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By Hillary Juster, NewsCastic

Darcy Neal has been sparkling her magic dust on the DFW bizarre and experimental noise scene for like 10 years. Her idea of fun is messing with the circuits of children’s toy instruments to make them play light and sound like a horror movie.

We sat in on her first attempt to teach total beginners how to make their very own noise toys in a workshop at Oil and Cotton. We captured all the freakiest and most hilarious sounds for your sonic and visual enjoyment.

So, uh, What’s Electronic Light-Music?


Its sounds a little like magic when you first hear about it, but we promise it’s science. Neal has arduino chips that take the amount of light around a special sensor and translate that information into a sound.

Team Work Makes Perf

A lot of tricky stuff is happening in these circuits, but these beginners had an expert on hand to troubleshoot. The fun comes way faster with Neal there to smooth things along.

Neal vs The Pink Robots

In case you were interested in what Neal herself makes with these circuits, here’s a project that she collaborated on with Haley Moore, as Ladybrain Studios. Oh yeah, the funky brain thing is for the Flaming Lips, and currently in a bunch of private collections (possibly Miley Cyrus’s?).

What Does the Fox Say?

Once the beginners caught the basics, the noises that filled the room were simultaneously hilarious and ear-splitting. It was hard not to be delighted.

56k Mario Kart Noise

Sometimes the noises burst out like an AOL modem disaster or a fax mistake. Other times you could swear you were racing Yoshii down Rainbow Road.

Electric Human Body

Individual experimentation ruled the day at the workshop. Here you see Lauren, who works with microcomputers, try and add herself into the circuit as a resistor.

Talking to Aliens

Angela Faz, who works as a multi-media artist, came to the workshop as an almost complete novice, but learned to build a pretty cool circuit. She could also play it with the precision of a hand-radio, Operation game.

What’s Neal up to, Now?

Neal has stayed in touch with any of the students who’ve had questions since the workshop. Unfortunately, she hasn’t scheduled another, yet. We suppose she’s too busy circuit-bending old TVs!


The Inside of Darcy Neal’s Brain

At the end of the beginner’s workshop, all the students masterfully blasted their interactive noise circuit at the same time. This must be what it’s like inside Darcy Neal’s brain.

If you want to bug her to schedule another workshop before summer ends, contact Lady Brain Studios or Oil and Cotton.