Trigon Incantors, like regular Incantors, are circuit-bent human voice synthesizers. Their output is similar to the standard Incantor though the Trigon's ability to stream aleatoric (chance) music is perhaps stronger. Trigon Incantors are very nice at producing streaming sequences of odd tones, disturbed human voices and unusual sound-effects. Trigon Incantor experimental musicality is very strong. The Trigon has gained eighteen additions through the circuit-bending process. These modifications include 5 voice bending switches (for data stream disruptions resulting in chance music and other unexpected results), 5 stage switches (for setting the response of the sound stage upon which the steel balls rest), gold-plated RCA output (for feeding effects, mixer and amp), headphone output (to monitor dry signal), speaker switch (for muting internal monitor speaker), reset switch (to remedy crashes), pitch control (sets overall voice pitch, adjustable down to fascinating low ultra-low frequencies), body contact (touch for real-time pitch-bending), blue pilot LED and red envelope LED (red LED flashes with signal peaks).

Trigons are played by positioning the 3 large steel balls on the multi-sensor playing stage.

Trigon Incantors are finished in crackled fluorescent colors involving many coats of paints & glosses, including a dusting of holographic powder making the instrument shimmer with spectra in direct light. Control titles are hand-inked. Battery cover includes a fine glass eye inset, bulging out of the distorted plastic in a very organic way.

More, excerpted from Reed's EMI article on Trigon Incantors:

"Like my standard Incantor, the Trigon Incantor is a circuit-bent human voice synthesizer. Both devices are capable of producing extremely complex, astoundingly variable sound sequences. Disoriented by the unforeseen pressures of circuit-bending, wildly deranged programs now trigger the voice generators along with, in the Trigon Incantor's case, an ample built-in sound effects bank as well. The resulting patterns are always intricate, always surprising, and forever capable of producing something new. In these experimental music boxes chance and indeterminacy gloriously reign.

"During the early 70s Texas Instruments began to market an electronic human voice synthesizer in the form of a child's educational toy known as the Speak & Spell. This rather successful, and at the time quite novel, device spawned two additional toys. These were the Speak & Read and the Speak & Math. Looking about the same, all offered a number of games in which a synthetic voice requests a specific keypad entry from the child.

"Texas Instruments, inspired with the very positive reception of these talking toys, began to develop similar voice synthesizers for both younger and older children The Super Speak & Spell appeared for kids who outgrew the earlier model, and to address the lesser experience and dexterity of younger children a larger human voice synthesizer was created. Here the oversized keypad took the form of a colorful page of pictures. Certainly due a Silly Name Award, this speaking computer was marketed as the Touch & Tell. Trigon Incantors are made from these.

"Whereas the Speak & Spell might say "Can you spell the word CAT?", the Touch & Tell would simply prompt "Can you find the cat? Press a picture!" In the first example a series of small alphabet 'keys' would need to be accurately pressed. In the second example, just pressing a picture of a cat would suffice. Further, the Touch & Tell's picture sheets are interchangeable. Each displays a variable number of images and is hole-punched along the edge so as to reset hidden switches when located in place. In this way, alternate switch settings program the synthesizer's computer relative to each picture sheet. Although regarded as toys, the only thing childish about these curious talking boxes is their vocabulary. But with circuit-bending ...

"The principles of chance when applied to electronic sound synthesis have a history of producing rather intriguing results. Frequency range, tone color, and the very flexible envelope of the synthesizer's voice add up to a versatility that can be downright stunning when influenced by randomized controlling factors. So yes, Incantors are music boxes... experimental music boxes employing these principles with the addition of human voice artifacts thrown in. Both frequency and dynamic range are impressive, especially apparent when monitored through the line output feeding a good amp or hi-fi sound system. My enthusiasm, I've discovered, is shared now by Incantor owners everywhere. From stage use for large audiences to simply sitting alone with one on the lap, reports of amazement are always coming in.

"With voice characteristics being somewhat similar, the standard and Trigon Incantor differ greatly in the playing techniques (keypad vs. steel balls). Both are capable of producing short as well as on-going streams of finely delineated digital sounds. These sounds, which range from percussive to melodic to vocal, and are constantly re-evolving through abstraction after abstraction, can be initiated on each instrument through various data entries involving the new circuit-bending switches, steel ball positioning, as well as standard keypad actuation.

"Both Incantors have pitch/speed controls which slow down the digital surges of information, exposing whole worlds of new sounds. As the pitch/speed is decreased, falling frequencies rattle the windows and drop out of hearing range while fresh high-pitched voices float in from the top ... always changing, always cycling. In this way the texture, or 'grain,' of the signal is exposed and the strange sonic building blocks become remarkably evident.

"Each Incantor includes voice bending switches; three for the standard Incantor and five for the Trigon. These activate the added circuitry creating the wild voice transmutations, and are at the heart of the bending. Body-contacts appear on both as well. Like the rotary pitch control, these conductive metal knobs also affect frequency when in communication with the flesh. Though they do not move, varying finger pressure acts upon the instrument's voice in a way similar to a synthesizer's pitch-bend wheel, or a guitar's tremolo bar. Both Incantors also include custom reset switches, fluctuating envelope LEDs, and accept the original expansion modules manufactured by Texas Instruments.

"How voices are looped represents a real difference between the standard and the Trigon Incantor. The looping system on the standard Incantor consists of four separate controls: a momentary or "loop search" push-button, a toggle switch for "loop hold", an electric eye for shadow control of loop sequencing, and an on-off switch to activate this eye. In comparison, all of this is accomplished on the Trigon Incantor by placement on the pressure-sensitive stage of the heavy steel balls. One, two, or all three balls can be used for setting loops (non-continuous voices are triggered by momentary finger pressure on the stage).
"Incantor looping presents very unusual, strangely varying rhythmic structures unlike those from any other source I've ever heard. And loops, of course, can be slowed down in the same way as all Incantor voices with the same peculiar sonic results. Dramatic pitch sweeps, unique percussive bursts, disarrayed phonemes, extraordinary note sequences, surrealistic wordings and intriguing tone colors all combine here in a sensuous panoply of sound."


The price is $1,600 plus shipping. This instrument is also available as a Bare Bends model. See the Bare Bends  Gallery.



POB 20181
Cincinnati, OH 45220