Making Music with an Anti-Theft Device and a Hammer

    Howdy, welcome back to Spoken Word with Electronics. As with all episodes, we submit the following report on urban life:

  1. This week my wife showed up at home with a piece of plastic connected to a purchase. It was human error that retained the suspicious item, post-sale. We both knew it was an alarm. It was a wire connected to a plastic shell, similar to one of these buggers. The wire gets tugged, the alarm screams. She asked if I wanted to look at it (I had a plan to connect it to a voltage source and trigger on contact, that the connection could be momentary or latching, to turn it into a buzzer)
  2. In the process of removing the cable I triggered the alarm. But once triggered, even reconnecting the wire did not shut it off. The sound from these things are hilariously shrill and deafening. They can't be stomped on, either – as their design is to continue wailing out in pain in the store to identify a shoplifter. So, like a robot baby that won't shut up, I brought it outside and smashed a hammer on it – Even this required some effort to properly mute. You'll hear the birds outside attempt to sing with the shrill alarm, it even gets a grackle's attention!
  3. I've played synths outside before and not achieved such a response from nature. Perhaps this is because the Anti-Theft Alarm generates the world's most irritating waveform possible. Look at the sharp gaps and clipping/cascading spikes:

    The anti-theft alarm generates perhaps the world's most irritating oscillator

  4. The waveform is surprisingly dense and transpiercing. Using a number of filters and formant analysis we actually find some really cool tones throughout. Have a neighbor you'd like to annoy? Don't miss this one! (You're welcome to do a TikTok dance to it, as well)
  5. In a world of increasing noise and all of us screaming for attention, it seems appropriate that Anti-Theft Alarm music exist, so here is an hour of such a thing.

  6. SWWE #70: DON'T BE ALARMED (Music with an Anti-Theft Device and Hammer)

    Some postscripts worth your interest:

  • Thanks to underground researcher/author Sean Howe for this tweet. Sean has found some copies of Downtown Magazine! He also mentions the Other Scenes Archive. I've been working every Tuesday to upload new content. You'll find all of 1967 and half of 1968 available now for your enjoyment:
  • On another counterculture note, check out this incredible May Day video! – Hour long video of raw activism, produced by an ad hoc group of 25 indy early videomakers in 1971 (Thanks to Skip Blumberg)
  • A sad note: Rest in Praise to Justin Green. Green, who spent many years as a sign painter of the highest skill, also made one of the best comics in history. Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary is still, fifty years after being created, a timeless and unique head trip of a book. If you've never read it, become someone who has read it!
  • Finally, a lovely bit of music in search of a sound from Mondo 2000 creator RU Sirius. Enjoy his DFW nodding Infinite Gesture. I rather enjoyed "We Are Duchampians of the World". Aren't we all.
  • Thanks and Be Alarmed. It's very loud!