Introduction: A Rice Synthesizer

About: Synth Builder Record Digger Social Worker Educator Musician

I built this synth as an interpretation to my friends video about the destruction of rice. Visually it was powerful and amazing and it made me think

"With my discipline, how could I show the depletion, overuse, and finally the death of a rice terrace via over population".

I decided to destroy the Audio. To destroy the sound of rice was the logical connective bond between the visual and audio. This is the process in making "The Rice Synth"

Thank you to Adam Labuen, Adriel Luis and all the Ae 'Kai Family. There are wayyyyyy to many to mention, so please follow the links to all the amazing people i call family.

Step 1: The Start (Diagrams)

I decided the best way to pick up the sound was to mount piezo mics at the bottom. I used the end all be all bond, ELECTRICAL TAPE as the adhesive for the mics. I would then twisty tie them to anchor movement because I want to make the synth active. I then would solder extensions with hacked cut in half 1/8inch mono cables so they can patch into the mini euro module system.

I would then patch all piezo mics into the mixer and then sum it all in the end into a Makenoise Phonogene manipulated by a Makenoise Rene triggered by a Bastl Instruments Sense Module Soldered to spoons as the contact controllers.


I am basically having the user be the trigger point that starts the Makenoise Rene's Movements. From there I patched the Rene's outputs to Various Inputs of the Makenoise Phonogene creating a granular deconstruction of the rice audio. You will see in later documentation the interaction with both participants and a collaborative performance with Low Leaf from LA.

Step 2: Fabrication

Items used:

3 Tin Pans

3 spoons

20 ft of braided wire.

3 Piezo's

Mini twist ties

Soldering Iron

Mini Modular System

Step 3: Initial Set Ups and Room Set Up

This synth was 1 of 3 synths that filled up a back room at the former Foodland in Ala Moana.

This synth was the audio representation of the destruction of rice along side 2 synths that used organic material as conductor between patch points in my serge synth.

Step 4: The Modules and Patch Used

The set up

From L to R

Makenoise Rene

Makenoise Phonogene

Doepfer Mixer

Synthrotek Eko

Bastl Sense Module

The Patch:

Spoons -- > Bastl Sense (V) in. I put 1 spoon in the jumper pin area and then split 2 lines into the (v)in

Bastl -CV out ---> Makenoise Rene Xclk

Bastl +CV out ---> Makenoise Phonogene Slide/Rene Y clk in

Rene Qcv out ---> Varispeed

Rene CV out ---> Phonogene GeneSize

Rene Gx out ---> Makenoise Rec

Step 5: Interaction and Use

All 3 days were insanely amazing. By my count I personally interacted with 65 people, and that does not include all the people, just passing by through out all 3 days.

It was an amazing humbling experience. I connected on a very wonderful level with a good amount of artists. We bonded over stress, adrenaline, mutual respect and love for everyone's pieces, and plowing through months of agonizing and 3 days of non stop install. I can say that this whole experience has rekindled a spiritual side in my art that has been missing for a while. This whole year has been that healing space.

2 videos are include: 1 of just in use and running on the first day and the other is a performance using this synth with the other synths and harp player.

For now, try it out, make your own rice synth. Or why not try using other material ? or other forms of grains. The outcomes are endless.

Step 6: Some of the Other Synths Used

The fruit synth which is a fully organized and patched up version of this instructable I made here.

The other is my serge synth from this here build combined with soundscapes both orchestrated as well as improved using a critter and guitarri organelle using this patch called "h Rando" utilizing all the sounds from the foundational soundscape.That foundational soundscape can be found here.