundantly apparent? They are bold, they are honest, they tackle topics other media outlets won’t go near, and THEY WERE IN MY ELECTRONICS LABORATORY!  I can also tell you it was a complete and total pleasure to have them here. I was contacted by Abdullah Saeed (a Vice reporter, who you might remember from these Creators Projects pieces on Dr. Blankenstein) and his right hand man, film master Mariano Carranza to come by the Dr. B lab and see some cool prototypes and one of a kind pieces. Would dr blankenstein's vice device made for VICE Magazine Abdullah Saeedyou know, that’s exactly what they did. We spent hours recording different awesome pieces, getting into little circuit bent jams and whatnot.  Only a tiny portion of the sonically epic journalistic experience was put into the final piece, but it’s a great 3 MINS!

I showed them my circuit bent Operation game board, a toy lizard that got on the receiving end of an illumiringer modification kit, the modifieAbdullah Saeed Drew Blanke Vice Magzine Device Synth d Casio Pocket Calculator (the one from Moogfest 2014) and most importantly… The Vice Device. The VICE Device is a custom synthesizer I designed, built, and gave to Abdullah for all of his support of Dr. Blankenstein’s work over the years. To say it is much appreciated would be an understatement.

For some odd reason (I think it has something to do with the Paris attacks :/ ) the video was geo-blocked from one area to the next (it came out in 3 countries as far as I know), so you will need to click the appropriate link (US / CANADA / FRANCE) to see it depending on where you live. Before the piece was geo-blocked it was VERY interesting to see the differences in how the media (even with a very liberal media outlet such as VICE) presents the news to diAbdullah Saeed Dr Blankenstein Vice Magzinefferent countries. Without getting political, I will just state the obvious… they certainly water it down for us in the United States. The differences between the segments that mine was sandwiched between were staggering to say the least.

Regardless of all that, it was AMAZING to have VICE over to my lab… and they are certainly invited back anytime. It would be fantastic if they one day took the rest of the great footage we captured that day and turned it into its own segment (we certainly captured enough good footage to make one up, and I think people would enjoy it). Thanks a million Abdullah, thank you Mariano, thank you VICE Magazine… stay awesome.


DATE: 07-15-2015

Airplane Wing Illumiringer Guitar Tim Sway Dr BlankensteinSome of you might remember my good friend and fellow maker Tim Sway from our mutual project started by him “The Geigerringer”. Well, this December I was contacted by Tim to work on an even more exciting illumiringer project. This time Tim had been invited by the FYI Network to star in their up-cycling TV show called
Trashformers”, and he was now inviting me to take part in one of the projects. The project was a good one as well, make a guitar out of an AIRPLANE WING!

Tim Sway and Drew Blanke with Airplane Wing Illumiringer Guitar TrashformersTim tried to get me an actual cameo in the show (he tried HARD for me), but in the end legal paperwork made it too hard to accomplish in such a tight timeframe. No matter, we would get my illumiringer electronics in there anyway! Tim had grabbed one of the control panels from the plane, complete with original switches, meter and all. Perfect for hacking an effects mod into… I added the illumiringer kit, some big fat LEDS and a kill switch (really cool feature). In the end I think it really completed the piece, I think the judges thought so as well. It was my pleasure to add my little something to such an exciting project!Brooks Atwood Trashformers FYI Network Dr Blankenstein TV Credit

I want to thank Tim Sway and the good folks at FYI Network (Brooks Atwood) for including me in some way, and the show credits. It was amazing to see Tim win (spoiler alert) the episode with a piece we worked on together. I look forward to working with Tim again on future project, stay tuned. In case you missed the link above, here is the video clip from the "Trashformers" episode with the airplane wing guitar.

DATE: 03-08-2015

KRSD Communication Tools LogoYou read the title correctly, a speech language pathology company! How does that go about happening you ask? Well, my wife of course. Using my technical skills, her amazing mind (filled with a double master’s degree I might add), as well as a few really amazing partners in the S.L.P. field we established… K.R.S.D Communication Tools. Before you ask, let me just tell you. The “K” stands for Kaitlin Dondorf, M.S., CCC-SLP. The “R” is for Renee Laura Fabus, PhD, CCC-SLP, TSHH. The “S” is for SUPERWIFE, and also Selene Gatzonis, M.S. CCC-SLP, TSSLD. I think it then goes without saying the “D” is for myself, Drew Blanke.

Okay, enough about the name already DOC! I hear you, so what have we done so far, and what do we plan to do in the future? Great questions, thanks for asking myself them. To answer scientifically in non specific terms, a lot of very useful Speech Language Pathology stuff! Such as our download / DVD “The Educational Video for Individuals with Dysphagia” (nice snappy name, right?). Dysphagia, put simply is having trouble swallowing, and it affects more people worldwideKRSD Communication Tools Dysphagia DVD Front Cover than you think. Our video is designed to show a patient, their care giver or an SLP the industry’s most widely accepted exercises and maneuvers for people suffering from Dysphagia. How do I come into this, I designed the website, cover graphics, edited and authored the DVD, as well as published it on Amazon. As I said, I am the technical part of this partnership. 

Check out the website for the project: www.DysphagiaVideo.com

Next we have something very exciting to us, because it is so fresh and hot right now. That something is called the Amazon Echo! You might even own one already, if not… you have probably heard of it and might own one soon. It’s an amazing Pringles can speaker you can talk to! No really, it’s what will probably be considered the REAL beginning of home automation, and the integration of artificial intelligence into our lives. Although “Alexa” (the personality of the device is called) can already do a lot (set timers, get facts, turn on lights etc) all of her “intelligence” comes from programming in the cloud. Well, considering this is a speech oriented device… we wanted in on the ground floor. So to the Amazon Echo Alexa Product Shot and Logobest of our knowledge, we present to you… the very first speech language pathology Amazon Echo “Skill”. Our skill is called K.R.S.D. Communication Tools “SLP Praxis Review” (you will need to own an Echo for this link to work for you), and it is just that. In essence, it’s a set of virtual flashcards a budding speechie can use to study for the Speech Language Pathology Praxis exam. Simple enough, but still really cool.

We plan to keep putting out useful and innovative SLP tools moving forward, who knows… we might even develop some new hardware while we are at it. After all, they do have Dr. Blankenstein on their team… right? :)


DATE: 11-03-2014

Herb Deutsch at Drew Blanke Queens Museum Circuitry Class Photo New New YorkersThis is a 25 minutes chunk of what was a 1 hour and 30 minute interview with Moog synthesizer's musical genius, life long educator.... Herbert Deutsch. The conversation was moderated by myself, Drew Blanke (Dr. Blankenstein).

