Music

Swedish retro designer turns MIDI percussion into boxy art

Swedish retro designer turns M...
MIDI signals from a laptop are converted to commands that cause the drumsticks to bash out a rhythm in real time
MIDI signals from a laptop are converted to commands that cause the drumsticks to bash out a rhythm in real time
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Slagwerk-101 is made up of eight units, seven acoustic instruments and one control box
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Slagwerk-101 is made up of eight units, seven acoustic instruments and one control box
MIDI signals from a laptop are converted to commands that cause the drumsticks to bash out a rhythm in real time
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MIDI signals from a laptop are converted to commands that cause the drumsticks to bash out a rhythm in real time
The drumsticks are mounted to MIDI-controlled solenoids
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The drumsticks are mounted to MIDI-controlled solenoids
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Created as a visual element for stage performances, the latest project from Love Hultén is an audiovisual sculpture called Slagwerk-101 – a set of percussion instruments driven by MIDI-controlled solenoids.

We've featured a good number of works by Hultén over the years, many of which have been retro gaming devices and computers (but let's not forget Mr Typo). But the artist and designer has also turned his talents to music machines on occasion, and such is the case with the Slagwerk-101.

Instead of a human pounding out a beat or crashing a cymbal, rhythms are programmed into MIDI software which sends signals to custom control boards inside the instrument-packing cabinets, where they're converted to commands for an array of electromagnetic solenoids in real time. Each solenoid has a drumstick or pad attached to it, and these hit the acoustic instruments in the sculpture to match the percussive backing for synchronized MIDI music in real time, though the sculpture can be used on its own.

As we've come to expect from Hultén, this is an attractive build. The boxes containing the instruments – kick drum, tom, snare, hi-hat, crash cymbal, cowbell/tambourine, and hand clap – can be arranged in different configurations, including the tower seen in the lead image for cramped stage areas, or spread out when there's more room.

While Hultén does put some of his works up for sale, this project doesn't look to be one of them. The video below has more.

SLAGWERK-101

Source: Love Hultén

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2 comments
Username
The sound of the hands clapping is clearly not from those hands clapping. The very limited motion of the strikers also leaves me skeptical.
Steve Jones
This appears to be a visual piece only.
Many of the sounds are very synthetic.
If it's truly an acoustic percussion instrument, how does it have different sound-sets for TRs 606, 707, 909 etc?