Author & Punisher is Tristan Shone, a one-man band the mechanical engineer created in 2004. Inspired by his experience playing in bands and a love of industrial music and doom metal, Shone writes and performs as Author & Punisher using an intricate set-up of custom controllers which he designs, prototypes and builds himself. These controllers are machined in CNC (computer numeric control), 3D-printed and powered by Arduino, open-source software and hardware that allows Shone’s inventions – with names like Big Knobs and Grid Iron – to communicate with hardware instruments and software such as Ableton Live. Beyond the practicality of enabling Shone to perform by himself, these DIY controllers are also a way for him to add a more engaging physical dimension to the MIDI controllers that have become a standard in electronic music. The result is a unique set-up where Shone controls every aspect of the music manually, live. Or as he puts it, “If I’m not touching something, you’re not hearing something.”
In this episode of Studio Science, filmed at Moogfest 2018, Shone explained his DIY philosophy and approach while guiding us through the latest iteration of his performance set-up, featuring new versions of his controllers for rhythm, pitch and assignable parameters.