If you’ve been dying to unleash your inner Bon Iver or Kanye West (though just the music, we hope), BrandNewNoise has got you covered. The company makes handcrafted, wooden audio recorders that enable you to easily record sounds, manipulate their pitch and speed, and create sound loops. Not only has the company gotten props from both Wired and VICE, it also might be the only company that sells an audio looper made to look like David Bowie’s face.
BrandNewNoise got started when founder Richard Upchurch built a recorder for his nephew as a gift. The gadget quickly caught on amongst his nephew’s peers, and soon Upchurch launched an online shop.
BrandNewNoise’s products now include DIY, a kit for making your own sound-looping machine, and Zoots, which has a built-in kalimba, an African “thumb piano.” (Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire played the kalimba in many of the group’s performances.) Most of the company’s products range in price from $50 to $90. The Phone-Home Xylophone, at $240, costs significantly more, but it produces some cool, space-y sound effects.
BrandNewNoise currently has a workshop in Red Hook, where its audio devices are still produced by hand. (Score one for small-scale manufacturing in Brooklyn.) But here’s a bit of sad news: the company is moving its headquarters to Dallas. Upchurch spoke with D Magazine about the move in a recent Q&A. There is a silver lining, however: some production will remain in Red Hook. BrandNewNoise partners with two nonprofits, Manhattan-based Good Shepherd Services and Brooklyn-based Exalt Youth, to provide internships, which will continue, Upchurch told the magazine.
Upchurch, it turns out, was drawn to Dallas mainly for personal reasons: his wife had established a base there. The cultural scene he describes, in our opinion, sounds similar to Brooklyn’s in many ways.
“I kept getting passed on to the next person, place, and neighborhood, so I really got a feel for how vibrant the creative culture is here,” he said.
One concession we must make, however: though this reporter has lived within walking distance of great taquerias (namely, Oaxaca) in three different Brooklyn neighborhoods, we’re pretty sure Dallas has better Mexican food.