What are those weird noises coming from the basement?


Drum Buddy.

You may or may not have heard of Ninth Ward organist Mr. Quintron's musical invention the Drum Buddy, but if you've ever attended one of his sweaty dance parties you've seen the curious machine flashing and whirring front and center. The machine is a combination analog synthesizer/rhythm kit/signal processor whose beeps, tweets and scratches are regulated by light sensors read through differently spaced holes in the spinning can that rotates atop the machine. The principle is half-theremin, half-player piano, and it gives Quintron's sound its distinctly organic-meets-digital swamp tone.

Because of the cost and effort involved in making the instruments, they're not often advertised as on sale to the public - however, a recent order from experimental musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson spurred a production frenzy, and a run of ten were sold over the past few months. The last machine in the series - which boasts a unique cabinet carved from rare Louisiana sinker cypress - is now up for auction on eBay, ending Mardi Gras Day.

The profits from the sale are pledged to go to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic. Click here to bid - and start making some funny noises of your own.

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