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Felix's Machines
April 2, 2009 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Felix's Machines look like someone took a sledgehammer to a player piano. They thump and plink out electronic compositions, embodying Felix Thorn's concept of musical performance without a performer. Perforations is a free album of machine performances put together by Eileen Simpson and Ben White of the Open Music Archive, based on out-of-copyright piano rolls. (also available)
posted by carsonb (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I always forget this part! [Via Data is Nature]
posted by carsonb at 8:24 PM on April 2, 2009


Some of the very best music machines out there, by far.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:38 PM on April 2, 2009


Also just wanna say, some of the best machine grooves, bar none.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:41 PM on April 2, 2009


I love the quiet intensity of the music. Thanks for this!
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 8:51 PM on April 2, 2009


Physical Phantastic. Phenomenal.
posted by Mblue at 9:30 PM on April 2, 2009


This blows my mind.
posted by grobstein at 10:38 PM on April 2, 2009


This machine really shines when given the sorts of compositions humans never perform properly.

Is there a place to hear the original pieces (not the midis that are on that page, but the audio) before the looping and remixing? I am all too familiar with looping, plugin effects and remixing, but much less so with these machines.
posted by idiopath at 12:09 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing someone else doing a very simplified version of this type of thing - MIDI controlled solenoids that struck various objects. This takes it to a whole new, wonderfully musical level! Those videos being from 2007 makes me wonder how far Felix's machines have progressed. Great stuff!
posted by orme at 4:15 AM on April 3, 2009


This is really good! It's obvious that a huge amount of work and care goes into making these machines that look like they just fell out of a vat of random parts. I was particularly impressed by some of details in the "electronic compositions" link, like using the metallophone dampers as percussion, and doing mechanical simulations of glitchy electronic sounds!

My friend and music-machine collaborator Nick Yulman does mechanical music installations of similar complexity. In this example he adds pre-recorded vocals to the mechanical stuff, which I think works really well.
posted by moonmilk at 9:58 AM on April 3, 2009


How can I learn to do this kind of thing?
posted by grobstein at 10:48 AM on April 3, 2009


Are you in the Boston area, grobstein? Check out Willoughby & Baltic -- they offer classes like "robotics for artists" -- and Dorkbot Boston.
posted by moonmilk at 9:19 PM on April 3, 2009


I AM!
posted by grobstein at 9:48 PM on April 3, 2009


I WISH!

What a totally sweet hookup. Hey grobstein, hit me up in a few months when you're ready to make that Projects post. And moonmilk, know of anything like that in LA?
posted by carsonb at 9:51 PM on April 3, 2009


LA? Try Machine Project. And Dorkbot SoCal! There's a Dorkbot for almost everyone.
posted by moonmilk at 7:14 AM on April 4, 2009


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