Mocean: Water as Musical Instrument

Mocean is an interactive installation that uses a tank of water as an interface for sound. Dip your hands in the tank, and the installation whistles and hums. The water doesn't create the sound directly; instead, an array of antique organ pipes resonate above the tank, triggered by a video camera that analyzes pictures of […]

AID: DIY Installation Art Circuits

The Art Interface Device (AID) is a microprocessor platform for interfacing with sensors, motors, and electronic devices. If installation art doesn't turn you on, this could work just as well for building interactive electronic instruments. Best of all, the hardware design itself is open source / GPL, so you can just download the plans and […]

100 km/h Spinning Speaker

Yes, it's an award-winning piece of interactive installation art, but we're keyboardists here: it's also the world's largest, fastest, most terrifying Leslie rotary cabinet. Spatial Sounds scans the space for visitors, then spins up to 100 km/h in a circle, varying speed and direction. Understatement from the artist: "Closer investigation would be tempting fate, with […]

Make Music with Cubes and Jars

near near future continues to bring fascinating alternative music controllers to our attention. This week they cover two objects that generate sound, cubes and jars: loopqoob builds further on the idea of playing with blocks, with cubes linked to computer algorithmic music / synthesis for people without the motor skills to play instruments. Piano Cubes […]

Sequencing with Architecture: Instant City

First colored blocks, now city blocks: Swiss-based collective Rosen & Spademan has constructed a "music building game table" for creating modular compositions with transparent blocks, converting improvised architecture into sound. (thanks, near near future) Their biggest goal, they say: getting people to grab the objects and play. You can explore this and other projects on […]

Sequencing Sound with Colored Objects

The musical installation art / alternative instrument madness continues! Toke Oliver Barters of the UK has created a color scanner that, when linked to a computer, produces sequences of sound from colored objects placed on it. The glass disc rotates, so melodies can be formed simply by adjusting placement of the colored objects; the PowerBook […]

Recycling Alternatives: Build an Audio Igloo

Wondering what to do with all that useless audio gear? Try building a big igloo out of it in a church, "a new home: a habitat for listeners of avant-garde music." There's everything from old speakers to turntables in there. Neat. But creator Benoît Maubrey's description of the sounds from these retired pieces of gear […]

Mac-Powered Punching Bag for DJs [Updated]

Sure, DJs could opt for products like Final Scratch that provide a traditional turntable interface for the computer, but why not . . . a punching bag? Version 2.0 of Max/MSP-powered SoundSlam lets you punch to trigger audio and even has a virtual trainer that coaches you as you go. Add a floor mat you […]

Unlikely Sound Equipment I: Drum Machine Made of Eggs

Breakfast: delicious. Drum machines: not so much. Until now. With contact mics hooked up to eggs (the kind that comes from birds, with various breeds represented), Los Angeles-based artists k.cain and b.crabtree have built an audio installation that's (insert egg pun here). A Mac LC sits behind the scenes doing the dirty work with custom […]

GuitarBot: Robotic Guitar Instrument

Weird Music Gadget Week Continues! Engadget and the New York Times are chatting about the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots' GuitarBot, so I thought I'd add my take. GuitarBot is perhaps best described in sound as an automated, electrified shamisen; it has a very Japanese sound and shudders and shakes fabulously as it plays. […]