{ Music Machines } Exploding Our Most Basic Assumptions About Music …*

As some of you may know, it’s Lautréaumont/chance encounter week here on rethinked* Here are some ‘music machines’ for your browsing pleasure. I love how these projects and instruments explode our assumptions about all things music. So often in life we take the things around us for granted–both in terms of forgetting to be grateful for what we have, but also in terms of becoming complacent about questioning the way things are done. The projects and concepts I’ve gathered below rethink …* the concept of music–from how it’s created to when it’s enjoyed–helping us to rediscover the magic of music in our lives as well as the endless possibilities to make and enjoy it.

What are some of your favorite music machines?

Make, play, listen & rethink …


{ The Otawa – Mieru Record } a charming device that merges a mechanical organ with a Japanese manga to create an adorably analog multimedia experience. Created by Japanese design group Mieru Record, a collection of eleven artists who are all inspired by the idea of merging music and manga into an alloyed form.

Source: A Magic Box That Makes Music Out Of Manga via FastCoDesign, published December 13, 2013.


– Trees, Year Ring Data & RECORD PLAYER  –

YearsBartholomäus Traubeck } A record player that plays slices of wood. Year ring data is translated into music, 2011. Modified turntable, computer, vvvv, camera, acrylic glass, veneer, approx. 90x50x50 cm.


 – Rocks, Paper & Scissors –


 A song from my new album LIP BOMB. The beat was made exclusively using sounds from rocks, paper and scissors – including the melodic bits


– Music & Doodles –

{ Looks Like Music – Yuri Suzuki } Miniature robots turn colour into music in this installation by Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki.

Looks Like Music – Mudam 2013 from Yuri Suzuki on Vimeo.

[ Hat tip: Watch: These Brilliant ‘Bots’ Turn Doodles Into Music via Wired Design, published August 27, 2013. ]



– Graphics & Disk Readers –

{ Dyskograf – Jesse Lucas } a graphic disk reader.

Each disc is created by visitors to the installation by way of felt tip pens provided for their use. The mechanism then reads the disk, translating the drawing into a musical sequence.

The installation is above all a tool, which allows the creation of musical sequences in an intuitive way. The notion of a loop, closely linked to electronic music, is represented here by the cycle of the disk. The disk passes indefinitely in front of a camera fixed onto an arm. This substitution for the needle converts the drawing into sound by way of a specific application program (software).  Through this system, the sequential ordering of music is learnt in a playful way, at the same time creating a unique object, souvenir of the musical composition.

Dyskograf from Jesse Lucas on Vimeo.



– Vegetables & Drum Beats –

{ BeetBoxScott Garner } Playing drum beats by touching actual beets

BeetBox is a simple instrument that allows users to play drum beats by touching actual beets. It is powered by a Raspberry Pi with a capacitive sensing board and an audio amplifier in a  hand-made wooden enclosure.

The BeetBox is primarily an exploration of perspective and expectations. I’m particularly interested in creating complex technical interactions in which the technology is invisible—both in the sense that the interaction is extremely simple and in the literal sense that no electronic components can be seen. 

BeetBox from Scott Garner on Vimeo.


 – Awkward Exterior Space & Pipes –

{ The Lullaby FactoryStudio Weave }

Studio Weave has transformed an awkward exterior space landlocked by buildings into the Lullaby Factory – a secret world that cannot be seen except from inside the hospital and cannot be heard by the naked ear, only by tuning in to its radio frequency or from a few special listening pipes.

The Lullaby Factory, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children - Photo by Studio Weave

The Lullaby Factory, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children – Photo by Studio Weave



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