Teslamania Music Video: What’s that humming in your pocket?

July 7, 2014:  What’s that humming in your pocket?What's that humming in your pocket?

What’s that humming in your pocket– is a music video produced by Cheek to Cheek for Teslamania in celebration of Tesla’s birthday.  Click here to watch music video.

Lyrics:  Magda Havas
Music Composition, Production and Instrument Design:  Don Garbutt

Video Animation:  Jason Quitt

This musical composition is unique in that aside from drums, synthetic voices and a single seven-note guitar passage in the chorus, all of the remaining musical sounds were generated by samples of radio frequency emitting devices including a microwave oven, cell phone, DECT cordless phone, Bluetooth microphone, a baby monitor and the receiving mama monitor.

Special radio frequency detection meters can convert radio waves into sound waves.  To hear what various wireless devices sound like click here.

These sounds form the core of a custom-built synthesizer instrument called the “Microtron”, made with Reaktor software by Native Instruments. Using a technique called granular synthesis, the Microtron allows us to freely control the pitch, tempo and tonality of these sounds, easily done with a custom graphical user interface.

The pulsing groove of the baby monitor (ahh ahh ahh) established the tempo and provided the bass line.

The nasty sustained tone produced by bluetooth was cleaned and shaped to sound like a steel guitar in the middle section.

The “dat, daa da-dat, daa da-dat” pulse pattern came from incoming cell-phone 


Towards the end of the song, during the robot “uh-huh, all-right, yeah…” section, the sustaining drone sound was produced by a cell phone in airplane mode.

The raunchy power-chord guitar sound in the chorus was produced by a microwave oven.

Can you identify the various radio frequency emitting devices in the song?

The singing plants rely on the bees for pollination and they are sending us a warning that this radio frequency radiation may not be as safe as some would like us to believe, and could be responsible for a variety of negative health issues.

The singing plants video is a prelude to a very unusual interactive display of real plants hooked up to a modified lie-detector system integrated with MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology. The plants respond to changes in their environment by playing beautiful music!


All of this will be demonstrated at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, July 10, 2014 and at Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre in Oakville, July 12, 2014.

To learn more about Don Garbutt – music composer / producer / artistic collaborator / technical consultant / 3-D sound specialist / Reaktor instrument builder / electronic music guru / word and music editor / tuning, timing and tone specialist / teacher – click here to visit his website.
For more information visit Teslamania.tv.Teslamania