I am sorry in advance for the fact that the video cuts short so quickly. There was no one manning the camera and we assumed it would record a file longer than 30 minutes (THANKS SONY BLOGGIE!!!). We were sadly wrong. That Herb Deutsch and Drew Blanke at Queens Museum NY Sept 27 2014being said, the first 1/3 of the interview gave some really new and exciting incite into the wonderful mind of Mr. Herbert Deutsch. We cover what got him into music, when he first started making stuff, and of course.. when he met Dr. Robert Moog.
Herb Deutsch at Queens Museum NY New New Yorkers Circuit Bending Class
It was amazing to have Herb come to the Queens Museum in Corona, Queens (a place he had mentioned has some very deep history with him, the location of the 64' NY World's Fair) and meet my circuitry class / see their wonderful circuitry projects.
Thanks Herb! :)

DATE: 10-19-2014

illumiringer fx box made for Ad Rock by Dr Blankenstein I just had to do it, how many chances does a man get to see Cheech & Chong "Up in Smoke" with Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys at a CBGB Music and Film Festival? The answer.... is one chance.

I bought my tickets to the movie, and immediately started thinking of what I might give to the King Ad-Rock if I was able to catch up with him for a few. A ran through a bunch of ideas, none of which seemed right for him. I wanted the piece to really be a custom number, one that not only looked Beastie, but would be useful to one.

Eventually it hit me, how about a Stereo R.C.A. version of the illumiringer effect. This way it could easily be used with turntables or a sampler (two things Adam Horovitz is noAd Rock Adam Horovitz and Drew Blanke Dr Blankenstein stranger to). I like the idea of the effect being stereo, this will allow Adam to turn on one channel (left or right) of the effect or both. That way the end result of a beat / record would be a combination of both, giving the final sound some really cool texture.  I finsihed the piece up with a quickness , immediately tweeted Adam this Vine, and told him I had made him an illumiringer.

Well, if you watch the video you will see.. I was able to catch up with Adam after the movie and hand him off the piece. He was totally stoked, but probably not as much as I was. ha  Sadly the video is only a walk through of the features and graphics, I didn't have enough time to put together a good RCA setup to shoot a good demo. Hopefully we will see or hear some of it somewhere in Adam's future work.
Adam Horovitz Ad Rock and Dr Blankenstein Drew Blanke
Either way, it was amazing to meet him.. what a totally down to earth cool guy. Not that I or anyone else would expect anything less. Adam had mentioned he had even given some circuit bending a shot in the past, and has a pile of baby toys left behind from his son he might want to have me crack open. It would of course be an honor, I look forward to it (never happened! lol :) Again, thanks Adam... you rock!

DATE: 09-23-2014
Unisphere at the Queens Museum 2014Around the middle / end of July I was contacted by the unstoppable Jose Rodriquez (Queens Museum / New New Yorkers) and asked to teach an 8 week circuit bending workshop at the museum.  This being the 3rd time working with the museum over the last few years, and the second since the major renovation last year...  I of course jumped at the chance. Again, if you haven'tDr Blankenstein teaching circuit bending class at the Queens Museum been over to the Queens Museum (formally the Queens Museum of Art / or QMA) recently.. you should check it out.  Between the amazing park, park views, fantastic art, rich New York history, and AMAZING RENOVATION... you really can't miss.  Museum admission is donation based, keep that in mind... it's going to come up again later. ;)

Drew Blanke and New New Yorker Studend Circuit Bending at Queens MuseumSo, I quickly put together a game plan for the 8 weeks, designed a PCB, etched them, ordered all the needed components, printed hand outs and class materials and was ready to BEND! I would bring my group of multi cultural Queens adults through the basics of circuitry, learning different concepts and principles, identifying components, reading small schematics, soldering, wiring preparation, planning out an enclosure, testing and trouble shooting, circuit installation and hacking. I took a different approach to this workshop, considering I knew we would have multiple weeks to figure things out.  That being said, instead of just making a simple step by step kit for everyone to build... I designed the workshop's circuit board with lots of "hack points".  The idea being, everyone in the group would wind up with a slightlyDr Blankenstein and Mellissa Inniss Circuit Bending at Queens Museum different final project from the person next to them.  Everyone was given a handout with different options they could add or leave out of the circuit (depending on what was most important to them). Meaning, some folks wanted to be able to power the circuit with USB instead of a 9V battery, we learned how to do that.  Others didn't care for the screaming synth sound, and really were only concerned about the LEDS, so we added 3 large ones on a dimmer. There were different switch options, power options, touch point options, light sensors and more. This certainly made things harder to figure out, it wasn't a paint by number project (which often, people don't really learn from) this was actual circuit bending / hacking.  The only difference was, instead of starting with a completed circuit... we needed to first build out the main circuit, then add our custom modifications.  By doing things this way, I believe everyone received a greater and more realistic understanding of what we were working on... and felt truly gratified when it finally worked George building a sci fi synth at queens museum circuitry workshopthe way THEY wanted it to.  Mission accomplished!

That bring us to the LAST WEEK of the workshop, most are finished with the circuit and have built it into their case or at least on their way to. I have had a special surprise waiting for them up my sleeve this entire time... I have invited Mr. Herb Deutsch (co inventor of the Moog synthesizer) to our last class Saturday 9/27/2013 where he will talk with the class and myself, taking everyone through some historical moments between him and Bob Moog (just miles Queens Museum circuit bending class with dr blankensteinfrom the Queens Museum back in 1964, and much more. 

This end of workshop celebration is open not only to the circuit bending class, but to THE GENERAL PUBLIC as well. Come down and join us, hear Herb speak, check out everyone's projects, have some refreshments, see the museum, enjoy to park. This event is free with a regular museum donation (told you it would come up again). To the New New Yorker Circuit Bending Workshop 2014 graduates, I salute you! You all did a fantastic job, as it was equally as fantastic to show you my world!  To the rest of you, hope to see you Saturday!


Herb Deutsch showing Dr Blankenstein early moog synth at HofstraWhile speaking to Herb Deutsch at Moogfest 2014, I reminded him of our quick stop and chat at Moogfest 2012 at the private Primus circuit bent instrument jam in the Moog Factory.  We had a pretty funny conversation about the age old dilemma, to were a tie to an event or not. :) More importantly Herb had mentioned that he is a music professor at Hofstra University onHerb Deutsch Hofstra University Moog Synth w/ Drew Blanke Long Island, and that they have one of the first complete modular Moog synthesizer systems from the middle 60's there! Not only did they still have it there from the 60's (Herb has been teaching there for 50 plus years now, talk about dedication to music), but they had built it into an amazing glass case to showcase it for the ages.  What else could a native New York synth geek do but ask if it would be possible to meet up with him over there to see the display.

Herb Deutsch Hofstra University Dr Blankenstein Moog Ladder FilterAfter returning home from Moogfest, I sent my follow up emails out to all the incredible people I met, which of course included Herb. We set up a date and met up at the University.  As you can see from the pictures, the display is worth it's weight in gold.  Very impressive, as well as super cool for the University to acknowledge what a powerful contribution to the musical arts those original machines were.  As well as, how lucky they have been to have such an inspired mind like Herb's to teachHerb Deutsch Hofstra University Office w/ Drew Blanke students, perform and organize music events. 

