Bastl Instruments making things that all mobile musicians should consider …

I’m a fan of Bastl and I have been since I first saw them in Frankfurt in 2014. They’re makers of excellent hardware and ever since I first met them they’ve made more and more excellent devices.

I met them in Berlin this year at Loop, as they were running a workshop and I was using the space for a workshop directly after them. They were kind enough to provide me with one of their new Kastle synths. I posted about Kastle a few weeks ago. It’s an awesome little device and packs way more punch than you’d ever think from a tiny little micro modular.

Bastl’s latest video on Kastle gives a detailed walk through of the synth and is really worth watching. But be warned, you might not be able to turn back!

But of course Bastl Instruments do so much more, and in fact their latest foray into DIY is a cause for celebration in itself. OMSynth miniLab is a circuit development and performance interface designed to help inventors quickly build and experiment with creative circuits. It was designed with beginners in mind but is perfectly suited for seasoned builders and complex circuit development.

In many ways OMSynth miniLab seems like a likely successor to Teenage Engineering’s now discontinued OpLab, although in many ways a lot more hands on and experimental. This is a device that could get people involved in some real experimentation, which can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

If that wasn’t enough Bastl have also announced bitRanger ADDON boards, BITBOARD & SYNAPSIS. bitRanger in itself is an excellent experimental synth and these new add ons take it up to the next level. The BitBoard is a breadboard add-on module that allows users to build custom circuits and user interfaces for the BitRanger, and the synapsis is a 4×4 pushbutton matrix that offers performative control of the Bit Ranger.

When you add all of this up, what you get is a synth company who are really pushing the boundaries of modular, of experimentation, and of miniaturisation too. These are not easy boundaries to push. What Bastl are doing is hard, and yet they make it seem easy, effortless. That requires real skill and a generous helping of excellent design talent.

Personally, I think that Bastl have a very bright future. Who knows where they’ll go next, but wherever it is it’s going to be exciting and probably break some new ground. I’ll be watching whatever it is they do in 2017, and I bet it’ll be great.

I’ll leave you with this interview with Bastl after the workshop they did at Loop.


The bitLab opens … littleBits brings us a user generated hardware store, and it’s going to be awesome

This is an amazing step forward in my view. I’ve been a fan of littleBits from the start and they’ve consistently delivered new and completely innovative modules on a regular basis. This latest development takes them into a whole new space. With their hardware development kit costing only $40 and having the ability to vote on modules from the community is amazing.

Already there are some great modules that you can reserve, the MakeyMakey module, and the Bare Conductive sensor (although I haven’t actually received my Touch Board as yet). Even more exciting is the bleepDrum module, and the possibility of so many more audio and music related modules that could take littleBits into all sorts of directions.

I think that the bitLab is going to through up some really interesting ideas in the very near future. The only drawback, I’m going to end up buying them.