Cobbling together a decent tune has gotten easier for novice musicians who have the right techy tools
. New composition apps
for the iPad streamline audio recording and editing, and mixing apps
let would-be DJs modify tracks without loads of equipment. At the same time, more established artists are veering away from these simplified approaches and seeking more innovative ways to make music that stands apart.
Grocery stores may be embracing a more forward-thinking approach
but, for some, the classic sights
of the supermarket still hold a certain appeal. Luckily for those nostalgic few, a trio made up of two designers and one director recently conceived of a way to make music using supermarket-style barcodes and scanners. The Barcode Band
first created barcodes and assigned a different sound to each, then arranged them into instrumental configurations so that the barcodes visually represent the drums or guitar their programmed sound conveys. Once scanned, the barcodes generate audio to create compositions far more advanced than the simple beeps they usually trigger at the checkout.
DJ Cooker: Turntable Kitchen
was an early harbinger of the now prevalent food-music mashup
, providing music-obsessed foodies with tunes to complement their eats—and vice versa—since 2010
. This evolving trend has since spawned an even more integrated approach to matching up meals and melodies, through designer Jinhui Kevin Li
’s DJ Cooker
. This concept product is essentially a turntable-turned-hotplate. Aspiring DJs or chefs set their pot or pan on a circular heating plate, which plays downloaded tracks while turning the cooking vessel like an LP. Using two side controllers, spinners can scratch
to their hearts’ content, or at least until it’s time for dinner.
The Listening Chair:
Not so much a musical instrument as a tool for determining what music should (and could) be, Imogen Heap
’s The Listening Chair
offers a democratic approach to songwriting. The traveling pod-like seat is equipped with a camera and microphone to capture the song-related insights of those who sit on it. Contributors record their ideas about what topics, feelings, or people are worthy subject matter for a yet-to-be-written song, and Heap uses these “song seeds” to create a track for her next album. Suggestions
so far have varied widely
, presenting Heap with a tough challenge, but the enterprising singer-songwriter has never been one to shy away from unusual approaches to creation