Spotlight on Griffin Technology

Colin and Justin show off the Griffin Technology silent auction winnings.

Colin and Justin show off the Griffin Technology silent auction winnings.

The Circuit Benders’ Ball owes a huge debt of gratitude to our sponsor Griffin Technology. The tech manufacturer with headquarters just a few blocks from Fort Houston contributed the Studio Connect iPad recording interface and the Twenty audio amplifier for Airport Express for our silent auction. The auction earnings helped us bring out-of-town artists to the festival. Griffin also donated dozens of other products (like this smartphone-controlled helicopter) for our mailing list giveaway.

Griffin makes smartphone accessories, iPad and iPhone interfaces, music tools, and more. They have a long history of supporting maker-related groups and activities such as the Nashville Mini Maker Faire. We’re proud to be associated with such an innovative and forward-thinking local company. Nashville is lucky to have them.


Circuit Benders’ Ball 2014 is a Wrap!

Robbie Hunsinger & Megan Kelley at the Ball. Photo by Skipp Frazier.

Robbie Hunsinger & Megan Kelley at the Ball. Photo by Skipp Frazier.

I’m a week late posting this (because it took literally a week for me to recover), but the 2014 Circuit Benders’ Ball is a wrap!

Big thanks to the artists, volunteers, and attendees for making it happen. Also huge thanks to Fort Houston for providing the space, Yazoo Brewing Company for providing the beverages, Griffin Technology for providing silent auction and giveaway items, Eli Mason for the sweet tea and drink mixers, SAE Nashville for bringing out volunteers and equipment, and Watkins College of Art, Design & Film for providing projectors and additional volunteers!

Photos, video, and sound files coming soon.

See you in 2016!

Circuit Benders’ Ball: Panels and Presentations are Free Today! 04-13-2014

Noise Furniture, Saturday at the 2014 CBB. Photo by @AkbarsBlackEyes.

Noise Furniture, Saturday at the 2014 CBB. Photo by @AkbarsBlackEyes.

We have some amazing panels and presentations lined up for today. We want as many people as possible to check them out, so we’re making them free and open to the public. You do not need a pass or a ticket to attend today’s panels/presentations. Just head over to Fort Houston and ask the person at the front counter where to go.

At 11 a.m. we have Chris Richards hooking the audience up to a giant musical instrument. At noon Mike Hester will show you how to turn digital images into music. At 1 p.m. we have the panel I’m most looking forward to: Structural Bias in Show Booking. Local musicians, artists, and show bookers Kathryn Edwards, Kale Edmiston, Paul Horton, Virginia Griswold, David Wright Lagrone and the just-added Reagan Mitchell will talk about issues like creating a feeling a safety for everyone, how to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities, and implicit structural biases in festival/conference bookers against women, people of color, people with disabilities, transgender people, and other groups.

At 2 p.m. we have a panel exploring the 8 bit world of chiptune music: “Chiptune artists use vintage computers, video game systems, and ’emulators’ to create 8-bit compositions. Ben Marcanel, Tim Carey, Dylan Ethier, Frank Angotti, and Arnie Holder will discuss the history of the genre, the methodology, the various homebrew music-making game cartridges for the Nintendo Gameboy, and how you can create your own chiptune music.”

Check the panels schedule for more info.

We also have some excellent workshops about subverting Google, bending with photoresistors, and making music with the Arduino. Seats are still available. Check the workshop schedule for more info.

At 4:15, the chiptune artists will kick off the Sunday round of performances! Here’s the full performance schedule for tonight:

4:15 PM Tim Carey
4:35 PM Dylan Ethier
4:55 PM sugar sk*-*lls
5:15 PM Abandoned On Fire
5:35 PM b4by f4c3
6:05 PM Morgan Higby-Flowers
6:20 PM dish_drone_dish_drone_dish_drone
6:45 PM Waveshaper
7:15 PM Age

See you at 11:00 a.m.!

Circuit Benders’ Ball Panels and Workshops! 04-12-2014


The Circuit Benders’ Ball panels and workshops start at 11:00 a.m. this fine morning. Check out the panel schedule here and workshop schedule here. If you haven’t purchased your workshop tickets yet, not to worry. You can buy a ticket at the door. As of now, we have extra space in all the workshops.

