Cirucit bending is a process of modifying electronic devices to make sounds they were not originally intended to make.
Q.Reed Ghazala coined the term in the 90's but discovered the idea in the late 60's when a small transistor radio short circuited in his junk drawer and made synthesizer type sounds.
Truly any electronic devices from a pocket calculator to AC motor can be circuit bent to make sounds but th emost popular targets are children's toys like the infamous Texas Instruments Speak & Spell as seen in ET or the low budget Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard.
I circuit bent my TI Speak & Spell to make some heinous noises and loops.
A sound art derived from accidentally coming upon a broken electronic device and then frontin' like you know how it works as you close-mic it in a museum.
When used as a verb, it often means the opposite of circuit bending, i.e. to denote success in repairing something technical. 'When my car smoked, I had to circuit bend the motherfucker to get it running again, fuckin stayed up all night doin' it too.'
Q: "Say, does June of 44 do circuit bending?"
A: "Naw, don't think so, but I heard they had a broken Super Reverb."
Verb: To augment various small electronic toys to emit uncanny sounds for the purpose of producing avant-garde and experimental musical effects. The method of this modification is through purposeful, exploratory short-circuiting of the integrated circuits using conductive wire, solder (sometimes tape, glue etc.) and various control mechanisms such as switches, body contacts and potentiometers to control the unique sound's effects.
1. They joined the local circuit-bending competition in hopes of winning the prize.
2. While circuit-bending, he burned the silicon chip with his soldering iron by accident.
3. Her circuit-bent speak and spell made incredibly intricate noises; everyone was surprised, however, that she used only cannibalized audio cable and tape.