Weekend Fun: Absolut Machines

Absolut Vodka is behind a new website that asks:
In an Absolut world, could machines be creative?

Musicians already know the answer, but this brand exercise fuses the worlds of robotics, music and the Internet to create a dynamic sonic environment that only a networked hyper-reality can provide…

The DOS computer intro may be slightly off-target, but surrender to the retro interface, and prepare yourself to interact with either the Quartet or the Choir. (In our tests, the Choir was inoperable, but the Quartet is really where all the action is anyway, so hit that first. —Ed.)

The Quartet is the brainchild of MIT’s Dan Paluska and Jeff Lieberman. Simply input a few notes on a one octave keyboard, we geeked out with the first few notes of the Star Wars theme, and the three musical robots, a marimba, chromatically tuned wine glasses, which are rubbed by chemically-treated suede, and a few choice percussion instruments, “jam” to your riff on the spot.

The marimba is where most of the noticeable action occurs, since the location, 186 Orchard Street in New York City’s Lower East Side, is very poorly lit — a serious negative. The marimba is sounded by rubber balls launched in sequence by miniature catapults. The white balls arc 5 feet in the air, hit their respective notes and then are returned to the launch bank via ramps that are reminiscent of a bowling alley.

The site then claims to send you a video of your performance, but we never received anything in our inbox. However, that’s not the point. The whole idea is to watch the machines improvise in realtime, which is why you’ll find users queuing up again and again to try new ideas.

You have until April 30th to try out Absolut Machines before the experiment expires. More information on Absolut Machines.

Author: FutureMusic

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