BeatBox, the rhythmic desktop


Karl D.D. Willis, known as a Japanese label Progressive Form leading act and for Sonasphere project with Nao Tokui, is also appreciated for realizing some innovative prototypes, as this BeatBox. As its name might suggest it’s a small box created to give voice to our desktop’s sound universe. Usually when we’re sitting at our own (home or work) desk, we’re too busy to lapse into considerations about the amount of small sounds we produce typing on the keyboard, madly moving the mouse, drawing, flipping a book or simply nervously pattering with our fingers. Willis, indeed, gives respect again to this aural background, building a tool able to transform these small noises into musical beats. BeatBox uses some contact microphones to record sound vibrations produced on a flat surface, while a quite simple software transforms them in audio samples then played back by the small box speakers. Definitely this is an unusual tool, useful to have fun with the rhythms enlivening our work stations that, despite the indifference characterizing our coexistence with them, are the real soundscape of an average working day.

Vito Campanelli