Our meeting was everything I had hoped it would be, filled with stories one could only hear from someone so deep in the technical mix at that point in history as Mr. Deutsch was. I brought along a Moog Ladder filter I had built (with an Illumiringer modification of course) for him to check out, he gave me a tour of the music building, his office. In short, I again was honored and moved by the experience. Herb, thank you for taking the time, and thank you for all you do.  Sir, you r rock!


Moogfest 2014 LogoA lot can be said for the feeling a circuitry nerd gets when he receives an email from Mark Frauenfelder (Make Magazine / BoingBoing) inviting him to come to Asheville N.C. to speak at Moogfest. Well, that's just what happened, to put it simply... I was honored & ecstatic.  Just like that I was booked, and heading down south again to visit the fine folks at Moog Music.  This time it would be to speak for MAKE magazine, with fantastic minds such as Nicolas Collins (author of Hand Made Electronics Music), Jay Silver (Inventor of the MakeyMakey) as well as long time inspiration, RadioShack author and original creator of the Atari Punk Console Forrest Mims III!
Mark Frauenfelder,  Dr_Blankenstein, Forrest Mims III  at Moogfest2014 for Make Magazine
The next few months were spent coming up with my concept for my presentation as well as some excellent pieces to back it up.  Being that Kraftwerk had been added to the line up, what better topic to follow than electronic music, the evolution of the transistor and how it all sharpened the music industry to a point in the 70's with groups like Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd and YES (to name a few). Those who Kraftwerk Pocket Calculator Circuit Bent Moogfest 2014 Dr Blankenstein Gearknow Kraftwerk's music well, know that the apex of this movement exploded with the release of the early 80s  album classic "Computer World".  With this, I focused in on the song "Pocket Calculator" as both the final statement about the ever shrinking, continuously growing more powerful transistor instrument (think iPhone 30 years later) and as my creation examples. Rather than tell you about the entire presentation...why not just watch it HERE if you are interested ;) Like most live shows done on the fly, there were a few technical issues with the sound, so if you want a better idea of what the gear I brought was all about (and don't really care to hear me talk) this is the link for you (it's video of a rehearsalForrest Mims III receiving a Dr Blankenstein Atari Punk Console At Moogfest 2014l recorded prior to Moogfest). 

As for my example pieces, I brought along a circuit bent Bee-Gee's Rhythm Machine Keyboard (same one used on the song), a circuit bent Casio ML-831 Musical Calculator (similar to the one used on the song) and a built from the ground up custom Stylophone. All the instruments had my Illumiringer effect modification kit built in them, to help illustrate how powerful small circuitry can be when added to out dated equipment. I of course managed to squeeze the time in there to build Forrest Mims an Dr. Blankenstein Atari Punk Console. There Herb Deutsch and Dr Blankenstein (Drew Blanke) at Moogfest 2014is no way I could share a room with the man without paying tribute with an APC2600.  Just before the presentations started I gave Mr. Mims my creation, he was more than thrilled! It was a great moment for everyone who was there... and not one that I will be forgetting anytime soon.  We took a bunch of pics together, he signed my copy of Getting Started in Electronics, and have been in touch since. He also had mentioned the experience in the wrap up of the event he wrote for the San Antonio Express News
Dave Smith and Dr Blankenstein (Drew Blanke) at Moogfest 2014
As for the scene in Asheville when we got there, INCREDIBLE! Pretty much the Disney World of the synthesizer universe.  From having drinks with Herb Duetsch at the roof top VIP party (DJ'd by Flying Lotus) on opening night, seeing multiple Kraftwerk shows, to eating gourmet Ramon with synthesizer pioneer Dave Smith (inventor of MIDI, Dave Smith Instruments) after my presentation... the weekend was ACTION PACKED with fantastic sythy things. They have since announced that they will do Moogfest every other year from now on, if you haven't made it to one yet... I wouldn't miss Gold Plated Moog Filter Knob given to Dr Blankenstein for Moogfestthe next one. 

As if all that wasn't good enough, as if I didn't feel truly honored enough already..  I return home to receive an official Moogfest poster, a thank you letter from Emmy and Mike from Moog, AND a coveted gold plated Moog filter knob! If that's not class... I don't know what is.  Thank you Moog Music, thank you Mark / MAKE Magazine, thank you Magnum PR, thank you Glenn Moses, thank you Selene... lord knows I could not have pulled it off without you all! Till next time... 

This is a Trent Rezor Song - Freddy ScottA lot of you probably caught this parody video and song produced by Freddy Scott, but what you didn't know is...  The piece of gear pictured during the "weird sound, what the hell was that?" part of the video is a custom Dr. Blankenstein "Sci-Fi Synth".  After first hearing the song on Fred's SoundCloud I immediately tweeted it out to my feed, where it was retweeted by Mark Frauenfelder's BoingBoing. It completely exploded after that.  I contacted Fred to congratulate him on a totally successful viral hit, and offered to build him a piece for his "weird sounds".  He of course was thrilled by the offer (and everything else going on at once).

Dr Blankenstein Synth Built for Freddy Scott - NIN Parody SongI fixed him up a custom sci-fi synth built into an upcycled box and laid over some Trent Reznor graphics... a message of "Weird Sound" over the front of the synthesizer, and "what the hell was that?" going around the sides.  I have only built this synth at workshops I have taught at the local museums, and one for Sean Lennon and Mushroomhead (it's not a synth that has a regular case design, I like to keep it available for smaller custom builds like this). After an extended postal trip out to L.A. (thanks to our friends at the USPS) Fred FINALLY received the synth and loved it.
Drew Blanke Synth Built for This is a Trent Reznor Song
I was told "I have a surprise coming for you", in which I waited for.  Well... the day the video comes out, I get an email saying "check out the weird sound" part of the video.  There it was! Soon there after it was blogged by the good people at Bent-Tronics, thanks for that guys.

Talk about winning at the internet, great job Freddy and thanks! Can't wait to hear the next release!

EverythingSounds Logo - Dr Blankenstein Interview2014 has most certainly kicked off with a bang over in Blankenstein land, and we aren’t even out of January yet. First, we have EverythingSounds… one of the most well put together podcast out there.. on.. well.. EVERYTHING SOUND oriented. The PodCast they did on Blankenstein was not only well put together, recorded at high quality, and entertaining… but also told the story better than we could have told it ourselves. Thank you Craig Shank and George Drake Jr. (chief operators and DJs of the show), great job… look forward to speaking to you again!Drew Blanke / Drew Blankenstein Twitter Logo

Next we would like to invite you to on Twitter. Get the latest news, see the newest creations first, and keep up the date with cool random science facts… and of course.. say hi.