And then come back for another night of performances beginning at 7 p.m. See you at Fort Houston!

Circuit Benders’ Ball: Fort Houston Parking Map



Here’s a parking map of the Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood surrounding the Circuit Benders’ Ball home base Fort Houston. (Click to enlarge.) Take note of Gabby’s Burgers within walking distance of the Ball. Best veggie burgers in town!

Fort Houston is located at 500 Houston Street, Nashville, TN 37203. Circuit Benders’ Ball check-in begins at Fort Houston, Friday, April 11th at 4:30 p.m.


Circuit Benders’ Ball Spotlight on Electric Inertia


Guest post by Devin Bell.

Cincinnati filmmaker and musician Electric Inertia (Jonathan Hancock) will be performing at the Circuit Benders Ball on Friday, April 11th. Jonathan will process his trumpet through circuit-bent loop devices and effects. He’ll be accompanied by his own analog visuals.

He shoots on color reversal 8mm film. His techniques include etching directly on the film and shooting high frames per second to achieve slow motion. In his own words, his goal for the audience is “to be entertained and have something to talk about.” Don’t miss Electric Inertia during the Friday performances at the Circuit Benders’ Ball.

Devin Bell is a circuit bender, hacker, and member of the bands Blight Side of Life and WΛ∀E. He’ll be performing with Jacque Fullwood as WΛ∀E Friday night at the Circuit Benders’ Ball. 


Volunteers and Host Homes Needed

Brain Lesion at the 2012 Circuit Benders' Ball. Photo by Brandon Greer.

Brain Lesion at the 2012 Circuit Benders’ Ball. Photo by Brandon Greer.

Want a free three-day pass to the Ball? We’re looking for volunteers and places where out of town participants can stay. If you’re interested, send a message to, and I’ll send you more info.

We’re proud to be sponsored this year by Griffin Technology, Yazoo Brewing CompanyEli Mason Cocktail Mixers, and Make Nashville. More on that soon.


Circuit Benders’ Ball Spotlight on Cher Von


I first met Cher Von in 2006 at a Cafe Coco open mic. At the age of 18, she was performing solo on guitar and vocals under the nom de plume Lola.* I distinctly remember being floored. This person was obviously going to “make it.”

But it took me some time to put my finger on why. It wasn’t just her unique singing style, beautiful and original as it was. Nor was it her highly original songwriting. These things are major parts of her appeal, incredibly rare gifts, but not her greatest.

A year or so later, Cher Von was standing next to me, Cody Bottoms, and a handful of other people inside the Vanderbilt college radio station WRVU. We were recording an all-vocal edition of Theater Intangible called Turn the Page. Throughout the show, Cher Von kept singing these intensely beautiful melodies. And that’s when it occurred to me.

Cher Von’s greatest gift is her ability to write fantastic melodies. Not melodies as in radio country hooks. Melodies as in the Beethoven and Debussy variety.

This insight was bolstered by every T.I. improv she did (especially this CJ Boyd artist showcase) and every performance I saw of her. It’s a running thread (another being her penchant for weirdness, something we share) in all her work. Whether as A Parade, I Am Pazuzu, Lola Koene, or Cher Von, the moniker she uses for her new EP Klik Klak, this artist knows how to write evocative melody.

With Klik Klak (now available for purchase on BandCamp), she continues to mature as an artist. Cher Von weaves pulsing chants over cut up field recordings, scratches, scrapes, splashes, cheek flicks, chimes, percussive hits on household items, and the occasional traditional instrument. The more I hear these songs, the more I see their brilliance. Perhaps the only thing standing between Cher Von and stardom is a renowned producer to help take the production value to the next level. Merrill Garbus, are you listening?

Cher Von moved from Nashville to Louisville, Kentucky a few years ago. Now she’s making waves on the Louisville music scene. But we’re fortunate to have her back for the 2014 Circuit Benders’ Ball. Her 2010 performance with Tim Kaiser and other benders was one of the highlights of the original Ball. On Saturday, April 12th at Fort Houston, she’ll conduct an improv featuring a few guest benders. On Friday, April 11th at Cafe Coco, she’ll perform songs from her new album.

