Musical Electronics Library

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Musical Electronics Library
FormationNovember 2014[1]
TypeNGO, lending library
Coordinates36°51′24″S 174°45′35″E / 36.856699°S 174.759786°E / -36.856699; 174.759786Coordinates: 36°51′24″S 174°45′35″E / 36.856699°S 174.759786°E / -36.856699; 174.759786
Region served
New Zealand

The Musical Electronics Library (or MEL) is a lending library of homemade electronic musical devices in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand, and is a worldwide leader in the Scavengetronica movement.[2][3]

The library contains electrolytic capacitors, rampwave oscillators, white noise generators, light theremins, sample and holds, ring modulators, preamplifiers, pitch shifters, phasers, and mixers; mostly built inside repurposed VHS cases.[4][5][6] Highlights of the collection include the "electric bee motorcycle sound-maker box", a device which emulates the sound of meowing cats inside a Cats VHS box, and "Mad Max" which has been described as "Merzbow in a box".[7][8]

MEL is run by volunteers and curated by musician and device-builder Kraus.[9][10] The library was inspired by the work of Nicolas Collins and Bob Widlar.[11][12] Musicians using equipment from MEL include Hermione Johnson, Kraus, Pumice, Diana Tribute, Samuel Flynn Scott, the MEL Orchestra, Piece War, Ducklingmonster, the Biscuits, Powernap, Herriot Row, and Chronic Fatigue Sindrome.[13][14][15]

The library has been running synthesizer-building workshops around New Zealand.[5] MEL also co-hosts an open weekly maker night with the Auckland University of Technology where projects are developed in a collaborative environment.[16]

Kraus stated in a New Zealand Listener interview that "doing any kind of community project like this for me is a political thing - of self-organisation and encouraging people to take control of their lives, instead of just being a consumer, buying something someone else has made, or some robots in China. The kind of empowerment that comes from learning a new skill is a really powerful thing."[8] He said in NZ musician magazine that he wants "to emphasise the idea of sharing and also reducing waste through re-using things and giving seemingly broken or out of date things a new purpose."[7]

The library started in Auckland and 2014 and opened a Wellington chapter in 2016.[17]



  1. ^ Smith, Emma (13 June 2015). "Headquarters: Kraus". Radio New Zealand National. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
  2. ^ Norling, Sean. "UTR's Highlights Of 2014". Under The Radar. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  3. ^ "About". Musical Electronics Library. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Musical Device Library Set To Launch In Spring". Under the Radar. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b Thomas, Melody. "Kraus Synth Workshop". Radio New Zealand National. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Musical Electronics Library Inventory". myTurn. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. ^ a b O'Sullivan, Mitch (January 2015). "Musical Electronics Library". NZ Musician. 18 (7): 52.
  8. ^ a b Smith, Emma (11 October 2014). "Smashingly Good Time". New Zealand Listener. 245 (3883): 44–45.
  9. ^ Silver, Harry. "May Creative Technologists Meetup". Colab. Auckland University of Technology. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Musical Electronics Library". Sonorous Circle. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  11. ^ Kraus, Pat. "MEL prehistory 1". Musical Electronics Library. Musical Electronics Library. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Bob Widlar". Space Surveillance Network (July 2014): 5. July 2014.
  13. ^ "MELtastic Auckland Artists". Space Surveillance Network (July 2014): 26. July 2014.
  14. ^ Dass, Kiran. "Nowhere Festival 2014". Radio New Zealand National. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  15. ^ Samuel Flynn Scott (2016-02-20). "Wellington Musical Electronics Library". Radio New Zealand National. Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2016-02-21.
  16. ^ "MEL & AUT Colab:Weekly Maker Nights". Space Surveillance Network (July 2014): 24. July 2014.
  17. ^ "M-E-L Launch Party!!". Sound and Light Exploration Society. Retrieved 13 February 2016.

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