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Max Björverud about his musical carpet and other upcoming projects

Max Björverud describes himself as a “Digital developer of things that should exist but don’t.” His sound based projects have already been shown in several exhibition. There are some fans of his work in our team, so we were really excited to talk with him about his last and upcoming projects.

What makes you a music enthusiast?

I’m not a music enthusiast. I’m more a sound enthusiast. Music is a part of that but the sound of an apple or a tree falling in the woods could be just as entertaining as Pearl Jam singing about Jeremy. Sound is so powerful most people fail to understand how powerful it actually is. If you see a chair being dragged over the floor you know it is a chair being draged over the floor. But if you only hear the chair being dragged your mind might come up with a hundred different answers. What you ”see” then is whatever your experience have shaped you too see. Sound is subjective, emotional and hard to control. And I think it is the fact that I can’t fully control what my users experience that makes me a sound enthusiast. Everyone shape their experience and all I can do is give them guidance.

In my work I combine technology with sound to create interactive and/or generative experiences. That means Singing Tunnels, interactive floors, instruments, toys, experiments and more.

Tell us about the last project you made with HiFiBerry.

My latest project is a large musical carpet made with the Raspberry Pi 2, Arduino and the DAC+. One big carpet measuring 6 x 1.5 m with 36 pressure sensitive sensors. Think of it as a BIG musical twister you can play music on! The 36 sensors are divided into groups of 6 where each group makes up for one instrument. It is the combination of the 6 sensors in each group that choose what loop is played. With 6 buttons you get 64(26) different combinations. That means the carpet consists of 384 different loops.

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The software running the carpet is made with Pure Data, a graphical programming language for making sound. The berry card works out of the box with it so you’re good to go with your project after just a small apt-get install on your Pi.

The actually controllers are made with velostat. Velostat is a sort of plastic with variable resistance. By applying a fixed voltage on one side and measuring the output on the other side we can build thin, durable and inexpensive pressure sensors.

Watch it here.

Whats the next project you are going to build?

Oh! So many! I build things all the time and the Raspberry Pi is almost always a part of it. I am building another dance carpet, a concrete synth, a steel synth, a doorbell, an alien voice box and so the list goes on. If it is fun you have to build it. That is your duty to the world.

But to pick one project, lets pick the non metal version of my metal synth. That’s the one I have gotten the longest with. I have had this project in the pipe for several months and the prototype for it is the first project where I used HiFiBerry. I made that one with the HiFiBerry AMP and the plan is to do the same with the next one. It worked great since I could embed the speakers inside the synth without a large external amp.

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Watch it here.

For this version I’ve cut out nine pieces of steel and I’m in the process of drilling all the holes. The body will be made of oak. It will look like the prototype above but be a bit more solid. The plan is to do this one of oak, one of solid steel and one of concrete some time in the future. The setup might just be the same. An Arduino that uses capacitive sensing, a Pi with a berry for audio and two big speakers for big sound.
Follow Max Björverund on Instagram and YouTube to stay updated with his upcoming projects.

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Posted by Anne on November 22, 2016