Play a vintage synth in augmented reality as part of Google’s new virtual exhibition

Over 50 brands from 15 countries have collaborated to put the together 'Music, Makers, and Machines'

Key members of the electronic music community from across the globe have joined forces with Google Arts & Culture to create ‘Music, Makers & Machines’ – an interactive celebration of the history and legacy of electronic music.

Whilst lockdown has left the majority of the world’s clubs closed and dancefloors empty, ‘Music, Makers, and Machines’ looks to transport you to many of the clubs, institutions and studios that have helped shape the electronic scene. Over 50 brands across 15 countries collaborated on the exhibition, including museums, archives, festivals, educational establishments, industry experts and pioneers from the electronic music scene.

The free-to-use platform presents augmented reality features, over 13,000+ archived photo and video assets, 200 online exhibitions, 360° tours, 3D scans as well as bespoke editorial features delving into scenes, sounds and iconic cities. Designed for educational purposes too, Music, Makers & Machines will also come with lesson plans for schools and students for classroom or online learning.

Key highlights of the virtual exhibition:

‘AR Synth’ is an online AR/3D experiment that allows you to play five famous synthesizers from the collection of the Swiss Museum for Electronic Music Instruments (SMEM) in Augmented Reality.

The five synths include the ARP Odyssey, Moog Memorymoog, Roland CR78, Akai S900 and Fairlight CMI.

You can scan your surroundings, then drag and drop instruments to start composing. Each instrument is controlled by a 16-step sequencer and you can input your own notes creating your own signature style, or explore arrangements auto created by the system.

3D scans of 22 synthesizers lets you take an up close look at some iconic synths including the Roland TR-808, TR-909 and Jupiter 8, and AKAI MPC50. You can also view the iconic entrance door of Tresor club.

360° tours of renowned buildings are available, including the Museum of Musical Instruments (Berlin), Museum of Youth Culture (London), Nineties (Berlin) , Pierre Henry Studio (Paris) and WDR Studio for Electronic Music (Cologne).

Artwork by Dorothy

There are also numerous exhibitions including “phatmedia: Iconic Flyer Collection“, with around 10,000 digitised flyers spanning Early Rave and Drum’n’Bass to Hardcore to House.

A Brief History of Early Dubstep with Georgina Cook, Detroit Techno: The Sound House of Mirrors, How Grime Took Over the UK, and Blacktronika – exploring black innovators in electronic music, curated and with a dedicated soundtrack.

Bernie Worrell (c) Brian Diescher – Bob Moog Foundation

Brands including XL Recordings, Innervisions, Kompakt, Kitsuné, Moogseum – Bob Moog Foundation, Amsterdam Dance Event (NL) and more pulled together to create an interesting and unique experience.

“I’m proud that from today on, record labels and cultural institutions from all around the world are telling the history of electronic music on Google Arts & Culture. Learning about the music, the makers and the machines behind the tunes we love rekindles my appreciation for the movement’s impact on our lives.”

Amit Sood, Director of Google Arts & Culture

The entire Music, Makers & Machines online exhibition can be accessed on the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android or online via

Words: Eliot Harris

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