Media artist turns step sequencing into wall-mounted art
Russian media artist Dmitry Morozov has previously caught our attention by using his own blood to power a synthesizer and making music from electric motors. Now he's created a monster step sequencer called Ivy that's too big for your average table top, so has been mounted to a wall in the ZKM center in Germany as part of the Open Codes exhibition.
Step sequencers are used to create repeating patterns of notes, with the ability to change note order and alter time intervals on the fly. Hardware sequencers are usually made up of a grid of buttons, the Y axis for choosing notes and the X axis for setting timing, and generally make 16 or 32 steps available to the digital musician. Morozov's monster offers up 240 steps.
Ivy has an Arduino Mega brain programmed using Max/MSP and connected to analog multiplexers (devices that take multiple inputs and channels them into one output). Steps are set or modified using 240 sliders, instead of the button grid found on many hardware sequencers, with LEDs above each slider controlled by a Teensy dev board.
Morozov says that voices (notes) in the sequence can be added or deleted simply by moving the sliders up or down, the tempo of individual parts or the whole sequence can be altered and the direction of selected steps changed in real time.
You can see and hear the bizarre sequenced chatter in the video demo below.