Modified Toy Orchestra

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The Modified Toy Orchestra is an experimental music group from Birmingham, England. Brian Duffy, the main member and creator of the orchestra makes the group's instruments by circuit bending sound making devices, such as toy keyboards, and educational spelling toys.


The band was founded by Brian Duffy as a one-man project.[1] He originally began by sampling sounds from toys to use in his electronic music, but after disassembling a Texas Instruments Speak & Spell he realised he could modify them to produce new sounds, turning the toys themselves into instruments.[1][2] He began looking in car boot sales and skips for more electronic toys to modify and use in performances.[3]

Duffy describes the intent behind his music as “an interest in the surplus value and hidden potential of seemingly redundant technology.”[4]


  • Brian Duffy
  • Darren Joyce
  • Laurence Hunt
  • Sean Tighe
  • Chris Plant
  • Graeme Rose

Past members[edit]


In 2006, the Modified Toy Orchestra was expanded from a one-man project by Brian Duffy to a full six-piece band, to have more possibilities when playing live.

New live members are: Laurence Hunt (Pram), Darren Joyce (Dreams of Tall Buildings), Mike Johnston (Plone, Mike in Mono), Michael Valentine West (Twiggy and the K-Mesons), and visual projection artist Chris Plant (Colour Burst). Together they have performed at the 2006 Sónar festival in Barcelona and Supersonic festival in the United Kingdom. Previous performances have included the Royal Institute, and supporting bands Heaven 17 and Melt Banana. Live sets have also been transmitted on Resonance FM and BBC Radio 1.



  1. ^ a b "Child's play for the Modified Toy Orchestra", Birmingham Post, 5 September 2010, retrieved 29 April 2014 
  2. ^ "Play that funky Barbie Doll", The Guardian, 8 March 2007, retrieved 29 April 2014 
  3. ^ "Modified Toy Orchestra at Birmingham Town Hall", Birmingham Mail, 3 September 2010, retrieved 29 April 2014 
  4. ^ "Modified Toy Orchestra", Time Out Hong Kong, 3 March 2009, retrieved 29 April 2014 

External links[edit]