Mushroomhead PictureLast, but most certainly not least… we must speak of MUSHROOMHEAD! We could not be more excited to mention that we are forging a really solid relationship with these guys that we hope will go on throughout the year, and beyond. They have picked up nearly everything that’s in the lab at the moment (an Endeavour, a couple ILLUMIRINGER Pedals, a SciFi synth for good measure and of course a demonic circuit bent alphabet caterpillar!) in preparation for their 7th studio release and a MUCH ANTICIPATED 20th Anniversary year. Which includes the SoundWave Festival in Australia, and a gig with Rob Zombie and KoRn  in Melbourne (we have been told to expect some video, you should do the same). Personally, we can’t think of a better band to represent Blankenstein.. and we CAN NOT WAIT to see what they do with it all! Thanks for the support guys, you rule!

DATE: 12-16-2013
Dr. Blankenstein Now for Sale at EtsyWe are very pleased to announce two new ways to get your hands on some Dr. Blankenstein gear. You can now purchase nearly the entire line of regularly stocked Dr. B pieces at both Etsy.com and California based gear slingers PerfectCircuitAudio.com . Keep in mind, PerfectCircuit is 100% an authorized dealer and equipment purchased from them is completely covered by our quality guarantee. As many of you know, due to a rather high demand… it’sPerfect Circuit Audio Logo not always easy to keep things in stock over here. If for any reason there is something you were looking to purchase, that you don’t see available here at the time… Etsy and PerfectCircuitAudio should be your next visits. Besides, they are both GREAT WEBSITES! ;)

DATE: 11-20-2013
"QUEENS MUSEUM ART RE-OPENING CELEBRATION"Queens Museum of Art Logo - Re-Opening Celebration
The Queens Museum of Art has been through many changes since its construction for the 1939 World’s Fair. It was even the location of the United Nations General Assembly for 4 years. This being said, few would argue that the most recent renovation is BY FAR the most grandiose one yet (and most expensive ;).

Needless to say, when the email came through with an invitation to do some circuitry with the children and help re-open the museum… we were THRILLED! And re-open it did! Bigger, New Queens Museum of Artmore impressive and most importantly of all… FILLED with a massive amount of new exciting artwork. And we were there to build some holiday themed circuits. Being that we were told the age range would be a little bit younger than usual, we aimed to make the circuit extra easy to complete. So, we whipped up a 4 component (battery, clip, switch, and flickering LED) kit that EVERYONE was sure to enjoy. In essence we built flameless candles with a “Happy Holidays” message on the board. It was a total HIT! Over 60 kits built, and tested in under an hour and half (for a 2 hour event). There was a wait to get over to the soldering stations 3-4 people deep for the entire event… the energy was high, and children were completing their firstUnisphere Corona Queens NY circuit boards at ages as young as FIVE YEARS OLD! Holy moly, were these kids SMART and ready to have some fun (with some learning snuck in of course). Everyone walked away with a working flameless candle and new found knowledge of circuitry and electricity. WINNING!

It was an pleasure and an HONOR to be part of such a monumental moment in the museum’s and in New York’s history. We are looking forward to doing more and more work with them in the very near future… stay tuned!

DATE: 08-26-2013
Collectors Weekly Magazine LogoIf you are a fan of anything, and I mean ANYTHING… you should also be a fan of Collectors Weekly. If there was ever a website loaded to the brim with cool stuff, nerd’ness and obsessive collecting… it was half the website that these guys put together. Whatever it is you are into… sports, music, comics, politics, pop culture.. you will find some of the most amazing stories, items and collections on your favorite topic. Check it out, we dare you… say goodbye to at least an hour of your daily productivity.
Boing Boing Logo
Ben Marks (the Senior Editor of CollectorsWeekly) put together
THIS fantastic piece , which was later blogged by our friend Mark Frauenfelder on his totally nerd-tastic blog BoingBoing (another incredible procrastination portal), RealClearScience and many others. Thank you Ben for writing such a great piece, and for all those who spread it around… you guys ROCK! Besides being a great Drew Blanke profile, the article also gets into the ILLUMIRINGER MOD KIT a bit as well.. most certainly worth a read.

DATE: 07-02-2013
Back, and ready to ward off a mosquito attack!? That’s right, On June 22nd Dr. Blankenstein was back at Mozilla Logo - Learnign Lab's Pop Up 2the New York Hall of Science to build a large batch of Sonic Repellent kits with the children and their parents. This time was for round 2 of the Hive Learning Network / Mozilla’s Learning Labs Pop-Ups. Like last time, nySCI was packed to the rafters with awesome educational S.T.E.M. based activities for the children and their families to get involved in. Don’t believe us? Check out this GREAT PICTURE COLLECTION posted by nySCI’s very own Explainers (the brilliant group of teensters on staff ready to assist in every way possible, they ROCK!)

Dr. Blankenstein's Sonic Repellent Circuitry Kit
If you live in the New York area, have children, are a child, have been to earth, have hands… you MUST head over to nySCI and get your Science on! Click here to find out more info on the science center and their many varied (and FUN!) programs! They have made a very warm and exciting home for Dr. Blankenstein, and we appreciate that AND everything they do for New York. GO SCIENCE! (PS: Keep an eye out for those Sonic Repellent Kits, coming soon to a Blankenstein site near you)

Toubab Krewe LogoOkay duhhh, they both play in very popular and AMAZING jam bands !  ( Grahame Lesh is the son of Grateful Dead bassist and vocalist Phil Lesh.  Drew Heller plays guitar for multicultural fusion band Toubab Krewe ) Understood, but what else do they have in common?  They BOTH received ILLUMIRINGER INSTRUMENT MODIFICATIONS KITS this month!

It's been nothing but exciting news after more exciting news with the ILLUMIRINGER circuit in past months (as can be seen by the entries below).  Here we add yet another two incredible chapters to the ever growing saga that is the now famous ILLUMIRINGER circuit ;) 

First we have Drew Heller's custom built triple neck cigar box guitar.  This beauty to behold (and hear) was built by none other than well known luthier Mike Orr the KING OF CIGARMike Orr Cigar Box Guitar Luthier and Dr Blankenstein w/ Drew Heller's Triple Neck Guitar BOX GUITARS! Mike Orr wrote the book on Cigar Box guitars, no really.... the man actually wrote the book. Pick up a copy here, or better yet... just buy a guitar off his eBay Account

I digress..  So Mike hits me up, and tells me he wants to grab a mod kit to install in Drew's epic triple neck guitar.  I of course hook him asap with a custom designed version of the mod for the piece.  Install went smooth, and we handed the now upgraded guitar to Drew backstage at the Brooklyn Bowl show (killer show btw! if you haven't seen these guys... please do).  I spoke to Mike since then, we plan to work on other projects together really soon.. stay tuned for updates on that.  And of course I got the lowdown on what Drew thinks of the modification, I have been told he LOVES IT and plans to bust it out at a few of their booked festivals dates this Summer.  If you plan on being at any of those, keep an eye out for it.  Expect a solid video of it in play very soon ;)

Phil Lesh and the terrapin family band nyc concert poster 2013The Grahame Lesh story is far less detailed and romantic but equally cool.  If you don't already know..  Phil Lesh has teamed up with his two sons Grahame and Brian (as well as a few other very fine musicians) to form the TERRAPIN FAMILY BAND.  People, let me tell you... this is KILLER! Of all the post Jerry Garcia Grateful Dead musical concoctions I have been to since 1995 (there have been MANY!) this might be the most heartfelt and real of them all.  If you like the Grateful Dead, you MUST catch one of their shows ASAP.  So I grabbed a pair of tickets to one of the 4 shows here in NYC this month... we grabbed tickets to the one going down on a city YACHT! Too bad it rained worse than I have seen in 5 years here, but no matter... the boat was packed with smiles. 

