Maker Faire New York: Adam Matta, Human Beatbox

Craft & Design Music
Maker Faire New York: Adam Matta, Human Beatbox
Adam Matta plays his “Duchampion.”

One of the coolest things I saw at Maker Faire New York was a performance by Tuvan throat singer Liron Peled and human beatbox artist Adam Matta.

Tuvan throat singing is an ancient vocal technique practiced by the Tuva people of southern Siberia. Human beatboxing, imitating percussion sounds with the voice, grew out of hip hop culture in the 1980s. The juxtaposition of styles sounds unlikely, but it was strangely euphonious.

In addition to making amazing looping and rat-a-tat beats with his voice, Adam the beatboxer created a turntable of sorts made out of a bicycle rim, magnetic tape, an old Walkman, and a pedal-activated vocal looping device that samples and repeats vocal beats that he lays down. He had it on display at Maker Faire.

The bicycle rim has twin strips of cassette tape running around it and a tape head on the fork that “scratches” as Adam moves it back and forth, turntable-style. Once he lays down a looping beat and starts scratching away, he layers on another level of his own live vocal percussion. It’s very cool.

His “Duchampion” device is an ode to Michel Duchamp’s readymade sculpture known as “Bicycle Wheel.”

“It combines my love of mountain biking, art and beatboxing into one,” Adam said.

Check it out.

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook


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