A Vacuum Tube Drum Machine: Eric Barbour, Metasonix at RobotSpeak

Drum machines with tubes: from Wurlitzer’s classic SideMan to a new prototype, drum machines can make tubes rock even harder. What happens when adept sonic inventor Eric Barbour of Metasonix makes a drum machine out of clever circuits and vacuum tubes? Well, in the creator’s words: “It makes noise … a lot of noise.”

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Gijs’ Servo Sequencer, Opto-Mechanical Music, Events in Breda + Eindhoven

The Servo Sequencer with its hypnotic-looking optical disc. Photo courtesy Gijs Gieskes. Artists Gijs Gieskes’ sequencers are almost like physical, mechanical software, an expression of musical structure in object form. As such, even as they make strange sounds, they become musical sculpture. His latest Servo Sequencer combines optical and mechanical process, as frequency circles spin on a turntable and tone arms float above them. The Servo Sequencer is built for exhibition use – meaning, yes, he’s brave enough to let you play with this contraption. Sequence the arms using buttons, then adjust the volume mix and placement of each arm …

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Robotic Guitars, Lyrics as Art Installation

A beautiful art installation; pray they’re not programmed to play Stairway to Heaven. Saadane Afif’s Power Chords, view of the installation at the Lyon Biennial 2005. Image by Galerie Michel Rein. Maybe it’s something about music making in the digital age, the alienation of music technology. Or maybe there’s just something fun about mechanical objects making sound on their own. Whatever it is, artists lately have been fascinated by mechanical instruments. Here’s yet another one: French artist Saadane Afif makes sometimes-chilly installations out of musical objects, like a minimalist collection of guitars and amps, strummed by mechanical apparatus, in his …

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Game Boy Drum Machine Software Bangs Real-Word Stuff

You know how drummers tap desks, objects, and anything around them incessantly, often unaware of the fact that they’re doing it, until people get annoyed? Well, now you don’t need a drummer around: you can program a Game Boy to do the same thing. Jowan Sebastian has built a brilliant, elegant application for Game Boys called kBANG. Wire up a Game Boy to other objects — like solenoids, simple mechanical devices that can perform a tapping action — and you’ve got a real-world drum machine. Enough glitchy beats: physical objects become percussion. kBANG: Game Boy Drum Machine Here it is …

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