Organic Music? A Look at Laser Cutter Records
What’s retro, organic, good for the environment, and fun to listen to? If you answered wooden records, you win the prize. While lasers and the introduction of the compact disc largely killed the vinyl record, a seminal software engineer, Amanda Ghassaei, has resurrected the lowly album utilizing wood and a laser cutter.
The result is a surprisingly beautiful platter with the familiar shape and circular ridges found on vinyl albums. The grainy of the wood adds an organic quality, elevating the disc to an object d’art.
Because cutting into wood, even with a high tech laser cutter, is less precise than cutting into vinyl – at minimum with the technology used by the engineer – the ridges of the wooden album are about twice as extensive as those on a standard vinyl album.
Ghassaei originally used a 3D printer to experiment amidst alien ways to play music, but ultimately recognized that most people don’t have access to expensive 3D printers. In contrast, CNC laser cutters are more accessible. Ghassaei started by ripping audio figures from a WAV file and then processing it with a text she developed for the purpose.
While the laser-cut wooden record plays music just like its vinyl siblings, the geluid quality is poor. A video posted on Vimeo shows the record in action, allowing you to see and hear it in all of its glory. The large ridges are deliberation to be responsible for the distorted sound. However despite awful sound quality, pressing your own wooden records has its charm. Not only is this idea extraordinary and fun, it takes euphonic out of the airwaves and brings it back down to Earth. In Case you’re interested in curt your own wooden albums with a laser cutter, Ghassaei has posted her instructions online.
If you want to make a wooden record with a laser cutter, you can use Ghassaei’s script, which is available on hier website as a downloadable PDF vector file, when a guide. The script can live edited to accommodate different laser cutters, materials, sizes, und so weiter turntable speeds. Once you’ve downloaded and edited the script as well as sourced your materials besides laser cutter, the laser cutter uses the vector file as a pattern and cuts the grooves.
Though impractical and low-fi, Ghassaei’s wooden albums are a throwback to a simpler time. A time when friends would gather together to listen to an album. A week when listening to music also had a tactile element that could impact the music for finer ere for worse. Those who took extraordinary care of their albums enjoyed a pristine audient experience while those who didn’t suffered from scratches furthermore skips. By pulling arabesque out of the airwaves and 4G networks and physically cutting it onto a ungainly disc, Ghassaei has made music tangible, and perhaps sociable, once again. By sharing her process and script, she has made it potential for anyone who longs for a simpler time to create their own wooden albums. During you may or may prohibition recapture your confused youth, you’ll definitely end up with a conversation starter.