Tech by VICE

This Beat Box Machine Is for DJs, Rappers, and People Who Can't Beat Box

Let the beat drop.

by Madison Margolin
Aug 15 2016, 3:31pm

Can't beatbox like Doug E. Fresh? No problem. This machine's got your back.

The "Beat Machine No. 2" is the second version of a beatbox machine created by Koka Nikoladze, a Georgian violinist, composer, and technology developer based in Norway. As a PhD research conductor at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Nikoladze meditates on the question of "how to hack performers." The self-described "post-composer" and "creative designer in music," composes operas in addition to musical instruments like the beat machine to help make music, performances, or art installations.

Nikoladze began making beat machines for fun and relaxation "after doing a lot of theoretical work" on his PhD project. "Beat Machine No. 2", which looks like a wooden box adorned all sorts of widgets, is intended for rappers and DJs to use. More than just making noise with a few metal springs, the box is replete with electronics on the inside, but the sound remains entirely acoustic.

The literal beat box is made with linear actuators, or machine components that create motion along a straight path. "I was planning to make it with different materials, but some of them did not work," said Nikoladze. "So for example I had to use a soldering iron stand as a bass drum. You can program various rhythmic patterns and switch between them very easily. The idea is simple, different objects play roles of a bass drum, snare, hat, etc."

The "Beat Machine No. 2" surged in popularity when it was featured on the Facebook page, "Mesmerizing Instruments and Sounds", with one fan even drawing a connection to the sounds of Aphex Twin.

Sadly, for the beatbox challenged, the "Beat Machine No. 2" is not for sale.

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