This is project I have been planning to do for a long time. As an expert on Erkki Kurenniemi’s electrical music instruments I have had a chance to try out most of these weird beasts. The very instrument in question is DIMI-S, which Swedes call Kärleksmaskin (a love machine) and us Finns Sexophone. Sexyphone is my AVR based pocket version of this synthesizer.
Kurenniemi built two DIMI-S instruments. Today another unit is located in Kiasma museum in Helsinki, while the second one is in busy use at composer Ralph Lundsten’s studio in Stockholm, Sweden. Instruments differ a bit from another and original schematics exist only of the unit still located in Lundsten’s studio. My instrument attempts to mimic the functionality of Lundsten’s instrument. If you are fluent in Swedish, this instrument is thoroughly discussed in fine article by Jörgen Städje. I also happen to have the original schematics of this instrument in my possession which came in handy for sorting out some minor details.
Basic principle of the instrument is following. Instrument can be played alone, but more players, the merrier. Each player will hold one metallic knob in hand (sometimes also handcuffs have been used). By this they will be connected to the circuitry of the instrument. When they will touch each other, instrument will be playing notes and melodies.
My instrument is designed to be portable, so one can easily take it with to bar or where ever people usually touch each other. Four metallic screw bits at the corners will substitute as metallic knob. As long as all players will touch one of these with the other hand, touches will be tracked. One can also install handcuff electrodes to the corners when more dramatic setup is preferred. The instrument can either be heard through two piezo speakers (one for bass and one for treble) or line out through mini jack output.
The original instrument is equipped with light organ unit. My version substitutes this with a smaller system of six LEDs.