In collaboration with SF builder and experimental sound artist Victoria Shen, Ferrous from Landscape is a “Spinning Magnetic String Resonator.” It works by making a disc with magnets whirl around, activating strings on various instruments.

Ferrous is new, but someone jumped on this in a hurry as the preorder is already sold out. If you’re reading this far, I’ll guess that either you were not so quick, or that you’re signing up for the waitlist and just want to soothe yourself with my flowery prose. Or re-reading this text from LANDSCAPE:

Made to resonate steel stringed instruments. Ferrous’ spinning disc contains six strong earth magnets. Adjusting the rotational speed of the disc will change which strings are most affected and their harmonic content. If the disc is spinning slowly lower strings resonate; if the disc is spinning quickly higher strings will resonate louder. The results can sound like an unknown instrument in a reverberated physical space, floating sine wave tones, or feedback. Fluctuation of rotation speed by using the thumbwheel, rev button, touch-plate or control voltage input can create a soft strumming effect across multiple strings or shifts in harmonic content. New harmonics and overtones can emerge from both lower and higher strings as the disc spins faster. The distance at which Ferrous is held from strings affects how strongly they will resonate and their harmonics. If Ferrous is placed near guitar pickups you will hear the heavy sounds of the magnets and the motor with the resulting pitch based upon the disc’s RPM.

This does some wonderful, wonderful stuff – resonating strings (even on a piano), metal surfaces, “magnetic strumming,” “pitch blending.” There’s tons to explore based on modulating the RPM of the motor, the object you’re resonating, playing the object simultaneously, and positioning. They’ve also put a lot of thought into the magnet placement, so I’m really keen to try this myself:

There are three small magnets and three larger magnets aligned in overlapping triangular patterns on the disc. The smaller magnets help provide higher-order harmonics and the larger magnets help create greater string movement and lower-order harmonics.

Lovely. Of course, if you have some power tools handy (or an electric toothbrush, or another… vibrating implement, like the other one you’re thinking of), you can and should try those. That’s some punk, working-class action. (you could combine the two, as well)

This will look a heck of a lot prettier than your Black & Decker implement – and since it is purpose-built, it seems they’re getting some especially lovely sounds out of it. (Oh, and you don’t have to listen to a belt sander or something over top of the music which does tend to rule out ambient/chill applications.)

It’s a gorgeous design, one that really makes this concept into a usable instrument you might use frequently. More, including sound samples:

Update: and for everyone complaining about the absence of a video, here it is! (but do go and listen to the audio samples, too – the reason I didn’t complain is I guess once you’ve seen how this functions or visualized it, audio will in fact give you a good sense!)

Victoria aka evicshen is also worth checking out – as builder and instrumentalist/performer, both!

More inspiration from LANDSCAPE:

Epic live performance by Arca on their Stereo Field:

This wonderful visual (warning – flashing images)