Monday, January 30, 2012

Beautiful Optical Turntables Generate Spinning Rhythms

by Peter Kirn

Soundmachines from The Product on Vimeo.

Music is deeply tied up with motion; seeing that in a machine is somehow satisfying. Soundmachines, from the enigmatically-titled Berlin studio TheProduct*, is an interactive physical installation made from optical turntables. By moving the “tone arm” – really in this case an optical sensor attached to an extended mount – you can change rhythms and sound sweeps.

We’ve naturally seen many visualizations, tangible and digital, that make loops into wheels. But it’s worth noting the particular connection to a kinetic experiment by The Books’ Nick Zammuto from the film earlier this week. In fact, my one criticism of this piece is that the rhythms are so regular. Some syncopation in a machine like this would be not only pleasing, but immediately visible to the eye and therefore understandable.

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