Making electronic music can often be a mind-numbing experience of endlessly turning dials and pushing buttons. To make the process more interesting, and to make it appealing to aspiring musicians, Belgium-based Atonal Circuits has created a 16-step sequencer that’s programmed by simply attaching Lego bricks.
The A02 Brick Sequencer features four tracks with 16 steps on each, but instead of tiny light-up buttons indicating when samples are triggered, there are close to 100 Lego-compatible studs on the sequencer (made from unofficial Lego plates) that each function as individual light sensors. When light is visible, the steps are inactive, but when they’re covered with a 1x1 Lego block, a sample is triggered. Longer bricks can also be used to activate a series of steps if you get tired of placing single stud bricks one by one.
There’s even a row of studs that makes it easy to set in and out points using Lego bricks, if you don’t need all 16 steps, but the fun approach does come with some limitations. First of all it needs light, so installing it in an especially dark and moody studio might be problematic. It can also be fooled if the lighting in a room is pulsing or flashing, so you might need to turn off those animated LED light strips before you start composing.
The A02 Brick Sequencer is available through Tindie for $180, but you’ll need to supply your own bricks and creativity.