With laptops and even modern cell phones being able to do just about anything imaginable soundwise, I'm personally getting more and more interested in really simple gear. Like monophonic synthesizers with only a few knobs to turn that you're able to carry around (like, for example, this one: http://www.noiseguide.com/product_info/bugbrand_audio_weevil
). There's a lot of neat stuff out there but what I'm really looking for is gear that a) runs on regular batteries (meaning I don't have to have external power for it) and b) in the best scenario, has some sort of speaker of its own.
One reason for this is that I got really excited over the idea of having small improvisation gatherings, with 3-5 people singing, chanting, playing some bells and whistles - but with some additional electronic touch to it all. There's plenty of great, even inexpensive acoustic instruments to choose from but some gritty electronics would be just great alongside them.
The idea hit me one day when I bumped into this old tunnel, in the middle of a nice forest nearby. The place has a pleasant (if a bit bassy) acoustic feeling, theres the constant sound of water dropping from the ceiling into a big puddle (if it has been raining lately) and it's quite nicely shielded from outside noise. The place is big enough to make you forget your real surroundings, to have your imagination and inspiration work more effectively. I spent some time recording the clichéd water drop sounds and realised I could sing and hum a simple melody to make things more interesting. This simple thing felt and sounded surprisingly inspiring. Now, to have a few more people singing, making simple use of some instruments... That would really work in this tunnel and there's of course dozens of other places to be found. Sound improvisation with ambience and slow, harmonic motion in mind sounds like the second most interesting thing to do with a group of people, I can think of right now.
So, back to the actual question, can you recommend any interesting synths/sound boxes/other electronic instruments you think might suit a situation, where you don't want to carry big gear or there's no electricity
? Thanks in advance for all ideas!