Kinetic Sculpture Made of LEGO Bricks Makes Electronic Tunes

This LEGO automaton is capable of making electronic music, which definitely is not something you get to see every day.

Electronic music is near the bottom of the list when it comes to my favorite music genres. Despite that, I can recognize genius when I see it, and this LEGO automaton is the work of one. Kinetic sculptures already are very impressive, but building one out of LEGO bricks and enabling it to create electronic music is taking things to a whole new level.

Alex Allmont, the inventor of this LEGO kinetic sculpture, works as a full-time coder and part-time arts PhD in improvisation with polyrhythm and phased rhythms. Obviously, he also is a fan of LEGO bricks and a builder, and the Play House project is a firm proof of that.

The inventor explained on Make how the Play House came to be: “For the past few years I have been experimenting with rhythm, including developing a number of Lego musical machines. For years I have been using Lego to prototype ideas, but I had started to use it as a material to put work in context. In particular, my more recent ideas work on getting lost in a youthful creative process whilst riffing off more mature themes, structures and sounds. My proposal was to develop Play House, an automaton that would churn out mesmerizing acid house — not the white-gloves-and-whistles sort of acid house, but the more spatial stuff, inspired by artists like Plastikman and Basic Channel. The plan was to play it out loud on speakers and draw the audience in to a room where they could explore the minutiae of the musical and mechanical structures.”

Furthermore, Allmont expressed his enthusiasm regarding this project, even though not everything went as planned: “In the end, the project did run over, which was stressful but a good push to get it in for the show. The stress wasn’t so bad that it wasn’t fun and the push helped me realize where I had made bad estimates. In this case I knew the deadline was tight so I shouldn’t have been so ambitious with the R&D. However, I wanted to impress, so I stretched myself too far. An unexpected bonus from this project was how much I zoned into the playlists I was putting together for research; this opened up something new musically that has changed how I write music and given me a fresh view on some existing ideas. As a wrap up, I’m working on a playlist for OCM and some new tracks for an E.P.: http://soundcloud.com/alexallmont/mind-play-house.”

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