Musical Electronics Library

Musical Electronics Library
Abbreviation MEL
Formation November 2014[1]
Type NGO, lending library
Coordinates 36°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 world-wide 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wants "to emphasise the idea of sharing and also reducing waste through re-using things and giving seemingly broken or out of date things a new purpose."[7]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. 1 2 Thomas, Melody. "Kraus Synth Workshop". Radio New Zealand National. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  6. "Musical Electronics Library Inventory". myTurn. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. 1 2 O'Sullivan, Mitch (January 2015). "Musical Electronics Library". nz musician. 18 (7): 52.
  8. 1 2 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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