Don’t miss your chance to see this one-of-a-kind talent.

* At the time she had a band called A Parade, also featuring Cody Bottoms, a talented performer in his own right who, as the host and engineer at Cafe Coco’s open mic, was at the center of a creative catalyst.


Circuit Benders’ Ball Schedule and Ticketing


Circuit Benders’ Ball tickets are now on sale over at! The three day festival pass is $35 purchased in advance or $50 at door. Single day tickets are $15 advance or $20 at door. Workshops are $15 advance or $20 at door (if any slots remain). Those who purchase the festival pass in advance will get a sweet LED lanyard with their name on it.

Show tickets are limited to 100, so be sure to scoop yours up as soon as soon as possible. Online sales for all tickets ends Wednesday, April 9th at 11:59 p.m. If you wait later than Wednesday night, you’ll have to purchase your tickets for the higher price at the door. If you wait later than Wednesday night, you’ll have to purchase your tickets for the higher price at the door.

Before purchasing tickets, please read our Code of Conduct. CBB is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion.

Here is the schedule for performances, panels, presentations, and workshops. You can also view the schedule via Google Docs or download a printable pdf version.

You can see participant bios with clips of their work on the Artists page, full descriptions of panels & presentations on the Panels page, and full descriptions of the Workshops (with ticket links) on the Workshops page.


Friday, April 11th

7:00 PM Skoolgirl
7:25 PM Electric Inertia
7:50 PM The Tree is Base
8:15 PM Graphic Tease
8:40 PM Brady Sharp
9:05 PM Carl Oliver
9:30 PM WΛ∀E
9:55 PM Brendan Byrne
10:30 PM Hardon Collider
10:55 PM Jeff Boynton

Saturday, April 12th

7:00 PM Mike Hester
7:25 PM Cher Von Circuit Jam
7:50 PM Noise Furniture
8:15 PM Aether Jag
8:40 PM Hadals
9:05 PM Garland Villanova
9:30 PM Workshoppe Radio Phonik
9:55 PM stAllio!
11:05 PM Tim Kaiser

Sunday, April 13th

4:15 PM Tim Carey
4:35 PM Dylan Ethier
4:55 PM sugar sk*-*lls
5:15 PM Abandoned On Fire
5:35 PM b4by f4c3
6:05 PM Morgan Higby-Flowers
6:20 PM dish_drone_dish_drone_dish_drone
6:45 PM Waveshaper
7:15 PM Age

Panels & Presentations

Friday, April 11th

Panel 5:00 PM to 5:50 PM Introduction to Circuit Bending
Panel 6:00 PM to 6:50 PM Towards a Circuit Bending Standardization

Saturday, April 12th

Presentation 11:00 AM to 11:50 AM Electronic Enclosures Design
Presentation 12:00 PM to 12:50 PM Society of the Spectacle: Culture jamming, Détournement &Tactical Media
Presentation 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM Computer Models of Circuit Bending
Panel 2:00 PM to 2:50 PM Culture Jamming part 2 plus Fair Use & Artistic Appropriating
Panel 3:00 PM to 3:50 PM Glitch Art / Dirty New Media Panel
Presentation 4:00 PM to 4:50 PM SynthTable First Look
Panel 5:00 PM to 5:50 PM Bending Visually

Sunday, April 13th

Presentation 11:00 AM to 11:50 AM Knew Beat Demonstration
Presentation 12:00 PM to 12:50 PM Making Music by Code Alone
Panel 1:00 PM to 1:50 PM Structural Biases in Local Show Booking
Panel 2:00 PM to 2:50 PM Chiptune Panel


Saturday, April 12th

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM Playdoh Vs. Lego: A Composer’s Take on Hacker-Culture
12:30 PM to 2:00 PM Piezo Mic Making
2:15 PM to 3:30 PM Hacking the Gameboy
3:45 PM to 6:15 PM Hex-Schmitt trigger Oscillator

Sunday, April 13th

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM Subverting Apple & Google
12:30 PM to 2:00 PM Bending with Photoresistors!
2:15 PM to 4:30 PM Microcontrol of a Macroworld: Physical Computing with Arduino

Here’s the schedule in block format. Download a printable pdf version here.