by Robin Vincent | 5,0 / 5,0 | Approximate reading time: 2 Minutes
Wintergatan Marble Machine X

Wintergatan Marble Machine X  ·  Source: Wintergatan


The internet was set alight by Wintergatan’s original Marble Machine back in March 2016. Since then designer Martin Molin has been working towards his next project entitled Marble Machine X. The first videos of the Machine X in action have just emerged and if you haven’t been following the development then this is going to blow you away.


Marble Machine X

Martin has been posting videos every week on the development of this machine. Video number 1 was posted 2 years ago and now he’s up to video number 87. A couple of weeks ago just before taking a well-earned break, he posted a first run of the extraordinary Marble Machine X playing the drum section.

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It’s an amazing thing but also raises some questions. Firstly, where is the other music coming from? And secondly is this whole machine designed to produce just three sounds – kick, snare and hi-hat? The answer to the first bit is that I have no idea but the answer to the second one is that Machine X is designed to have a number of different instruments including a vibraphone and bass guitar like the original. This is all about taking the original idea and refining it, developing it and making it even more awesome. All we are seeing here is the much-improved rhythm section.

Martin has had a large team of people working on the project which has resulted in a beautifully designed machine that takes the concept of a hand-cranked barrel organ to another level.

There was something adorable about the original marble machine. Something about its dodginess, how it felt like it was about to fall apart at any moment and to perform with it was to ultimately destroy it. Some of that hand-built charm and danger is somehow lost in the engineering prowess and smooth running of the Marble Machine X. It’s undoubtedly a better machine but it some twisted and ridiculous way it’s almost too perfect – that’s not intended to criticise, I’m just sharing my first reactions. The journey to this point has been quite an adventure with so many issues and problems to solve. The result is something quite beautiful and I can only marvel at how perfectly the beat emerges from the machine. You can sense the hours of toil with every marble.

Can’t wait to see the finished performance.

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Wintergatan Marble Machine X

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5 responses to “Wintergatan Marble Machine X – the ultimate mechanical groove box”

    Signal Slammer says:

    this is very cool! well designed

    Dan says:

    Very cool! However, the drums seem to be samples, not recorded acoustically from the instrument.

      Robin says:

      No, there’s a microphone right up against the drums recording the sound. If you check out the video before this one in the series you’ll see him testing the kick drum mechanism. It’s not samples, it just sounds remarkably good.

        Nathaniel Keck says:

        Technically they are samples, but the drum heads are equipped with triggers similar to an electronic drum set. The sounds are true to contact, so when the marble hits the drum head, the sample is triggered at that precise moment. I’m just blown away at the precision!

    He seems more excited about the poster than the machine itself.

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