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Music by VICE

Barcode Band Turns The Barcode Scanner Into A Musical Instrument

There’s a party at the supermarket and everyone’s invited.

by Kevin Holmes
Jul 9 2012, 1:00pm

When it comes to playing experimental musical instruments, Björk’s Biophilia tour was pretty peerless—it featured a gravity pendulum harp, fusion percussion ensembles, Tesla coils, and plenty more robotic and mechanical hybrids. But even Bjork’s taste for the unusual didn’t include a barcode scanner.

Most often found in supermarkets and grocery stores across the world, the barcode scanner’s time has come. It’s shaken off its humdrum beginnings to make a go in the heady world of synthesizers, drum machines, samplers, and sequencers. Barcode Band is Kim Yong Duk and Lee Ha Lim and they use a mini barcode reader to scan black lines to produce preprogrammed sounds, looping notes from a guitar, drums, bass, and keyboard to create an entirely new form of sampler.

It’s a much more interesting use for a scanner than tallying up your weekly shop, so perhaps supermarkets should take note and add a bit of musicality to the checkout process. Below is the Barcode Band performing live with supermarket products, creating a symphony of barcode sounds. Scan on.

[via Prosthetic Knowledge]


Barcode Band
Kim Yong Duk
Lee Ha Lim