The Crudlabs Crudman is a new tape-based instrument consisting of a hacked cassette Walkman controlled by pressing notes on a keyboard. Demo below! It might remind you of a Mellotron, another tape-based keyboard popular in the 60s and 70s, but Crudlabs points out that the Crudman "is not designed to replace a Mellotron and it does not sound like a Mellotron."
"The Crudman can provide endless atonal sounscapes but has been designed specifically to be just accurate enough to function as a traditionally melodic musical instrument. You can record anything onto a tape, so if you're a fan of the sound and idiosyncrasies of tape, the possibilities are pretty much endless. If you want to play melodies like any other synthesizer, just put in a tape tuned to C, and you play all the way from C two octaves down, to C one octave up - 3 whole octaves. If you want to make new atonal sounds with the singular qualities of analog cassette tape, just put in a tape with literally any music or sounds on it, and see what happens."
Crudlabs is currently making each Crudman to order for $375.
One of my favorite recent projects in MAKE is Chester Winowiecki's complete instructions for making an inexpensive "panjolele." It's a cake pan banjo ukulele and it sounds great. I just wish I could play and sing as well as Chester.
Below: everything you need to make a panjolele.