Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Crankin' Rhythm

Someone needs to take this bad boy out on the road with them. An "indie blogosphere love storm" is awaiting the first musician that hauls this baby out on stage with them. So much cooler than a drum machine.


On Monday, my kids' daycare was closed. So, I took the day off and took them down to the Montshire Museum of Science for the day. We've been there a number of times and even played with this exhibit before. However, Monday was the first time this thing struck me as a cool instrument for a concert.

With more and more artists like M. Ward, Hanalei and Hotel Lights touring with acoustic guitars and drum machines, I thought this thing would be a good replacement for the drum machine. Here's how it works:

There are six plexiglass wheels connected to an axle. Each wheel has a number of holes in the sides of the wheels where you can place plastic pegs. The wheel on the far left can only hold one peg while the one one the far right holds up to eight pegs. The ones inbetween can hold up to two, three, four and six from left to right. The black knob next to the start (green) and stop (red) buttons controls the speed of the wheels. As the wheels spin, each time one of the plastic pegs pass the electric eyes in the top back of the instrument, it plays a beat. The one to the far left plays a deep bass beat while the one on the far right plays a high-pitched cymbal sound. The ones inbetween play other inbetween drum sounds.


So, by altering the pegs in the various wheels, you can create various rhythms just like a drum machine. The beats can't get as complex a drum machine but they can be complex enough to accompany an acoustic guitar and bass.

The real payoff though is the show. Watching the artist insert and remove pegs and adjust the speed of the wheels would be kind of cool. Certainly more interesting then some guy typing into a laptop. And I'm guessing you could even hook up some lights to it so that when the pegs pass the electric eye, it not only plays a beat but also emits a quick flash of light. In a dark club, that would look pretty cool with the wheels spinning around and lights flashing.

And you know the blogosphere would love it.

1 comment:

casey said...

The guys at Music Thing would be down, but it doesn't have nearly enough wires and filter knobs.