While the world moves toward digitizing everything and making most of our interactions happen in a virtual environment, there is still something to be said for building things with your own hands. The SoundMachine from Mark Crosbie is an awesome combination of digital sounds and analog construction. The drum sequencer makes music using “notes” that are denoted on a physical plane by LEGO bricks and turned into sounds by a color-reading sensor.
Different colors of LEGO bricks denote different sounds in the hand-built sequencer. As the user manually builds beats and feeds them into the scanner unit, the music is transmitted to a laptop via USB cable and translated by two programs called Ableton Live and Processing. The programs turn the colors of the bricks into distinct beats, allowing users to actually physically place different sounds at different points of the new music piece. The results are surprisingly appealing, sounding a lot like a pro drum machine.