Rototo Toro is a self-built 10 channel aluminium box that gives out 10 pulse wide modulated (PWM) signals. The duty cycle of each channel can be adjusted between 10% and 90% by a potentionmeter. With this, the amount of energy can be controlled and transfered to whatever is connected at each channel. I had in mind to control the speed of small DC motors when I started develloping the idea of the instrument, but then I learned that it also works great with LED lamps and passive speakers. Each channel is triggered by a piano-like key for momentary activation or by a toggle switch for permanent activation. An LED on each channel lights up when active. The brightness of the LED also indicates the selected duty cycle.
The instrument “Rototo Toro” can be used in many different ways. One is as a controller for small DC motors. Depending on their placement on a metal plate resonator, a variety of sounds can be achieved. Furthermore, if placed in different objects made out of different materials (glass, metal, plastic...), many additional sounds are possible. “Rototo Toro” can also connect directly to LED lamps and passive speakers.
Built by Albert Amerioun and Vilte Gustyte
A Fly Falls into a Speaker
performance with self-built instrument
The performance “Fly Falls into a Speaker” is based on “Rototo Toro” (RT). The instrument is a crucial part of the composition and performance. Building it and composing the performance was done parallel. Exploring the sound palette naturally lead to the idea of the story of a fly that fell into a speaker. The very sound nature of the motor and all the buzzing, rumbling, and whining noises is reminiscent of the beating of the fly’s wings. The performance is an improvisation around this short story, the imaginary soundscape of the speaker with a fly in it.
The fly accidently falls into a speaker and cannot get out. Inside the speaker, the fly experiences noisy, sometimes strangely melodic sounds. The fly constantly tries to escape, however without success. One could also imagine that the sounds are perceived from the perspective of the fly— loud, incomprehensible, as if from inside the speaker. Consecutive, one could then think: what is the real sound coming from a speaker from a human perspective?
Building the instrument, every step of the process opened up new compositional posibilities. An instrument like “Rototo Toro” is itself very much driven on improvisation and experimentation, leaving a lot of room for randomness and unpredictability. The emphasis in playing with an instrument like “Rototo Toro” is on discovering, exploring, accepting.
Rototo Toro in Space: "Indjahri" by Jason Mcnmara; Rototo Toro performance on "An Orgy Of Wasps", 2021