DADA Machines

DADA Machines are coming for you in 2016 - an exciting toolkit for making sounds. Creator Johannes Lohbihler showed the DADA kit at Music Hackspace, and soon had everyone making music.

DADA Machines - pic Terry Tyldesley

DADA Machines - plug and play

Berlin-based DADA Machines create ‘experimental sound tools for real life’, and it was exciting to see them in action.

The idea is that the DADA Machines toolkit can be combined with any physical object and enables you to explore novel ways of creating and making music.

On show at Music Hackspace was a varied selection of music-making devices ranging from motors powering hammers to hit xylophones, through to vibrating motors that rattled Lego or boxes.

Johannes Lohbihler

Johannes is expert at making automated instruments for theatre and wanted to distil that down into an easy-to-use plug and play toolkit, centred around a control unit that can be activated by almost anything with MIDI out.

He told us, “The DADA Machines toolkit lets you compose the sounds of the world around you into a unique sound creation, whether you are a professional producer or curious noisemaker, you can use the modular DADA system to use your environment to create.”

DADA Machines control unit

“The simple plug and play design creates a malleable toolkit that’s simple to set up and offers endless possibilities. DADA Machines come with a central control unit to trigger a number of actuators to play the objects and surfaces around you. You can start with a simple DADA Machine, or connect specialized units to fully express yourself”.

Music Hackspace visitors were soon putting together grooves from unlikely objects like biscuit tins, and the night finished with a full-on dance music jam. Johannes has created a way of making solenoids resonate at specific frequencies, making it possible to play melodies as well as percussive sounds on objects.

DADA Machines

The control units can be driven by a variety of tools and at Music Hackspace they were being used with a great iPad sequencing and looping app called Auxy.

As well as apps like ElasticDrums, Patterning, Fugue Machine and Koushion, you can use hardware sequencers like Arturia’s BeatStep Pro, and also keyboards, samplers, or your DAW of choice says Johannes. Websites work too - since there is now WEBMIDI, you can use online sequencers.

The Machines toolkit is ready to go into production and there is a Kickstarter coming soon, with different toolkit options, and a plan to deliver speedily. Johannes already has artists such as electronic musician Taison of Portmanteau and Lali Puna experimenting with his prototypes, and DADA Machines will be showcasing at the next Music Tech Fest.

DADA Machines playing Lego