The first project from Sweden’s Teenage Engineering was an art installation in 2007 comprising 22 wooden dolls that formed a singing ensemble. The absolut choir has now inspired the creation of a smaller collection that can voice a bunch of classic songs or original creations with the help of MIDI hardware.
The Teenage Engineering Choir features eight shapely members fashioned from polished beech, each with a Bluetooth-enabled speaker module inside and a four-hour per-charge battery, though if users only have one 10-minute concert per day, it could last a month between top-ups.
The group is designed to represent “cultures and characters from across the world” and every member of the choir has its own voicing. There’s an Italian-flavored baritone, mezzo sopranos given German and Egyptian styling, a bass Cossack, an alto from the Netherlands, a Japanese tenor, a kind of Matryoshka doll contralto, and a soprano from Palestine.
The overall effect is similar to Google’s marvelous Blob Opera from 2020, though with real-world objects instead of browser-based visuals. The choir is sure to be a conversation piece at parties but at US$249 for each member you’re looking at almost $2,000 for a complete set (though some members are already shown as sold out).
Teenage Engineering has preloaded the dolls with a collection of 22 “choral classics” across a “repertoire spanning baroque to folk” to serenade the owner as a solo act or as a melodic ensemble – when two or more dolls are placed near each other, they wirelessly communicate and automatically adjust the performance accordingly. A built-in accelerometer allows for playback control with a tap, and volume adjustment by tilting a doll left or right.
Should the listener get bored with the limited number of songs programmed in, the choir can be made to sing original compositions via the company’s OP-1 field or OP-Z synthesizers, or via any Bluetooth MIDI keyboard. The video below has more.
teenage engineering choir with OP–1 field
Product page: Teenage Engineering Choir