Sound Machines – 2011. Sound Machines was created by The Product, a Berlin-based design studio for Volkswagen. It’s a faux-record player that uses a (light? color?) sensor to read slowly rotating “records” that have been concentrically patterned. The data is thrown into a music software package that then processes it and makes beautiful beats! Cool! I really like the idea of taking old technology and remixing it into something novel, as this does well. They were *almost* there in terms of interactivity, I really love the ability to play new patterns based on where the sensor is rotated, but I feel like they could’ve gone further. I wish they had allowed visitors to generate their own records and attempt to play them, although I understand the fear of having a less musically inclined person attempt to draw their own record and have it sound like crap.
NOISY JELLY – 2012. Noisy Jelly was created by Raphaël Pluvinage and Marianne Cauvard as part of a class project at L’Ensci Les ateliers. Players mix and set their own jellies and then place them on a board to create their own jelly soundboards. Super clever use of capacitive sensors and conductivity to create audio signals, I liked that each addable color had different salt capacities as opposed to having players add salt on their own, clever way to help players *and* the computer differentiate between different instruments. The sounds they use are kind of annoying, but they totally work for jelly.
DJ JACKET – 2013. Another sound interface project! Created by Atif Ateeq, the DJ Jacket is a wearable electronic device that communicates with MAX MSP & Ableton Live to do various audio transformations such as noise additions (air horns, scratching), looping, and cross fading. I <3 wearable electronics, I think this provided an interesting way to remix music. Clothing and style are often very relevant to musical genres (rappers namedrop clothing brands all the time, country singers often talk about wearing work boots). His jacket had so many zippers though, I wish he had used some of them as sensors!