Amazing Marble Machine Music
March 1, 2016 10:36 PM   Subscribe

 
This is just stunning. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 11:00 PM on March 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let's give it up for Rube Goldberg and His Orchestra!!! [YAAAAAY!!]
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:03 PM on March 1, 2016 [7 favorites]


The making of videos are great too.
posted by zeoslap at 11:04 PM on March 1, 2016


Anyone say "amazeballs" yet? No?

Amazeballs!
posted by jprind at 11:05 PM on March 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


This shit is amazeb— DAMMIT jprind!
posted by LMGM at 12:41 AM on March 2, 2016


I love how he left himself the bass note fretting to do
posted by thelonius at 12:43 AM on March 2, 2016


I'm enjoying the previous videos by Wintergatan, a Swedish band that has integrated various gadgets into their videos and live performances, but this is the first time they fully automated a song (and apparently laid off 3 of the 4 band members by the final performance - sigh, automation)
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:05 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


The only thing that would make this more amazeballs is if it played the Breakfast Machine song from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
posted by zachlipton at 1:14 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


damn
posted by edeezy at 1:34 AM on March 2, 2016


This isn't done in one take. All those camera angles, they each require a lens to capture the image. There aren't cameras there to capture those images in all the shots, leading me to conclude it was assembled out of a bunch of "best of" videos, and heavily edited.

I'm not saying it couldn't, or even doesn't, work, but I am saying it didn't work like this. I would like to hear it without any production work around it. I'd be a lot more impressed to see the unedited footage, rough edges and all.

(Yeah, I know, I'm spoilsport. Look, just ignore me. I'll probably go away.)
posted by JHarris at 2:00 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


The video was definitely multiple takes, but I don't know about the audio. It's hand-cranked, so I'd imagine it would be hard to keep an even tempo between takes without some kind of assistance. Without an even tempo, it would be hard to splice things together and have it all sound coherent. My guess is that they set up a bunch of different shots, but used the audio from a couple long takes, if not one continuous take. I could be wrong, though.
posted by teponaztli at 2:25 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't care how many takes that took. That was good gosh amazing.
posted by james33 at 2:39 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


all music of the future will be made through automated marble machines, human operators barely necessary
posted by yueliang at 3:33 AM on March 2, 2016


I was a little confused about the percussion. From the making-of video I saw what looked like a crash cymbal, but that was it. Are the snare and kick drums controlled by balls falling on midi triggers hooked up to a sampler off-screen? There was a brief shot of some electronics that seemed to indicate that was the case.

I really liked how the balls landed on the bass strings and bounced off out of the way. It gave a really clean and smooth timbre. I imagine a lot of that had to do with tweaking the exact right place on the string for them to land to hit a sweet spot, like you do with natural harmonics. Wasn't really thrilled about sanding off the finish of that bass to make it blend in with the rest of the wood though.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:19 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This isn't done in one take. All those camera angles, they each require a lens to capture the image. There aren't cameras there to capture those images in all the shots, leading me to conclude it was assembled out of a bunch of "best of" videos, and heavily edited.

I... I have some bad news about music videos, I'm afraid. Studio recordings too, for that matter.

Early on in the video he throws a lever marked "Snare" which makes balls start to fall into what looks like an electronic drum pad. I guess real drums would have been too bulky for the look they wanted.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:47 AM on March 2, 2016


LEGO!
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 4:49 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Are the snare and kick drums controlled by balls falling on midi triggers hooked up to a sampler off-screen?

Marbles falling on an Ikea coaster, picked up by a contact microphone, and run through a noise-gate and some light processing.
posted by effbot at 5:14 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Ah, okay, thanks. That's a lot more organic than what I assumed, and makes more sense given all the time spent making this thing only to punt and trigger some Kontakt instrument or whatever.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:23 AM on March 2, 2016


tweaking the exact right place on the string for them to land to hit a sweet spot, like you do with natural harmonics.

