In the era of software and boutique hardware effects, the musician or composer has an expansive palette for sound design. While digital effects rely on the software designer’s programming prowess, hardware effects require a talent for designing electronic circuitry.
With Soundtrack Box No. 1, Oslo-based new music technologist Koka Nikoladze pursues quite another approach. “Soundtrack Box No. 1 was made to produce music for a feature film,” Nikoladze explains. “Later that beautiful production was suspended and I was left with the box.”
This multi-faceted sound generator is acoustic, with sounds merely amplified by a contact microphone inside the box. When plucking metal rods, the player can make vibrations that can either be percussive or resemble the sound of stand-up bass. Another aspect of Nikoladze’s music box sounds almost like prepared piano notes. “I often have to convince my friends that the box has its own reverb and no additional effect is used,” he adds.
This isn’t the first experimental music box Nikoladze has created, last month he showed off his Beat Machine No. 2, an electromechanical programmable drum and rhythm machine. Between the two music boxes, which have a sort of retro-futurist design about them, one could conceivable write and record entire songs. Even better, this could be done without breaking the bank on expensive hardware, or gazing into a screen for hours on end.
Click here to see more of Koka Nikoladze’s work.