Build your own drum machine
Assembling your own battery-powered drum machine in a cardboard box with a carrying handle is a surefire way to cash in on maximum hipster points (at least in some quarters). Beatbox is a one-hour assembly kit, with buttons, amplifier, two speakers and a pile of included cables – no soldering required.
Complete with the Rhythmo Lab mobile app for phone or tablet and then you can start pounding out swinging rhythms!
Award: SEK 1,600 at Rhytmho
The return of the Elsaxophone
Did you have the pleasure of seeing the opera “Ålevangeliet” this spring? The supporting musical building block was the odd wind instrument EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), which above all Akai manufactures but also Roland with its Aerophone AE-10. The grip is like that of a normal saxophone, but you can also play clarinet, flutes like the Japanese shakuhachi, violin, cello, synthesizers – all in all 128 different sounds – either through the built-in speaker, in headphones or via a tablet or computer for further manipulation.
Product: Roland Aerophone AE-10
Award: SEK 7,623 at Amazon Sweden
Record on computer
Whatever you want to record, it needs to pass through an interface with preamplifiers that take an electric instrument or a microphone and deliver a signal that can be saved in a music program. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is used by both amateurs and professionals, and is also sold in a package with a condenser microphone, headphones, the recording software Ableton Live Lite and various plug-ins such as amplifier simulators, digital drums, synths and effects. Great for getting started with music or podcasts in a flash.
Product: Focusrite Scarlett 2in2 3rd Gen
Award: SEK 2,287 at Amazon Sweden
Clean frame space
The almost sci-fi-like instrument, the Theremin, was invented just over 100 years ago and during the 1960s and 70s could be heard in the TV series “Dark Shadows” as well as with the Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. Move your hands around the antenna and more or less mellow music ensues – a singing, whistling sound almost reminiscent of playing a saw in space. The Moog Theremini emulates the original sound with a synth, but is an affordable compromise with built-in echo effects and autotune.
Product: Moog Theremini
Award: From SEK 3,495 via Prisjakt
The favorite of symphony rockers
The mellotron took off after the Beatles’ “Strawberry fields” and could subsequently be heard in every symphonic rock song in the 1970s. At the time, a highly impractical instrument where the keys played a short magnetic tape with recorded flutes, violins or choirs. Even so, they didn’t sound like exact copies of real instruments – but cool and unique! The full-scale replica M4000D costs three times as much, but the small Mellotron Micro is a good start with its 25 keys and 100 sounds. Mantle may be purchased separately.
Product: Mellotron Micro
Award: From SEK 10,995 via Prisjakt
Point and click synth
A few notches more primitive is the Stylophone, the world’s first mass-produced synthesizer, which you play with a brass-tipped pen. Since 2020, there is a true-to-original analogue version, also in a special David Bowie model, together with a booklet with pictures, lyrics and a description of how to play different songs. When it did, Bowie used a Stylophone in “Space oddity”, and Kraftwerk in “Pocket calculator”. If you just want the sound – try the free Stylusphone Lite app.
Product: Dübreq Stylophone S-1 Analog
Award: SEK 380 at Stylophone
Squeeze the music
Skoog 2.0 is a cube with multiple surfaces to squeeze and twist to create music in an innovative way. Connect wirelessly to iPad and iPhone and put together music using the sampling app Skratch. Via usb to Mac, you can control synths in the Mac’s music program and play along when listening to your favorite music service. Also works together with Swift Playgrounds, Apple’s system that teaches programming.
Product: Skoog 2.0
Award: From SEK 2,449 via Prisjakt
The disc jockey’s helper
A more classic midi controller that is connected and powered via USB and works with most music programs on the computer, and with its 33 centimeters and weight of 450 grams easily fits in the computer bag. Hit the rubbery, backlit, touch-sensitive buttons to play rhythms or other sounds, and turn the knobs to adjust various parameters. Software for Mac and Windows included, no additional drivers required.
Product: Akai LPD8 Pad Controller
Award: SEK 644 at Amazon