My plan was to maybe have a nice pedal built to give to Phil,Grahame Lesh of Terrapin Family Band and Dr Blankenstein Illumiringer but believe it or not nothing was coming to me.  My brain has been filled with a lot of new circuits and such these days, I suppose there was just no more room in there :) So, I figured what the hay.... why not just hand off one of my kits to Grahame when I saw him... and that's just what I did. About 5 minutes after getting on the boat, by the bar... there he was.  I simply walked over, introduced myself, explained the mod kit, gave it to him and grabbed a picture.  He was VERY stoked to get one.. and said he would hit me up if he had any issues with the install (he won't.. it's simple folks!)  It was a pleasure to meet him, I look forward to seeing what he might do with it in the future. These kids give GREAT hope to a GRATEFUL future.

Dr Blankenstein Circuit Bent Theremin Illumiringer UkuleleWhat's in the future for the ILLUMIRINGER?  A LOT!  There are three new versions coming out this month.  The basic (the one that's out now) a Guitar Model (has a volume mix knob, some extra LEDS and more) and the BLENDER PRO version!  The blender pro is SICK! It features two independent inputs fed through a transistor gain preamp, THEN into the Illumiringer circuit (plus new switch wiring, control select LEDS, expression pedal input and MORE!) More on that VERY SOON.  There is also a "Circuit Bent Theremin Ukulele" and "The Didgeridoo of the future" demo videos coming at you this month.  Please check back for updates!

New York Hall of Science Make Academy LogoDr Blankenstein was back at the New York Hall of Science on May 16th, this time armed with 20 basic ILLUMIRINGER instrument modification kits.  The class was yet another amazing S.T.E.M. based learning series put together by NySci called theBatch of ILLUMIRINGER Mod Kits for the NySci Make Academy "Make Academy: Experimental Sound Studio".

The idea was this... first the children designed an acoustic instrument using various principles of sound they were taught by their fearless leader and instructor David Wells.  They used bottles, strings, springs, wood boxes... you name it, if it made a sound when struck or plucked these ultra creative padawan MAKERS used it in their instruments. 

NySci Make Academy ScheduleI WAS BLOWN AWAY by the ideas they had come up with, and their well thought out plans for executing their designs.  This is where the ILLUMIRINGER kits came in...  by installing the kit in their instruments they were going to be able to BOTH use the circuit as a preamp for their Piezo Contact Mics AND add the crazy filtered tones and control of the ILLUMIRINGER to their instruments!  Man were they excited when they got their light sensors and jacks soldered into place, installed their 9V batteries, plugged them into the amp and turned themDr Blankenstein lecturing at New York Hall of Science on!  Even without having them installed in their instruments yet they were able to get some super cool and creepy Theremin type sounds out of the light sensors w/ a flashlight.  They were all set to build their instruments, install their newly created custom mod kits and JAM OUT!

Drew Blanke testing circuit bent mod kits with children at NySci QueensI returned a few weeks later to see how everything came out.. can I say WOW? Yup.. just did... I will say it again.. WOW!  These little geniuses went above and beyond the task at hand, every instrument was just as creative and exciting sounding as the next.  Take a look at the ILLUMIRINGER installed into a regular Fender Strat, now imagine 30 of them rocking out at the same time, installed into ONE OF A KIND hand made circuit bent instruments!  COMPLETELY UNBELIEVABLE, I was SO impressed and proud.Child building Dr Blankenstein's Circuit Bent Illumiringer Mod Kit 

I have to say it again, it's an incredible thing they have going on at the New York Hall of Science!  If you are a New York parent and your children are NOT involved in the BEYOND FUN and CREATIVE learning classes / programs / events they have going on there.. YOU MUST ATTEND SOMETHING. In a ever more technologically driven future, I can not think of a better way to expose your children to the arts and sciences they (and society) will need for generations to come.  Get more info HERE


DATE: 03-07-2013

Queens Museum of Art Logo - Art HackersDon't miss Dr Blankenstein's (Drew Blanke) upcoming lecture on Circuit Bending / Design at the Queens Museum of Art...   Sunday, March 24th... from 1:30PM - 3:00PM .  The lecture is part of an exciting new series available to the general public called the New New Yorkers "ART HACKERS". 

I will be on hand with some of my crazy creations, ready to share some information and make some noise. If you can make it down, it would be great to see you!  For more info check out the NewNewYorkers or Queen Museum of Art websites.  Hope to see you there!


Hands On A Hard Body the Musical Playbill I don't even know where to start with this one... I guess the show would be a good enough place as any (long entry warning).  Okay, here goes... Hands On A Hard Body! If you haven't already heard of the show... you will, it's an adaptation of the 1997 documentary of the same name.  10 strangers somewhere in Texas join a competition to win a 4 wheel drive truck. All they need to do if keep their hands on the truck longer than any of the other people in the competition.  Sounds simple enough, right? 

Hands on a Hardbody Full Cast PhotoWell, Trey Anastasio (composer, guitar extraordinaire, front man of the rock group Phish) and Amanda Green (accomplished Broadway musical composer) teamed up to do a Broadway musical version of the same story.  In the end what we are left with is a piece of Americana that has something for everyone... a family musical full of emotion, social / political force and most of all GREAT MUSIC and PERFORMANCES! In short... I highly suggest picking up tickets to see the show.  If you like Trey's work or Phish... or if you just feel like seeing a great musical, you will not be disappointed.
ILLUMIRINGER V1.5 Pedal Given to Trey Ananstasio So as the story continues..  I was lucky enough to be one of those in attendance with Mr. Anastasio for it's first preview performance Saturday, February 13th.  As many of you who follow my work already know, and many more probably don't... I have been working on a concept pedal called the ILLUMIRINGER for almost a year now.  The idea for the pedal came to me while watching Trey wave has guitar around in a Jedi master sort of fashion (something he does once and a while for special moments).  I thought it would be great if an effect could be designed the would allow Trey (or another performer) to actually manipulate their guitar sound by waving objects over it, or changing the lighting at the show.  Since crazy lights and wild sounds are no strangers to the Phish show experience, it seemed like something worth doing.  Keep in mind, the idea was never to try to change Trey's amazing and somewhat legendary guitar tone.  This pedal was inspired by the weirder moments of Phish (the moments which have always been my personal favorites.  see this and this and this...   NOT THIS!  After months of different versions, additions and subtractions...  I finally finished a pedal I was happy with... happy enough to give to the man who inspired it.  And the time to do it had come!

