SoundShade is all about giving listeners a way to arrange and mix natural sounds freely. With this in mind, we wondered how would it feel to arrange soundscapes in real time and with physical blocks? To try this out, SoundShade and MashMachine conducted a little experiment.

1. The starting point

The idea was recently investigated with our friends' funky instrument, the "Mash Machine" – a perfect platform to have this sort of a bash. This illuminated table-looking device is an eye candy and an ear-catcher – it comes with an assortment of sound banks, including various melodies, bass, vocals and drums. Just like with building blocks, all loops are crafted to match each other perfectly. The magic begins when people gather around the table to create music of their own. 

Mash Machine in its party mode.

Mash Machine in its party mode.

2. The combo

For the experiment that took place at our cosy launch party, we made a slightly adjusted app interface and a set of customised controllers. In other words, we translated sounds from the SoundShade app into a custom sound bank that could be played on the Mash Machine with the hexagon shaped blocks. These block-controllers were made with a laser cutter and CNC machine, and had subtle iconography.

Hot new controllers, straight from the hearth. 

Hot new controllers, straight from the hearth. 

3. The result

According to our guest, the experiment was relaxing and curious. People leisurely created various sound worlds – from country side type of scenes with sheep bleating and rivers flowing; to an almost cinematic combination of the discreet buzz of a coffee maker and salty waves crushing against the rocks. We also noticed that arranging sounds worked as a nice ice breaker, as people started to discuss the sounds, mark their favorites and share related stories. 

All in all, the interaction felt soothing and elegant, non-intrusive, and with a personal touch. With such results, we might give the experiment another go later on. ;)

SoundShade's coffee on the table, spiced up with some relaxing wind sounds.

SoundShade's coffee on the table, spiced up with some relaxing wind sounds.

P.S. Mash Machine will have some of the SoundShade sounds also at Tallinn's Music Week. If you're in the city on 28.3.15, give it a try! 

Greetings from SoundShade's Lab – our experimental audiovisual kitchen


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