Magnetotron is an armonica mellotron mashup

[Michael] is a huge fan of old media formats. There’s something special about quarter-inch thick 78s, fragile blue cylinders holding music, and thin strips of mylar that preserve the human voice. He’s had an idea for a tape-based instrument for a while, and now that the Magnetotron is complete, we’re in awe of this glass harmonica and Mellotron mashup.

The Magnetotron is a large rotating cylinder that has dozens of strips of audio tape attached to it. The cylinder rotates with the help of a small motor. As the strips of tape rotate in front of him, [Michael] presses two tape heads up to the instrument, making some sort of sound.

Each strip of tape contains a recording of one note, like the venerable Mellotron. Instead of physical keys, the Magnetotron is played in a much more tactile fashion like the glass harmonica. The output of the Magnetotron is interesting with a whole bunch of wow and flutter. Check out the demo of [Michael] playing his instrument at NIME in Brooklyn after the break.

[Read more...]

Analog tape playing glove

The magnetic tape found in audio cassettes can be fun to play with. This installation, called Signal to Noise, relocates the heads from cassette players to the tips of your fingers in the form of a glove. An accompanying wall has vertical strips of tape which you run your fingertips along in order to play back the stored audio. Get the speed right and you can make out what’s on the tapes. Move back and forth and you’ll be scratching like the worst of DJs.

If this were teamed up with a Melloman it would make for quite a performance. See and hear this curious device after the break.

[Read more...]