Absolute choir

According to Teenage Engineering, the collection of dolls was “inspired by teenage engineering’s first project, the absolut choir from 2007, an art installation made up of 22 wooden dolls of varying sizes...” You can find a handful of videos of the original installation still online, and while many of the designs have been faithfully carried over to this new collection, each wooden doll, made from solid Beech, now only stands about 10-inches tall, so it’s easier to crowd them onto a desk for a performance.

The Teenage Engineering wooden choir dolls photographed on a white background.

The individual doll designs are based on “different cultures and characters from across the world” and each one has a slightly different sound and synthesized vocal range. From left to right there’s Gisela (mezzo soprano), Leila (soprano), Miki (tenor), Bogdan (bass), Hatshepsut (mezzo soprano), Ivana (alto), and Carlo (baritone). While each one can perform individually through a built-in speaker, two to 16 of the dolls can be connected wirelessly over Bluetooth and perform as a full a cappella choir. Users can choose existing musical compositions for a performance, from “baroque to folk,” or play the choir live through a MIDI keyboard or the Teenage Engineering OP–1 field and OP–Z instruments.

teenage engineering choir with OP–1 field

The battery for each doll is rated at about four hours of performance. Each doll also features an accelerometer, allowing playback to be controlled by simple taps and volume adjustments to be made by tilting each doll left or right. As musical toys go, these sound most enticing with the entire collection at your disposal, but with a price tag of $249 each, that’s almost a $2,000 investment to gather them all together for a performance.