Whether you self identify as a musician or not, the idea of banging on everything around you and calling it art is enticing. But now, rather than having a Freudian return to childhood with pots and pans, you can create your own instruments with an open toolkit even your snobby audiophile friends will be interested by. Dadamachines is a project started by Johannes Lohbihler, aiming to make tinkering with nontraditional instruments more accessible and even more fun.
The currently Kickstarting Automat Toolkit blends digital signal—via music program, app or midi instrument—with physical controllers to make percussive sound. The toolkit offers the central Automat control box with USB and midi input and up to 12 outputs for DC motor driven hitters. These little hitters are also included, and come with adapters for placement on acoustically interesting surfaces and mic stands, making experimenting even easier.
The Dadamachine ethos is pointedly experimental, so the kit is fittingly compatible with most common audio programs, and intentionally friendly to hacking and arduino adaptation.
The project started over three years ago, and has been tested and shared with musicians all over the world. The system has been integrated into stage plays and recording sessions, but it also offers simple hands-on fun for musical n00bs.
Nontraditional musicality may have ancient roots, but tools like this might help share the creative spark in an often hands-off digital era. Dadamachines might be just the thing for young and previously unmusical composers.