Mess With MIT’s Enormous Homemade 1970s Synthesizer | The Atlantic
Joe Paradiso, an associate professor at MIT’s Media Lab and director of the Responsive Environments group, started building this analog music synthesizer in 1973. Now, it streams music live from the MIT Museum, and users can manipulate it remotely via the web. With ten people at a time fiddling with the machine’s knobs and switches (literally — the web interface controls the synth’s motorized parts), the music often sounds a little like a chorus of baby UFOs getting rowdy. The chaos of collective control is pure fun — dial down the tempo to turn the bleeps and echoes to syrup, only to see someone dial it way up to frenetic levels again. Someone hits the “slapback drum machine” button just as you hit “growl + gliding & rumbling,” and texture builds on texture. Visit http://synth.media.mit.edu/patchwerk/ and enter a username to get in line to participate.