No, 2020 isn’t done with deeply unnerving technology just yet. The artist Love Hulten has built VOC-25, a vocal synthesizer where each of the keys is represented by a set of plastic teeth. Yes, it’s just as freaky in action as it looks. Play a piece and you’ll watch the teeth clatter as they form a digital choir. It’s inspired by inventor Simone Giertz’s quest to make an instrument out of teeth, but somehow manages to be more unsettling.
It’s very much a functional device. You load audio samples into the console through USB, while an Axoloti board translates MIDI input to DC currents through control boards inside the “monitor” of the PC-like device. Custom boards help direct your strange chorus. It’s a fully self-contained machine that can use built-in speakers to play back your output, although you can use a mono output to avoid unwanted noise.
Like Love Hulten’s other work, this is a one-off concept that won’t reach stores (not that we’d expect many to have the courage to buy it). Look at it another way, though — it’s proof synths can be conversation pieces in their own right.