W A S H I N G   M A C H I N E

Abulm: Metronome



This work began as an investigation into software synthesizers and virtual instruments with the intention of creating my own. Some software developers focus on producing faithful replications of traditional instruments and classic synthesizers. The objective being to produce a digital clone that sounds like the original, but is more flexible and considerably cheaper than a hardware equivalent.

Sonic washing machine is a virtual instrument that offers the experience of playing something that is not regarded as a musical instrument, yet provides a level of control which is only possible with software. All of the sounds have been extracted from actual recordings of a regular washing cycle, using an extensive library of samples from a domestic washing machine. These sounds are layered to form a collection of patches that can be played, modified and sculpted in the same way as a synthesizer.

I have used sonic washing machine to create new music, developing custom percussive controllers to make it playable using physical devices for live work. I also produced a finished version of sonic washing machine in the format of a ‘refill’, making it available to other artists who may wish to experience using it as an instrument.

Sonic washing machine was first exhibited on 1st May 2007 with a live performance at the Surface Gallery in Nottingham. It was part of a series of works under the theme “Rules of the Game”, exploring the connection between art and play.

Through examination of audience response I have discovered a level of satisfaction through interaction with objects that generate familiar noise. Although many of the sounds have been altered beyond recognition, many still have a sense of familiarity that makes it fun to play.

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