That's what you do when using your hands instead of marbles. The closer to the bridge (the piece where the strings are anchored to the body) you pluck, the tighter and more midrange-y (like the classic Fender Jazz Bass tone) the sound is. Attacking the string closer to the neck produces a rounder and warmer tone.
posted by thelonius at 5:45 AM on March 2, 2016


This is fascinating. When I was a kid I remember playing with a toy that was basically a simplified version of this same mechanism with ball bearings that flowed up gangways built into the back of the toy and then fell down the front playing a tune and doing various interesting things when you turned a crank. It was made out of clear plastic so you could see everything going on inside. I hadn't thought about it in years.
posted by lagomorphius at 6:14 AM on March 2, 2016


I like the clocks and rube goldbergs but this... I love this.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:31 AM on March 2, 2016


Oh shit, it's programmable and not, as I assumed, only able to play one song/set of songs a la a music box.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:33 AM on March 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


So it's a cross between a Linotype, a Jacquard loom, and a music box? Lovely!
posted by scruss at 8:00 AM on March 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


You can get these in kit form at most science museum gift shops, right?
posted by sourwookie at 8:06 AM on March 2, 2016


This is incredible. The amount of work that was involved in designing and building that thing is impressive. And now I have some new music to listen to.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2016


apparently laid off 3 of the 4 band members by the final performance - sigh, automation

"First sketch on Motorized Music Box for live use! Will play completely accurate tempowise and function as an extra musician. The idea is to be able to leave the music Box playing on its own and then all four of us can play Whatever on top of that."

(also, any synth gear heads here who can tell me what the modulin is based on?)
posted by effbot at 9:33 AM on March 2, 2016


(also, any synth gear heads here who can tell me what the modulin is based on?)

Basic Doepfer eurorack modules and an R2M ribbon controller.
posted by sonascope at 9:39 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


JHarris: “I'm not saying it couldn't, or even doesn't, work, but I am saying it didn't work like this. I would like to hear it without any production work around it. I'd be a lot more impressed to see the unedited footage, rough edges and all.”

Well, have at it, because basically everything there is all on their Youtube channel, where the guy has been steadfastly chronicling the making of this machine. Kind of surprised Youtube autoplay didn't take you right there after the video, actually. They're fun to watch, and I highly recommend the videos, even if only to see the little bits of the machine in action as it's put together.
posted by koeselitz at 9:46 AM on March 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


It's like someone saw Animusic and decided to make it real.
posted by pmdboi at 11:02 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is just the best. I love he's programming the thing with Lego technic pegs!
posted by numaner at 11:06 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is awesome, thanks for sharing.
posted by sauril at 11:55 AM on March 2, 2016


Yeah, there's a lot of video and audio editing sleight of hand here but I don't even care. The making-of videos are even more interesting and you can see it's the real deal. Sure, there's production work involved, but no more than on a typical studio rock album.
posted by speicus at 2:19 PM on March 2, 2016


If you pay attention this is a pretty good masterclass on how to get a decent kick drum sound out of pretty much anything.
posted by speicus at 2:21 PM on March 2, 2016


As soon as he stepped onscreen I yelled "OMG HE WAS IN DETEKTIVBYRAN".
posted by bibliogrrl at 4:53 PM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


So it's a cross between a Linotype, a Jacquard loom, and a music box and a pachinko machine

FTFY.
posted by acb at 5:18 PM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I feel like anybody who enjoys this would also like a barrel organ rendition of Smooth Criminal.
posted by fedward at 7:25 PM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


@bibliogrrl awesome, it's like edward scissorhands was asked to write the soundtrack for Amelie
posted by zeoslap at 8:26 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Finally got around to watching this, and I love it. Thanks for posting.

(Next, of course, he's got to run some of the sounds through the Candela Vibrophase.)
posted by soundguy99 at 9:49 PM on March 2, 2016


I take back every weary eye roll I have ever directed at the hipsters. You go, shaggy haired young people, do your thing!
posted by eggkeeper at 10:19 PM on March 2, 2016


So everyone going"there must be a lot of trickery involved", let me remind you that there's this wonderful thing called "musicians", many of which can produce long sequences of music live by tapping on buttons and strings and other controls in real time, without any need for backspace buttons or edit windows.

(As an example, here's his band, making music for 45 minutes in front of a live audience.)
posted by effbot at 1:48 AM on March 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I happen to be distantly related to this guy and have seen him briefly, on and off, since he was but a wee lad. He has been making music with oddments for many a year now. And is a super sweet guy to boot. Smarts and kindness, a lovely combo.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:20 AM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love this, but then I'm a fan of the animiusc videos that probably gave them then idea ..,
posted by Faintdreams at 11:10 AM on March 3, 2016


Btw, here's the other half of Detektivbyrån (who happens to be Martin's brother) with a music machine of his own, performing live in Stockholm. No ball bearings, and a bit more gaffer tape...

(Also, re Wintergatan: "No word on a new album, but band management tells us the plan for now is to just release songs one at a time as Martin finishes them.")
posted by effbot at 8:58 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]




Also: Marble Machine, 8-bit live jam.
posted by effbot at 1:07 PM on March 11, 2016


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