Fan Pedal Given to Trey Anastasio at Hand on a hard body premiereSo, just having finished the first prototype of the new pedal I decide I am going to build Trey's pedal.  It's the Thursday evening before the show, and I start etching the PCB for the board while sketching out ideas for the graphic.  I should also mention that I decided to add a volume knob and make changes to the distortion section of the pedal AFTER etching the circuit board, my point... this thing was stylized to the last second of construction.  So much so I didn't even have a chance to record a demo video of it (as I normally would). I did however record a demo of it's VERY CLOSE Star Wars themed relative, the ILLUMIRINGER V1.4. I wanted it to be as perfect as possible for Trey, (as I am with all my pieces and customers actually) after all it's TREY!  Happy with my final piece, and excited to even have a minor chance of giving it to him... we set out to see the BIG SHOW!

Trey Anastasio, Amanda Green & Drew Blanke (Dr Blankenstein) As I already said, the show was amazing. I never really had the intentions to try to give him the pedal during the show, after all this was HIS big night. Seeing the show, and being there to support Trey were the first and most important thing here... giving him the pedal was secondary and could only happen if the right moment were to arise. Running up to someone when they are with family and friends.. enjoying a show isn't my style at all. With something as big to me like this pedal, it just wouldn't be the right mix of vibes. Well, here I was.. show over.. pedal still in hand and being rushed out of the theatre by the ushers.  I should mention here that I am not a big Broadway show guy, seen a few here and there... but my culture in NYC comes more from a classical upbringing (coincidentally the few times I had the pleasure of talking to Trey in the middle 90's this was the topic of our conversations, counterpoint, composition etc).  I was not aware of this  "wait for the crew to come out the backstage door and have them sign your playbill" phenomenon... I am told it is customary of sorts.  WELL, clearly this was to be my chance to give Trey his new pedal!

One by one all of the SERIOUSLY TALENTED cast and crew filed out of the Brooks Atkinson Theatre backstage door.  It seemed there were a lot of people waiting for Trey to come out at first, but many had walked off, got cold or fell for the "If you are waiting for Trey, he was the Trey Anastasio showing fans outside Hands on a Hard Body premiere how to be a Jedifirst one out" (lol)... so there really weren't many people left out there.  I showed the new pedal to the folks waiting outside the door with me and explained the situation, because of this (and that they were super cool people) I was allowed to take first position for when he came out to give it to him and couple of private minutes to explain how it worked.  Well, the moment came and that's exactly what happened.  Trey walked out with Amanda Green and I met him with a smile and presented him with the ILLUMIRINGER.  Trey's first response was a cheerful but inquisitive  "Oh wow, what do we have here?" As I explained what the pedal did, his interest became more and more intense and his appreciation for the gift (and the effort the went into created it for him) was ever so clear, and quite honestly moving for most who witnessed it.  He continued to ask "How far of a range can I get from the motion sensor?" Which I explained is pretty much endless when used with a downward facing light source (and also explained how Chris CK5 could also come into play).  Trey seemed honored and touched by the whole thing, posed for pictures, signed autographs and even did some Jedi style pantomime for Amanda and others who were not familiar with such antics.  A great moment in time, a PERFECT ENDING to a perfect night (and even longer guitar pedal mission).

That brings me to my last point in this MASSIVE rant, what is the future for the ILLUMIRINGER now that Trey has the pedal?  Well, to be honest this project wasn't  Dr Blankenstein showing Trey Anastasio his way around his new ILLUMIRINGER V1.5 Guitar Effects Pedaldesigned for any large scale commercial success, I don't think that was ever really the intention. That most certainly WAS NOT the intention of giving Trey the pedal.. couldn't be further from the case actually.  Truth of the matter is, it's not a pedal that every guitar player could really use (like say a distortion, or reverb etc).  I had no idea folks were taking pictures when it went down, and only made a very quick mention of it on a message board before THIS was published on the LiveMusicBlog... and things kinda blew up a bit from there.  I planned on mentioning it right here on my site, and letting that be the end of it... I had no intention to turn Trey's gift from me into a media circus to sell ILLUMIRINGER pedals.  This pedal was designed around some pretty strange concert moments taken from my mental archive of 21 plus years of seeing Phish and being a fan of Mr. Anastasio...  it's not something I would expect to be every guitar players cup of tea.  That being said, I have other pedals on the horizon I think A LOT of guitar players will be into... probably best to let this one end here for the most part.  Not that I won't work with the circuit I designed anymore and build on it as I have... I will.  Just, I wouldn't wait around for the Trey Anastasio ILLUMIRINGER Pedal to come out... because its not.

Trey Anastasio & Trey Blanke outside opening night of Hand on a Hardbody MusicalI guess that leaves only one thing left to answer...  everyone wants to know if I think Trey will use the pedal ever solo, with Phish or in the studio.  With a Summer Tour just announced I suppose that's a fair question, the answer is.... I have no idea.  I will probably only make it to the Jones Beach show this tour (too busy in the shop for much else), maybe he will bust it out there.  lol  Hey, of course I would love to see it come out at least for a 30 second piece of madness, one of the very pieces of madness that inspired it's creation.  Phish is a very circular sharing of creative energy, pure energy itself and turning it back into creative energy... over and over again.  That being said, I can see it finding a use eventually. Guess we will have to wait and see.  To conclude, what a dream come true this has been... just the thought of Trey plugging in and exploring a piece I created, which was inspired by him in the first place THRILLS ME.  If it gets played out live or not, guess it doesn't really matter... it doesn't matter... it doesn't matter. ;)


New York Hall of Science LogoBack at nySCI and thrilled about it!  I was invited as a guest artist / instructor for the first of what might be a continuing program of events they are calling "LEARNING LABS POP-UP"s. This is a great idea people!  What we have here is a hangout inDr Blankenstein's "THERE MAN" optical theremin kit the New York Hall of Science "Maker Space" with children 13-18, their friends and family.  They were invited to take part in any number of totally cool, science themed projects covering a huge range of the technical arts.  Kids at nySCI Learning Labs Pop-Up soldering a theremin kitThere was video game designing, web page building, Theremin soldering, poetry, music production, SMILES AND PIZZA! 

Dr. Blankenstein was on hand with 40 custom designed and fabricated "THERE MAN" (kinda like this one) optical Theremin synthesizer kits for all to build, and build we did!  Just about everyone who sat down at one of the 4 (really nice btw) solder stations provided by the science centerChild circuit bending a theremin analog synth at nySCI Learning Labs Pop-Up was a first timer... and would you know, every single person finished their working Theremin synth!  GREAT JOB EVERYONE, it was so great to meet (and build) with you all!  Enjoy your new optical Theremin... that YOU BUILT!!! ;)

I would like thank the New York Hall of Science and it's Manager of Creative Making & Learning... David Wells for having me back again. I think it's pretty amazing that there is such creative educational outlets developing right now... you folks are doing GREAT WORK, it's an honor to be a little part of it.  I had an AMAZING TIME, looking forward to next one! In the meantime, check out this great little recap posted by explainerTUBE !


