Superbooth 21: SILHOUETTE is an exciting optical, interactive Synthesizer that generates audio waves from shapes, images, and video data, first look.
The Superbooth cannot survive from the big Synthesizer manufacturers alone, in terms of diversity. The innovation and the step to venture into something new often comes from the small manufacturers. Often with new synthesis options or new operating concepts that the big players don’t dare to use.
One of them is Johannes ‘Pit’ Przygodda from Germany who has developed SILHOUETTE, a Synthesizer where optical elements and audio are coming together.
Superbooth 21: SILHOUETTE
The idea is futuristic and novel. Instead of using classic waveform presets (sawtooth, sine…), SILHOUETTE invites you to transform optical shapes into musical waveforms. The concept is very based on the artistic and less on classic sound tweaking. It’s very exciting and special, yeah also experimental. So here the waveforms don’t come from circuits but from silhouettes or profiles.
SILHOUETTE consists of a lightbox, a camera, a screen, and a hardware controller on the left. In the first versions, a Mac Mini is hidden inside on which Pure Data runs. Technically, the camera captures the shape of the object, calculates, and generates a waveform from it. For example, a round bowl goes in the direction of a sine wave. With a model railroad track, you get a sawtooth. The finer the pattern, the more complex the waveforms become. Plus, you can use photo and video data as well to generate sounds.
For editing, there are 20 knobs and 21 buttons on the left side giving you full hands-on access to the parameters of the software. In addition to the exciting optical part, there are also classic synthesis areas such as filtering, effects, and modulation. The latter is pretty wild as it supports the generated waveforms as modulators. So you can use the waveforms from the optical part as a modulator. This makes very rhythmical modulations possible. Plus, you can even draw in your own shapes.
I had the chance to interview Pit at Superbooth 21.
SILHOUETTE is an utterly unique Synthesizer. For me, it is a great example of how you can continue synthesis without always doing the same thing. It’s radically different and that’s what makes it so exciting. Waveform bending, shaping… become here a completely different meaning. Definitely not a synth for the masses but one that shows us what is still possible.
The SILHOUETTE Synthesizer will be available in Q4 in a very limited custom short-run (10 units) and will cost between 3300-3800€. With more interest, more advanced processing, the price can go down in the future.
More information here: Silhouette Synthesizer