Love Hultén's marvelously complex mini marble-dropping music machine
Remember Martin Molin's Marble Machine X, the mechanical, musical Rube Goldberg machine that uses some 3,000 components and a hand-turned crank to drop marbles in sequences onto acoustic and electric surfaces? A ridiculously complex way to make music, but then, ridiculous complexity is kind of the point with these machines.
Molin has put together a band under the name Wintergatan, featuring some other similar contraptions he's built as well as live musicians, and is working on building a roadworthy version of the big Marble Machine to take on tour.
Well, much like Molin's fellow Swedes Abba, the Marble Machine now has a tribute act. Designer Love Hultén has miniaturized the key elements of Molin's device, including the clever programming wheel, and built a tiny version he's calling the Marble Machine XS. It's Wintergatan for the kindergarten.
The dimensions are 50 x 20 x 20 cm (19.7 x 7.9 x 7.9 in), so it's more of a finger-operated gadget than Molin's, which requires a fair bit of hip and shoulder. You don't need to physically turn the crank, either; Hultén has built in a little DC motor, with a speed control and a battery pack.
Nor does it have any acoustic elements, other than the sound of the marbles plunking around. The marbles drop onto pads that trigger an Axoloti Core synthesizer, and a built-in speaker projects the sound. There are 16 notes available in total, and 10 sound presets, and you can program as much as 128 bars of music.
Why build something like this? Well, because it's kooky and weird and mesmerizing, even if it sounds pretty ordinary, and the mechanical complexity of the thing must've seemed like an entertaining problem that would take considerable genius to solve. At this stage, it doesn't look like Hultén plans to sell the thing, so it's purely for your amusement. Check out a video below, or geek out on cogs in the gallery.
Source: Love Holt´en