There is not much I can say about these guys that isn't totally apparent by cruising aroundMatrixSynth.com Logo their site.  In short... if you are a synth dork, circuit bending fan, DIY builder, musician of an kind.... you MUST keep a watchful eye on MATRIXSYNTH !  These folks are the best! Pretty much what they do EACH AND EVERYDAY is comb the internet for weird, new, vintage... just plain cool synth / effects stuff and put it all neatly in one really easy to surf place.  They feature auctions, videos, articles and websites from just about every boutique and major brand gear slinger in the world, daily, all in one place.... EPIC.    

Here is their collection of Dr. Blankenstein entries, as I said... these guys are the BEST!

WARNING:  Quick visits can EASILY turn into all out nerdtastic gear pining sessions, you have been warned ;)


Google BENT MINI-DOC LOGOAs I have already mentioned, I was selected as one of the finalists in the 2012 Moog Circuit Bending Challenge.  This is where I hung out with Primus, watched Les Claypool jam out on circuit bent gear, gave Squarepusher a custom made effects unit and won a MOOG SYNTHESIZER.  It couldn't get any better than that right?  That's clearly a circuit bending / designers dream come true...  nothing else could add to epic'ness like that.  Right? 
Google Moog Doodle Bob Moog Birthday Synth Image
WRONG!  Months later I find out the Google had been filing a documentary on the contest and circuit bending... and that DR. BLANKENSTEIN was in IT! To be honest I didn't believe it myself until I watched it.  Well, here it is...  10 MINUTES of Google produced coolness on the topics of Circuit Bending and the Moog doodle. 




The Creators Project LogoAs I mention below The Creators Project was kind enough to write a wonderful little piece about the "Sonic Crusher" custom effects processor given to Tom Jenkinson at MoogFest this past October.  After following up to the article with pictures and details of the hand off to Squarepusher I was contacted by the author of the piece (Creator Project writer Abdullah Saeed). 

If you haven't checked Abdullah and The Creators Project...  you should, these are folks are doing some great work.  The Creators Project is a partnership between Intel and Vice Magazine highlighting technological art, innovations and the people who create them.

Here is the short Q & A style profile they put together for Dr. Blankenstein ... it was a pleasure and honor to be included amongst so many other amazing and innovative creative minds.  Thanks guys!



I seriously can not say enough about how completely incredible it was to be a guest ofMoogFest 2012 Logo Moog Music's for this year's MoogFest.  Its taken me this long to make this update because its actually difficult for me to figure out how to explain how great of an experience this was without taking up 3 web pages with text.  lol  So I am just going to run through them really quickly, but expect to see more pics, video and stories popping up on this site and my YouTube Channel

Dr Blankenstein's Sonic Crusher Given to Squarepusher at Moogfest 2012Ok, so as some of you know I was a finalist in this year's Moog Circuit Bending Challenge. I made an effects processor called the "SONIC CRUSHER" for Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson) and made a YouTube video demonstrating it.  The video was quickly posted on MatrixSynth.com and The Creators Project had this to say about the piece.  This being said...  I still had NO IDEA how I was going to get the piece to Tom.
Drew Blanke (Dr Blankenstein) setting up the GoogaMooga at the Moog Factory
I fly into Asheville (not without having to explain what the hell the GoogaMooga was to about 25 TSA officers lol), check into my hotel, and head down to the Moog Factory / Store to set up the GoogaMooga.  There I met Mike Adams (President of Moog Music), Andy Hughes (resident Moog tech genius) and all the other great folks that work at Moog.  Myself and the other circuit bending finalists set up our instruments and we set off to rage the town...  ASHEVILLE IS AMAZING! If you have never been, GO.... so much fun. 

Top 3 Moog Circuit Bending Challenge Finalists Setup at the Moog Factory The next day I woke up early and headed back to finish out the circuit bending challenge.  There I met Joey Hurst (Google Engineer), Ryan Germick (head Google Doodler) and Amos Gaynes (Moog Product Development Specialist) who would be the other 3 judges in the competition.  We gave our presentation, the judges jammed on our gear for a bit, deliberated and announced the winner. I came in 3rd, won a MiniTaur Synth and was totally stoked about it.  Congratulations Luis and Lief... great job and great meeting you. Like I said in my presentation... just being top 3 and heading to the Moog factory was winning enough for me... BUT if I could get the "SONIC CRUSHER" to Squarepusher all the better.

Les Claypool of Primus and Drew Blanke (Dr Blankenstein) backstage at MoogFest 2012Next was a super thrill, we got a personal tour of the factory and were of course invited to watch El-P and Primus jam out in the Moog Sound Lab on Luis's winning circuit bent piece.  I have some great pictures and video from the jams, but I'm not too sure if El-P and Primus were exactly comfortable enough with the piece to have the video posted all over the web.  I did edit together this video which features some behind the scenes footage in the Moog Factory and Les Claypool on synth drums playing "Who's got the funk"! No joke... check it out.  After the jam I was able to get some good convo in with Jay Lane and Larry LaLonde of Primus as well as synth legend Herb Deutsch.   I even was even able to get a picture with Les enjoying some of the incredible backstage craft beer (thanks guys! for everything!)

Space Man Entrance to Asheville Civic Center MoogFest 2012I knew this entry was going to be long, there is just no way to sum it up quickly I guess... too EPIC.  Well, believe it or not, the day only got better.... remember the "SONIC CRUSHER" I had built for Squarepusher? Wellllll... We make our way into the Civic Center, "Sonic Crusher" in my woman's bag (no problem getting it in there.. I was a bit worried).  First stop, Primus... totally cool... 3D Primus? I AM A FAN! 

Sad part was both Primus and Squarepusher were playing 30 minutes apart from each other, I had work to do.   I wasn't sure how far myAndy Hughes of Moog Music and Dr Blankenstein at MoogFest 2012 VIP bracelet from Moog would get me, but either way I made my way to the front of the stage were one would assume the backstage entrance would be.  That was EXACTLY where the backstage entrance was ;)  I show my bracelet to the nice fellow at the door and explain I am there to give Tom Jenkinson a piece of gear.  After a few seconds of thought he moves aside and let's us through.  No sooner do I turn the corner and enter the next room, who do I run into...  Michelle Moog Koussa (Bob Moog's daughter).  I had looked for her as well throughout the festival, I wanted to talk to her about working with the Bob Moog Foundation in NYC.  We had a great little convo, shared a few ideas and traded contact info.  I have since reached out to her and am waiting to her back, stay tuned for more details on this one. 

