Once, weird instruments only made the rounds at exclusive academic conferences. Now, they go viral on Facebook.

Such is the case with Collidoscope, the creation of a UK-based mixing and mastering service (out of London label Sunlightsquare Records) and Queen Mary researchers – Ben Bengler and Fiore Martin. It’s a massive tangible table-top interface to a granular instrument.

There are a few things that make this one special, even to those of us who have seen such items before.

1. It’s big. It appears that the basis of this is a very large display, cleverly built into a slick-looking table-top interface.

2. It’s visual. A crisp, clear waveform display attractively shows you where you are. Nicely executed, that.

3. It’s physical. Big knobs and faders and a keyboard set this apart from the iPad apps and whatnot that do the same – and also set up the possibility for collaboration.

4. It samples. Built-in sampling is connected to a SuperCollider engine underneath for responsive sonic control.

More here, though they’re a bit scant on details other than it’s a one-off prototype. (And the site is, sadly, orange and full of big ads! But the prototype itself is great!)


Built your own interesting granular controller? We’d love to see it.

Seems this could also be a chance to open up design ideas. Speaking of which, I really should come up with a better interface for my own mangled Pd creation and maybe clean up the patch enough that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to let anyone see it!

But really brilliant and inspiring work, lads! This raises the bar. Or, at least, the table.