Analogue Lego Machine Creates Driving House Beats

Published On 03/06/2015 | News

Much like acid, two of the world’s great inventions, house music and lego, have combined to blow your mind.

A full on Lego acid music machine, dubbed Play House, is what programmer and artist Alex Allmont has made using Lego Technic to create an incredibly complex analogue kinetic sculpture that plays minimal house music.

Play House is a desk-sized installation that produces sounds using complex interconnecting systems.

In it, melodies are generated by a dropped basketball that ends in one out of the four slots, after colliding with various pegs down its route. The melodies are based on a sequencer that emulates a classic acid house synthesizer, the Roland TB-303. The percussion is made using an old prototype of Allmont’s, named Clunky Drummer, which mimics another classic Roland, the TR-808 drum machine.

To keep the music in time, a main sequencer had to be constructed; Alex explains why and how he made the decisions to come up with the final product:

I decided instead to use 2/4 with quarter notes, partly because going from 16 to 8 saves a lot of space and complexity, but also because it would generate a melody that repeats on every other beat, and I found this ideal for the hypnotic music I was producing. The construction is very simple because Lego has a 16-tooth gear, so to make an 8-step sequencer you need a central shaft with 8 of these gears on it and from each gear you drive another 16 tooth gear, each being rotated two teeth on from the last. Each driven gear is 1/8th out of phase with the last, and if you put little tappers under each gear and you have a sequencer that taps out 1/8th notes.

 

Source: The Creators Project

Click here to scroll down to the comments

About The Author

Steve comes to Amsterdam by way of Brooklyn, Connecticut, Mumbai, and Tokyo. He researches media culture at UvA, while already holding degrees from UCONN (CT) and The New School (NYC). Aside from DHA, Steve is the Senior Editor for cinema platform IndieNYC.com, and writes on issues relating to film, culture, politics & electronic music. Every so often he also dabbles in photography and filmmaking.