Playing with wood and printers

0paperprinter.jpgPlayer Printer uses a combination of defunct computer hardware, open source software and electronics to reinvent a player piano.

In a similar vein to clockwork music boxes and early computers the Player Printer reads holes punched within sheets of card. The data is sent as MIDI messages to an old pc running Linux and an OS audio program called SuperCollider where it is turned into music.

Visitors are invited to make new scores for the piece by punching holes in sheets of card and feeding them through the printer. Unlike many computer based sequencers it is easy to hear the score upside down or back to front. Video of the Player Printer playing.

Created by Simon Blackmore whom you might already know through two of his previous projects: the Light Sensitive Disk Drive and the iLog which he developed together with Antony Hall.

I’ve just discovered a wild and awesome-looking piece conceived by the duo: Sound Lathe.


Combining a traditional pole lathe with custom built software, sensors and switches, Sound Lathe explores of the sonic properties of woodwork, producing audio data, saw dust, noise and chippings. Turned spindles are shaped into complex sounds such as tones, glitches and beats. At the end of the performance, the Sound Lathe will also produce a unique wooden object at the end of each performance.

Interval06 – Becoming Electric, in Manchester. Preview November 24th 6-9 until December 3rd.

More punched projects: Paper Pixel; the awesome Armada in papel picado; the Walldrobe Wearpaper garments; and Schizoporotica, a music box inspired by the old punch cards system.