GNU Experience Gallery hosts homemade and found object instruments

Alesis HR-16 circuit bent 06
Alesis HR-16 circuit bent 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Don’t throw away your old credit card machines, computers or toasters; you could make them into musical instruments. Saturday night at 9 p.m., GNU is hosting “Fragments,” an evening showcase dedicated to homemade and found object instruments.

David Britton, a musician who will be performing Saturday, features credit machines, 1-channel intercom system and circuit-bent devices to create his music.


Britton labels himself as curious, which led to his discovery in new musical sounds.

“I’ve been doing circuit-bending for about 3 years now,” Britton said. “I’ve always (been) fascinated with electronics in general, and just picking them apart and figuring out how they work.”

Britton primarily works with circuit-bending, a technique that incorporates
creative customization of the circuits in electronic devices like children’s toys, synthesizers and other low-voltage electronics.

Britton’s girlfriend came home with credit card machines from work and he decided he could figure out something interesting to do in lieu of a Black Friday show he had been asked to play at.

“From there, my friend Kurt Bauer saw a video of me doing that and thought it was really cool, and he and other friends of ours have made instruments out of random junk,” Britton said. “He came up wtih the idea: let’s play a show using those sort of instruments and tactics.”

The first exposé of the Gorinto Collective, a name they gave themselves after the Gorinto event which showcases these kinds of instruments, was at the Mercury Cafe in Denver in December.

The Gorinto Collective includes 15 musicians and countless object found instruments.

Brandton Manshel, owner of GNU, picked up on the Gorinto music by the internet and connections with friends.

“This will actually be my first time seeing this live. But we’re into what everybody lazily calls ‘noise’, because we feel kind of akin to minimalist artists — and this is a thing that’s happening in one form or another all over the country,” Manshel said.

David Jacoby, or White Cat Pink a local musician, is heading to GNU for the “noise” show Saturday out of his love for experimental music.

“I feel that it is important because there really isn’t that much in the way of this type of thing happening in Fort Collins right now. That’s why a place like GNU … is so important. I think it’s extremely vital to keep this vein of music in the loop,” Jacoby said.

When it came to getting involved in this type of sound making, Britton cites his personal musical taste as an inspiration.


“I’m a big fan of avant garde and experimental music, which are really broad terms, but I’ve always had a fascination with the electronics, so it really just comes naturally,” Britton said.

Britton primarily works with circuit-bending, a technique that incorporates creative customization of the circuits in electronic devices like children’s toys, synthesizers and other low-voltage electronics.

I just started experimenting. I’ve played a lot with microphones like a suction cup that you put on a telephone which will pick up the audio coming from a phone. It works with computers and cell phones or any electronic really,” Britton said.

Britton, a Denverite, hopes to bring new and interesting sounds to Fort Collins that haven’t been heard before, even though he has played three shows at GNU previously.

We provide a place for non-commercial artists to perform. Whether that’s important is in the eye of the beholder,” Manshel said. Or, in this case, the ear of the beholder.

As to what to expect from this show?

“I would say expect to hear some really interesting sounds that you’ve never heard … and using objects you’ve never expected to use for musical purposes,” Britton said.

But out of all the instruments he has, Britton’s favorite instruments include the synthesizer and a banjo that a friend gave to him recently … meaning last week.

“We’re more interested in providing what we think of as — and what is usually pretentiously called — high-art. That they’ve been installed in the heart of some real art,” Manshel said. “The best thing about it, is that it’s all a one time only thing. This performance will happen exactly like this only this once. So, I hope people leave feeling like they were a part of something cool and memorable.”

Entertainment and Student Life Beat Reporter Bailey Constas (@BaileyLiza) can be reached at