A new synth created by Oslo-based composer and artist Koka Nikoladze lets you use everyday objects to make music.
The electro-mechanical Drone Box No.1, a four-voice polyphonic synth, generates sound via rotating stepper motors that sit on top of a wooden box – controllable by MIDI. You can play with the sound by selecting and attaching everyday objects, a process Nikoladze compares to “physical mixing”.
The Drone Box No.1 has in-built pitch bending, vibrato, tremolo and “some other expressions”. It also features a “clever automatic voice management mode”, allowing users to “improvise without thinking which motor to turn”.
Koka says the next version of the synth will feature “a single button on the side, so you can create a playlist of MIDI files on an SD card” to “play music during your morning coffee, just like with any music player.”
Below is a demo video showing how the synth produces sound using a paper cup, an egg, and a metal spring. Check out Nikoladze’s site for his other creations, including his BlinkWheel step sequencer from 2017.