One of the most original musical minds on the East Coast or elsewhere, Sound Mechanic Neil Feather has spent over twenty years building an extremely INTEGRAL orchestra of eccentric and refined instruments, and conceiving the original idiom of music to be played on them. His solo concerts, longtime duo with John Berndt ("THUS") and the quintet Aerotrain (with Berndt, Catherine Pancake, Andy Hayleck and Eric Franklin) all show different sides of one of the stranger musical minds of the century. No foreigner to improvised music (he is also an ardent social player), Feather's true brilliance comes out when his music is purified and allowed to assert its own freestanding, weightless, and troublingly bizarre logic.

Reed Ghazala is now known internationally as "The Father of Circuit-Bending," a self-discovered and amazingly simple electronic process of creating experimental musical instruments from pre-existing audio circuitry. Following Reed's writings, and without any prior knowledge of electronics, many people are following this new art form, this new standard of audio exploration, and are designing their own fantastic instruments. Reed's sculptural experimental instruments have been built for the likes of Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson's Pat Mastalotto, Faust, Chris Cutler, Towa Tei, Yann Tomita, Blur and many other interesting musicians. Along with many private acquisitions, Reed's work has found its way into the NYC Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Whitney permanent collections as well as numerous other public galleries worldwide. He lives and Circuit-bends in Cincinnati.

What is most amazing about Baltimore's Catherine Pancake is the range of her work, which includes sophisticated experiments with film and sound that are so varied from piece to piece as to seem to be made by different people--yet all of an extremely high (even provocative) quality. Her sensibility ranges from superb political documentary work in video, dark black humor in 16mm film, ecstatic and lyrical formal abstraction in sound and light, and highly propulsive musical work as a free improvising jazz drummer. She seems to have few, if any, creative limits. Her work in Oddstruments is based on two singularly elemental, purely experimental departures. Using dry ice and heat in combination with resonant objects (cymbals, bells, and scrap), Pancake wrests an incredible range of ringing tones and complex timbres from the situation of expanding and contracting metal--a technique held in common by only a handful of musicians throughout the world. In another departure, using underwater microphones built by Andrew Hayleck, Catherine collaborates on a water-based form of controlled sound (with Hayleck, Gretchen Heilman, and Bonnie Jones) that acoustically evokes what sounds like some of the strangest electronic music ever made.

Andy Hayleck enjoys collaborating with animate and inanimate objects. In the animate realm, he has worked with free improvisors, drum'n'bass djs, pop and ska groups, experimental musical instrument builders and artists. In the inanimate realm he has worked with vibrating metal systems of one, two and three dimensions, air, water, and electricity. He currently plays in Aerotrain (a group that performs compositions on instruments built by Neil Feather) and the Heavy Things, as well as solo (gong and electronics).

Colin Hinz (b.1965) has been designing and building unusual musical instruments since 1989. Despite years of experience as an electronics engineer, most of his instruments are mechanical in nature, being built primarily from Meccano(R) construction toy parts along with inexpensive musical instrument parts and some industrial surplus electronics. His working medium arises from a life-long fascination with traditional mechanical musical instruments such as player pianos and fairground organs, and an equally long involvement with "Meccano Set" lore and parts accumulation. Originally from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, he has been a resident of Toronto since 1994.

Ricardo Arias was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1965, and has resided in New York since 1996. He studied composition and electro-acoustic music with Chilean composer Gabriel Brncic in Barcelona and is currently studying anthropology. Most of Arias’ music is improvised and made in collaboration with other musicians. For a long time he performed with a shifting array of objects amplified by piezo transducers. Since 1992 he has focused almost exclusively on THE BALLOON KIT, a device made of a number of balloons attached to a suitable structure and played with hands and a set of accessories (various kinds of sponges, pieces of styrofoam, rubber bands, etc.) producing an amazing array of highly controlled but deeply unusual sounds.
Michael Johnsen lives in Pittsburgh and thinks near or beyond the edge of the routine organization of cognition - a true outsider. His work with original electronics, acoustic instruments, unusual film methods, language, and other media, reveals a brilliant mind that confronts phenomena with relatively little of the inherited worldview but with a tremendous amount of poetry. The entrance to Michael’s work is a withdrawal from "meaning" and a focus on aspects of perception and communication that are usually excluded - the rich universe of thoughts we habitually ignore but which are ultimately as palpable as anything else.
NYC musician Bradford Reed fights and tames the idiosyncrasies of the Pencillina, an original instrument of his own design and construction. The Pencillina is an electric ten-stringed collision of the hammer dulcimer, slide guitar, koto and fretless bass with multiple pickups of varied types. It is struck with sticks, plucked and bowed, giving Reed an incredibly wide sonic palette. The Pencillina can be heard on Bradford's solo work, with his band King Missile, and on the street corners of New York city, where he is an irrepressible street performer.
Inventor Eric Leonardson (Chicago) plays instruments of his own creation, largely focused on the sound potential of coiled metal springs through his primary instrument, The Spring Board. The resulting music is extremely varied, sometimes driving, sometimes somber and strangely atmospheric-and often reflects Leonardson's skills as a drummer. He is an active member of the Chicago avant-garde free improvisation community and performs frequently with vocalist Carol Genetti, Jim Baker, and other Chicago musicians.
Dan Conrad, a native of the Baltimore region, has tried to escape the area for much of his adult life (1964 - 1975, college and wanderings) only to be compelled by karma to return and remain (1976 - present.) In visual art - his principle area of study - Conrad has sought to transcend the representation of experiences, real or abstract, with work that may produce post-perceptual influences on the viewer. The most far-reaching product of this direction has been the Chromaccord, an instrument for color performance (see website below) that analogizes to improvised music and extends lyrical abstraction into the realm of synaesthetic perception. Music has always been his private muse that precedes, permeates, and persists through all his creative actions. He is also the inventor of the Wild Waves, an instrument that directly drives any resonating object with tunable sine waves, allowing the performer to plumb the object’s vibratory resonant sound characteristics in an unusually direct way.