A rideable synthesizer of baleful shrieks and diabolical utterances
As visceral sounding as a bike is to ride, Thundercat animates the mechanical noises of a well-aged bicycle into a haunting symphony of primal energy.
At its core, Thundercat is a Schwinn cruiser from the 1970s whose creaks and groans of a life well lived are detected by a piezo microphone and manipulated through real-time digital signal processing. A Teensy microcontroller running a harmonic resonator written in the Faust programming language breathes life into the mechanical grievances picked up by the piezo, and rider inputs control the parameters of sound synthesis by way of sensors integrated into the mechanics of the bicycle. Dark, raw, and surprising, Thundercat is a wild ride.
Thundercat melds cycling with sound synthesis, blending direct and indirect controls to generate a highly expressive interface. A bar-mounted accelerometer and gear-driven potentiometer respond to motions of the bicycle to adjust how the incoming mechanical noises are decomposed into their harmonics. The rider directly controls looping, reverb, and other effects through levers and thumb wheels. An onboard speaker and battery make Thundercat a totally self-contained performance piece.