Search: littlebits

HERE is a quick demo (in pajamas) I did, showing the littleBits synth coupled with two light sensors… The latter add a useful ‘performance interface’ to the bits.


Drony littleBits

August 1, 2015

7-31-2015 First Conclave from Jonathan Ciliberto on Vimeo.

Solo recording using littleBits. No effects or processing.


littleBits MIDI Kludge

February 25, 2015

This is a somewhat crude way to get littleBits synth to sync to a metronome.

Here, click track audio from my computer is input to the microphone bit. That signal is split, one part of it going into a filter, the other is again split into two chains of micro sequencer->keyboard->osc->osc. One of these chains has a filter and delay at the end of it. The other joins the click track chain and hits a delay. These two then join together into a single speaker bit — and the mono audio out is recorded.

It is a bit noisy…


Some tiny device play

May 21, 2017

Some live play with: littleBits, Kastle, SQ-01, Monotron+custom CV box, Volca Sample… no post-processing.




Back in August I created a performance to conclude a residency by Atlanta artist Meredith Kooi: to interview people living along South Fork Peachtree Creek near Poem 88 Gallery. I went door-to-door and asked a series of questions about living on the Creek, and from the material wrote four songs. They were performed at the gallery, and the start-to-finish time was about six weeks. Zac Denton joined me for the performance, and he and I recorded versions of them as well.

Now that I am several months removed from the project, the lyrics seem really odd. They all derive directly from the door-to-door information gathered, and some notes are included below. Additionally, because of the source, they songs are rather striaghtforward: those more accustomed to my noisy side might be surprised.

1. Turtle v. Otter

This song is about some of the wildlife along the Creek, but mores specifically it derives from one neighbor’s recollection that he’d see each year the marks of turtles hatching from the sandbars along the Creek, and also the tracks of river otters: they hunted and ate the baby turtles. This story brought to mind the many cute videos we all see on the internet, and how the perception of cuteness that they create in our minds is misleading, both in terms of the actual nature of animals, but also as to our own natures.

Jon: vocals, guitar, bass, electronic drums, snare drum
Zac: keyboards

2. Sediment is Sentimental

Several people told me about amateur archaeologists who visited the Creek to look for old Indian pottery and other artifacts. More generally, I thought about the conceptual overlap between “sediment” and “sentiment”: from the myriad tiny grains of experience, a seemingly solid structure forms, that, years later, we recall with sentiment(ality). The first line of the song is the first response I received on my door-to-door survey. Because the woman at this house didn’t open the door to me, I had to yell, “I am working on an art project!” to which she answered: “No thanks, my doctor checks my heart!”

Jon: vocals, guitar, electronic drums, snare drum
Zac: keyboards, vocals

3. Train and Owl

One particularly terse individual I interviewed, when asked about any sound he especially connected with living on the Creek, answered: “Train and owl.” I though those three words were a haunting poem. This is the live version of this song, as performed at Poem 88.

Jon: vocals, guitar, synthesizer, littleBits synthesizer
Zac: keyboards, vocals

4. Flood Plain

Not entirely finished, this one is a bit more light-hearted, and springs from the only negative to living on the creek that people identified: the requirement to carry flood insurance on their homes.

Jon: vocals, guitar, bass
Zac: keyboards, vocals


Here is a map that shows where the song material came from: 1=Sediment is Sentimental, 2=Turtle v. Otter, 3=Flood Plain, 4=Train and Owl, *=Poem88.



Mostly Mammal

June 20, 2016

Made for the Atlanta Synthesizer Club’s “Minimal Mondays,” this is a track called “Mostly Mammal.”

Made with: littleBits synth, microKorg, Roland Space-Echo tape delay. With VOCODER at the end! Constructed during an absurdist attempt to set up a minimal, but semi-permanent studio…


Called “A Legion of Eels”.

Made in about an hour… really thrown together ! Two tracks of microkorg (through Space Echo), some doubling of same on Crystal VST, and one track of littleBits synth.



Quickie. Percussion and brief sequence by littleBits and then post facto tempo matched arpeggiation on microKorg… and several other tracks of the same toward the end. . . a bit wonky in places. Maybe next time the sync will be planned first.


A Song-a-Day Project

October 17, 2015

I wrote a song a day earlier this month, for nine days. It was a fun project. I recorded them over those nine days, plus five more.

If you wish to download the nine songs, here is a link to uncompressed files, and here is one to mp3s.

Or, listen to them right here:

I wrote a song a day earlier this month, for nine days. It was a fun project.

Song notes:

1 My Tree (October 2) 2’16”
(I added a few things to this one about two months after the initial release: one new line of lyrics, a bass part, and an organ solo contributed by Zac Denton. The new version of just this song: mp3, aif.)

2 Evergreen (October 8) 3’20”
Started with the guitar riff; at the beginning this was imagined in the way that songs by The Cure are based on a highly metered, fairly simple guitar riff. The second section is a bit out-of-place, but ultimately I am glad it is there: it helps to set off the refrain when that appears. I had George Harrison in mind with the latter..

3 Making Moles (October 10) 2’02”
This one failed a bit: I didn’t have any space to write a song, and thus improvised and used my laptop to develop some musical lines. I imagined that a melody would appear, and that I would then write lyrics.

4 The You in I (October 7) 2’49”
Extremely simple song. It began from the awareness that I like to read the newspaper, and whenever I get a newspaper I really do read almost every page, and yet I rarely have any resulting sense of “knowledge” distilled from the experience. That idea generated a Buddhist one about perspective changing when a person is the subject of the news, rather than a reader of it. More accurately, the song is about the fact that every person is an “I,” something often forgotten because one’s own “I” looms so large in the viewing.

5 Sunshine Stands For (October 5) 2’35”
Lacking a drum set meant that the rhythm of the songs was either carried by the melody line, or the basic instruments supporting it. Here, after writing the music to start by get some drums, and used the first thing I could find (under “Rocksteady” in my music collection).

6 Inner Beauty (October 3) 2’58”
Dear friend and collaborator Allison Rentz visited me, and I rapidly wrote this one for her to join with the vocals. The lyrics hew to the “obscurant” style.

7 Cold as Rain (October 4) 2’45”
Very consciously in the style of Neil Young, but also intended to write a more “personal” song (contra obscurantism).

8 Winner Takes All (October 6) 5’07”
Jeffrey Grove and I (we perform as Monomania) are both New York Yankees fans. Since neither of us had had the time to follow the baseball season, I suggested we get together to watch the one game wildcard elimination game between New York and Houston on this evening. Fatalistically (and accurately) perceiving a Yankees loss, we both saw it as a “season in one game.” Since this was also my window for writing a song, I brought some gear. This one isn’t a song at all, but rather a duo improvisation. I did “write” it in terms of suggesting three sections, and then “turning it into a rondo.” A thin reed, as they say. Jeff plays the Casio SK-1 and Korg Electribe (on the right), and I play littleBits and soft-synth (on the left).

9 I Am a Cloud (October 9) 2’45”
Also very, very simple; illustrates the short limits of my vocal ability. 


Second Conclave

August 3, 2015

Solo littleBits. (Circuit image appears at the end.)