|The Tocante line of musical instruments is "about" and "touching" the materials of electronics. Each touchpad represents a pitch according to industry "preferred numbers," chosen by old wartime engineers for non-musical purposes. Here they form a unique and haunting musical scale, not unlike that of a gamelan or the neutral intervals of Persian music. Beyond these base pitches, three golden sandrodes flank each touchpad; touching these androgynous nodes yields intermodulation, pitch and timbral shifts, and emergent chaotic masses. The instruments come in three flavors: thyris the triangle, bistab the square, and phashi the circle. The oscillators sound like a bowed string, a most powerful clarinet, and a howling serene whistle, respectively. Each responds to touch differently. Solar panels charge the onboard batteries, that power the oscillators and a speaker. They are the perfect self-contained instrument for nightly music at the campground.
Zenert is a simple name, deriving from the source of its noise, a zener diode, and the spectral flavoring applied by a simple resonant circuit, the twin-t. Its operation diverges from the previous Tocante pieces, where finger-touch simply connected oscillator outputs to an amplifier. In Zenert, finger-touch injects the zener noise into the inputs of the flavoring circuits. So instead of a number of discrete symbols at its rim, Zenert has a band of copper tracing, scripted to mimic the waveform of noise. The inner nodes, for circuit bending on Thyris, Bistab and Phashi, are now the injection points for each resonance. The resonators on Zenert share the same tuning-by-capacitor scheme, establishing continuity with the previous ones. Thus Tocante shares a two-faced nature with its nemesis, Ieaskul F. Mobenthey; looking backward to previous designs for the general framework and manifesto, but looking forward to new ways to break out of the mold.