• Beat Blox is like real-life Patatap
09.04.14

Beat Blox is like real-life Patatap

The intuitive, color-soaked beat-making app Patatap is something we still think you should check out. Following in its footsteps is Beat Blox, a grad project by Swedish student Per Holmquist. His piece, created at the Beckmans College of Design, takes Patatap's tactility and fuses that with the much-vaunted (by your dad, while he looms before his chrome all-tube Marantz setup) realness of vinyl: you know, the warmth. The experience.

Beat Blox, in contrast to Patatap, acts as a sort of meatspace piano roll, the grid-based system of music making you can cue up in Logic or Fruity Loops. It's essentially like stretching and placing notes in a mosaic of pitch and duration—the Blox in Beat Blox trigger a sensor, which "reads" them as different sounds.

Combine that with three turntables and some eye-catching pastels and you're 90% of the way to a Dirty Projectors cover outfit right now. What's most interesting about Holmquist's creation is that there's no indication of what placing a block in a given spot will do. Like Patatap, it's a toy that relies on your sense of discovery. It assumes you want to explore its possibilities, so the moment when you make sense of its workings tastes all the sweeter.