Love Hulten’s latest Frankenstein gadget translates biodata from real plants into music

Love Hulten Desert Songs

Love Hulten – a Sweden-based audio visual artist and all around avant grade design genius – has just unleashed the latest in a long string of must-see musical gadgets. Desert Songs is a physical synthesizer and music-making device that is essentially triggered by actual living plants. One of the most unique and weird (in the best way possible) all-in-one plant-to-MIDI synthesizer machines we’ve seen, you’ll want to head below for more details and a closer look at the new Love Hulten Desert Songs creation. 

Love Hulten Desert Songs

Many of the Love Hulten designs, including the must-see vintage DOODLESTATION music desk and the retro-style all-in-one NES console and synthesizer before that, are essentially Frankenstein synthesizers retro-fitted into gorgeously designed and custom-made consoles or cases. The Desert Songs is no exception here, but it has a special connection with nature itself and is unlike anything we have seen from the designer before.

Desert Songs leverages something known as Plantwave technology – a small device that essentially translates biorhythms from live plants or organic materials (in this case cacti) into MIDI data. As the designer puts its, “it’s not magic and the plants are not composing, it’s simply biofeedback creating true organic randomness.” Minuscule changes in electric current are created from the cacti (which are acting as a sort of variable resistor here) to deliver sparse and sporadic information to the system:

The cacti garden includes a few different specimens hooked up to probes, and outputs for individual plants can be changed as you go using patch points upfront.

This biodata is translated into MIDI data your typical DAW, controller, or synthesizer can understand as musical input and, in this case, is then sent to “a Korg NTS-1 for simple waveshaping.” from there the audio signals will be passed through the built-in Microcosm from Hologram Electronics, which can drench the audio in atmospheric effects and the like. 

Joining the waveshaping controls and audio effects options on the unit, hanging just above the unit’s garden housing, you’ll find a custom MIDI visualizer designed to mimic “chloroplasts under a microscope.”

Needless to say, anyone interested in strange musical oddities and audio experimentation will want to take a closer look at the Love Hulten Desert Songs in action below:

And here’s some additional imagery to feast your eyes on:

Get a closer look at the Love Hulten Desert Songs right here.

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