Squarepusher (Tom Jenkinson) and Drew Blanke (Dr Blankenstein) backstage at MoogFest 2012Well before parting I explain how I had made this cool piece of gear for Tom and wanted to give it to him, she smiles and explains he is in the next room.  I turn towards the room she spoke of and who walks out...  The Squarepusher.... 6 String  Bass around his neck and all... well... I AM STOKED!  I explain to him how much of an influence he has been on my art and that I made him a piece specifically designed to his style and taste.  He was polite, patient and stoked to receive his new Blankenstein.  I ask him to please email me with some feedback on the piece, he happily agreed, kindly posed for this pic, shook my hand and made his way to the stage.  Can you say success?  I am still thrilled... who wouldn't be. 

I suppose I will have to stop there...  yup, almost 3 pages of text as feared... oh well.  And I am still leaving out a ton of things worth mentioning.  For the 25 people who actually got far enough into the story to be reading this, thanks for sharing my MoogFest 2012 experience with me.  Stay tuned for more run on updates, pics and videos :)

~Dr. Blankenstein


What a GREAT WEEKEND!  I just wanted to write a quick message to all of the FANTASTIC people I met this weekend at the 2012 NYC World Maker Faire.  From the parents and kids to the fellow science nuts and fellow Makers... you were all so exciting to meet and talk to!
Children playing with Dr. Blankenstein's Circuit Bent Instruments at the World Maker Faire 2012I want start by thanking you for stopping by my table and joining me for some good old fashion electronic experimentation.  I still have the image of thousands of amazed and excited little faces gazing down on my table of madness with hands stretched out locked in my mind.  The look of joy when they learned to "push the button and turn the knob" (our mantra for the weekend, maybe myDr. Blankenstein and children playing with Circuit Bent Instruments at the World Maker Faire 2012 entire life actually) and knowing not only were they activating these new and odd sounds, but CONTROLLING THEM.  Then only to amaze them further by explaining how easily they could build their own alien devices for very little money.  Smiles all around, everywhere... AND we were all learning! Remember to check back soon for the "Potato Salad Synth" Kit coming to the Dr. Blankenstein Shop early November, as well as the KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN still currently underway. 

This is not to say that there weren't also a fine number of science mavens, great educators and professional musicians to share a word with as well.  So many great minds at once in one place!  I have quite a few business cards and contacts to respond to in the next few days, I look forward to speaking to you all again really soon.  If we spoke in detail about projects, ideas or education please do not forget to contact me as well

Make Magazine LogoBelow is a short video featuring just a tiny sampling of the great time and big noise we were enjoying at the Dr. Blankenstein table in section A (bottom floor of the NY Museum of Science) and well as a interview of myself given by Mark Frauenfelder (Editor-In-Chief of Make Magazine).  You can see this interview as well as hours and hours of great World Maker Faire 2012 footage on their website HERE.

Thank you ALL for making Maker Faire weekend one of the best times a circuit bending mad scientist professional geek like myself could ever have, and THANK YOU MAKE MAGAZINE for MAKING it all possible! 


I could not be any more excited to report to you the following news! Dr. Blankenstein's "GoogaMooga" Circuit Bent Sampler has been chosen by Moog Music and Google as a TOP 3 contender in this year's Moog Circuit Bending Challenge

The challenge for 2012 was to build a sampler from another device that had been circuit bent, then to sample sounds from the wildly popular Bob Moog 78th birthday (MiniMoog style) Google Doodle.  This process was to be video taped, uploaded to YouTube and emailed to Moog for review.  My video entry was rather long... but fun to watch if you are into this sort of thing, & you are reading this so I am to assume you are one of those people.  lol  The full 38 minute, almost documentary can be seen below.

As a TOP 3 pick I will be flying to Asheville, NC to receive free VIP Passes to this years MoogFest, as well as continue in the challenge and have the "GoogaMooga" on display in the Moog synthesizer factory!  Winner gets a Minimoog Voyager Performer Edition.
How cool, right?!  Maybe I can even sneak a minute with Squarepusher and Les Claypool to give them custom pieces I will be working on for them. ;)
If you are going to MoogFest this year, send me a message... maybe we can meet up and have a drink.  If you aren't going, you should, this year's lineup is AMAZING! Take a look. Anyway, I am SO EXCITED... I already feel like a winner. THANK YOU MOOG! and Congratulations to the other two killer entries... may the best bend win!
Wish me luck!

"Illumiringer accepted into the 2012 NYC WORLD MAKER FAIRE"

Today I received my official acceptance email for the 2012 World Maker Faire                    (Dr. Blankenstein is MAKER #8981).  I will be there with the newest prototype of the "Illumiringer - Our World's First Motion Controlled Ring Modulator" and ALL of my other creations.  There, me and my team of trusty lab assistants (my friends and family) will  be on hand to demonstrate, explain and even allow folks to play with the pieces.  Needless to say, I am very excited to show off my craft, meet other makers and maker art fans.
If you don't know about the Maker Faire, it is the grouping of HUNDREDS of D.I.Y. artists, circuit benders, and mad scientists hosted at the original World's Fair location (now the NY Hall of Science, Queens Museum of Art). This years event is Saturday, September 29th and Sunday, September 30th.  I simply couldn't type enough here to cover everything that this event is...  check it out at their website www.MakerFaire.com for more info.

I hope to have a KickStarter campaign moving by the event dates to help rally support for the official Illumiringer product release.  I will of course post more details here about this and my involvement with this years World Maker Faire as the develop.


DATE: 07-09-2012 / 07-11-2012
"Make Academy - Creative Circuitry Camp @ NY Hall of Science"

I was lucky to be the guest artist for the Make Academy "Creative Circuitry" Camp hosted at the New York Hall of Science.  What a great time!  The idea of the camp was to get young children (in the this case 3rd and 4th graders) from the local area involved in the exciting world of circuitry.  The one week class consisted of fun lessons and labs including "Squashy Circuits" using LED, Batteries, Switches etc in cool simple circuits.  This was my first experience with "Squishy Circuits" as well.. what a FUN and MESSY way to get kids involved in electronics.. everyone loved it! 

On my second day as a guest artist with the camp I gave a very interactive demonstration of my creations, and taught the children the basics of semiconductors.  We later ripped apart some audio producing greeting cards to be circuit bent into their own personal creations.  A good time (and a lot of noise) was had by all!

I would like to thank the NY Hall of Science, José Rodríguez, David Wells, all of the Maker assistants and MOST OF ALL... the wonderful, talented and super intelligent CHILDREN of the Maker Academy "Creative Circuitry" Camp for this fun and inspiring experience.  I cant wait to do it again! 

If any other educators would like to arrange a demonstration, or would like to receive a copy of my circuit bending lesson plan from the class to teach to your young MAKERS... please contact me HERE for more info.

DATE: 04-19-2012

I completed THE MAN-MACHINE SYNTH and was able to get it to Ralf Hutter and Kraftwerk. along with a framed thank you note from myself and on behalf of the Kraftwerk fans in New York City and around the world who have been touched and inspired by their music.  If you would like to read the full story about how the synth developed as well as the exciting stuff of how I used this YouTube video to pass my message to MoMA, Volkswagen and Kraftwerk you can read it HERE.  Needless to say, this was EPIC!