Play House is an automata that generates slow hypnotic acid house through mechanisms built from LEGO Technic. This piece was made for AudioGraft 2014 with a commission from Oxford Contemporary Music. A modular synth project created by Alex Allmont, that generates acid house music.
Behind the scenes: Today the plan was to hook this sequencer up to the TB303 but here was a lot more fiddly stuff than expected, so this video just demonstrates the note matrix which will eventually send CV note values over to the synth. Each note is triggered on a quarter note (I’m limiting the sequencer to 2 beats per bar rather than 4) and each relates to a single column in the note matrix. How far up or down that column makes contact with the row determines the note pitch value.
ClearTone Synth with LFO inside a nice lego project box with a house, dog, flowers, LEDs and a female figure drinking away to the synths excellent sound!
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Earlier this Summer, Stefan Poiss, the mastermind of THYX and mind.in.a.box announced about a new project he was starting. This was a project he was doing together with all of the fans to THYX and mind.in.a.box and everyone could send him sound material and Stefan would be creating a song from that material. The experiment is now finished and you can listen to the result. The video is created by Justin Arnold.
Background description from Thyx:
This is an experiment I did with all mind.in.a.box and THYX fans via facebook. Everyone could send me some sound material, noises, whatever they want and my challenge was to create a whole song with this material.
It was not so easy. Most of the people sent me whole songs not just sounds. So first I had to listen carefully what I can cut and use. Bassdrum and Snare for example was cutted out from some songs they’ve sent me. I created sample sets from every sound. but it was too less. I needed some more and different sounds and so I began to build waveforms from the sounds. Zoom in, cut only one wave… load it into the sampler and let it loop.
The Lyrics I got from two guys. I mixed it so half of the lyrics are coming from one guy, half from another guy. I hope they will forgive me.
After creating a structure of the song I did a small loop for the refrain and posted it on facebook. Everyone should play this loop and record their singing with their handy or whatever device they have. I got about 25 recordings and I tried to build a chorus with them. Most important was that the timing from the singing from every recording was good. So I had to cut and trim a lot (and laughing a lot ) but in the end it went far better than I expected.
So this was it. The experiment called “Tape Evidence”. Every sound source from this song comes from the fans, except my voice of course. I really learned a lot and had a lot of fun during this project. I think even this song, where every sound source came from different people, sounds a little bit like mind.in.a.box or THYX. This is one of my big realizations of this project.
Big thanks to Justin Arnold who did this amazing LEGO style video!
…and thanks to everyone who was involved!
The song is free to download via our facebook page. I will post a link there soon.
A little song made possible by the new Brick Shaft accessories!
SoundMachine is a 4 track 8-step drum sequencer that uses the LEGO Mindstorms NXT to scan a set of drum “notes” which are then played using Ableton Live. The NXT uses four colour sensors to detect the colour of 2×2 LEGO bricks as the plate is scanned in. A controller written in Processing interprets the colour pattern and sequences MIDI note messages to send to Ableton Live, which in turn plays the sounds you hear.
The music on the video was created by SoundMachine itself – music you can build!
Based on the track: “BONAPARTE – 40°42’48.46 N 73°58’18.38 W”
Directed by JUL & MAT.
Robotic & video edit by PETER COCTEAU.
Filmed summer 2012 in PARIS, France.
During one month, I’ve built and programmed the robotic installation shown here. I used ten LEGO motors (NXT and old ones), three NXT (which are the LEGO computers seen at beginning of video), and two Hitechnic SuperPro Boards. I use the Hitechnic boards to control the lights and make good NXT synchronization (by using Fast I2C communication). [Ed.: That refers to I2C, a means of connecting devices by way of serial connection, often used in embedded electronics.] Hitechnic is a manufacturer of LEGO-compatible electronics and robotics.
I first inspected all the music parts in the song by using Apple’s Logic Studio, and reproduced [the parts] in the NXT-G program. This robotic installation really plays the song from start to end.
Peter Cocteau’s NXT-606, an 8-bit, sample-based drum machine built on LEGO’s Mindstorms prototyping platforming, has already been making the geek blog rounds.
- Brilliant, minimal design: Peter cleverly consolidates controls on two knobs, as seen in the new video, without requiring laborious menu navigation or making multiple functions of those knobs confusing. Some major manufacturers could learn something from the efficiency of the design here.
- Friendly housing: Apple’s 80s-model computer designs were a model of making case designs friendly and approachable. We’ve rarely seen that “read” as well with musical instruments. Here, a combination of slick LEGO parts and clever layout get that feeling on an instrument.
- Focused utility: Part of the reason the housing and interface don’t get overwhelming is because the NXT-606 doesn’t try to do too much. It’s just a simple, sampled drum machine and not more, which makes it more drool-worthy, not less.
- Rapid prototyping and visually-developed software. I’d be a little happier with LEGO if the Mindstorms and NXT were more open, but it’s clear to see the advantages of this solution, as well. Check out the rapid, visual programming that went into the software development. There’s plenty that more open projects could learn. (This is doubly exciting after the revelation of the new AppInventor project for Android, though we may have to wait some time before we get to play with that.
The MOLECULE SYNTH is a unique musical instrument. It is like a traditional keyboard synthesizer that has been broken into its elements: speaker/amp, sound generator, and pitch control. With the MOLECULE SYNTH SET you decide how to put those elements back together using simple, color-coded, interchangeable hexagons. The MOLECULE SYNTH combines LEGO-interchangeability with Synthesizers with Physical Electronics.
I was inspired to create the MOLECULE SYNTH by experiences circuit bending toys and building my own electronic instruments, and I wanted to make something with sounds that were more wild and less predictable than what comes from traditional keyboards. I wanted an instrument that was more interesting than just pushing buttons, but I also wanted to get away from the “black box” pre-fab technologies that makes us all passive “consumers” using someone else’s designs. So I made the MOLECULE SYNTH to be an open ended, hardware-based, stand-alone musical instrument that is easy to hack & modify, that is DIY to the core, that totally rocks, sounds amazing, and is guaranteed super fun to play!
Made at ADVANCE HACKATHON 2012 in Cologne using a webcam, Python, OpenCV, OSC, MIDI and Ableton Live.
What you need: a camera, Ableton Live, and some code for analyzing the camera image and translating those events into MIDI messages that Ableton Live can turn into sound. It’s the work of Bonn, Germany-based artist/creative coder superquadratic.
There is a pretty weird group on Flickr building album covers in Lego. Tons of famous artists of all genres are represented here with their most memorable albums entirely done in Lego building blocks. As always, fun but entirely useless, hehe. Check it out here >>
Moog Minimoog – Fully Operational MIDI Interface – Demo Video Coming Soon