Sweden-based designer Love Hulten has a reputation for working across many genres. He’s known for his art in everything from video games to analog synthesizers. His most recent creation, Slagwerk 101, is a drum machine that takes on both art and music.
Slagwerk 101 is a “percussive sculpture,” which means that it consists of a series of cabinets that have a range of drums, cymbals, and other percussive instruments installed in them. There’s even a set of mannequin hands for clapping in one cabinet. Each of the instruments has a drumstick perfectly positioned to play the instrument. Solenoids trigger the drumsticks, causing the sculpture to actually play music. Using a DAW, the drum patterns can be programmed to play the music. Being a sculpture, Slagwerk 101 adds a visual element to the sound, creating an acoustic performance. The sculpture features eight segments: bass drum, tom, snare, hi-hat, crash cymbal, cowbell and tambourine, clap, and the main controller unit. Hulten demonstrated the capabilities of Slagwerk 101, running it through a variety of programs, including the Roland TR-808.
The cabinets are all individual pieces, so Slagwerk 101 can be arranged into many different configurations. They can be stacked together into a single monolith, or spread them out to cover more space. Hulten also recommends using the sculpture with a synchronized MIDI backtrack. The sculpture is designed more for the stage, but it would still make a very interesting addition to the décor of your home. It’s pretty spectacular to watch the machine beat out a rhythm. Obviously, it’s not a full orchestra when it comes to sound—it’s not even a full percussion section—but the visual element that it adds to a performance more than makes up for it. Watching the sculpture perform is a bit like watching fire—it’s mesmerising and captivating.