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Teenage Engineering Turns the Google Pixel Into a Graphical Music Maker

06.28.22 | By
Teenage Engineering Turns the Google Pixel Into a Graphical Music Maker

If you’ve always dreamt of owning a Teenage Engineering OP-1 Field synth, but balked at its prohibitive price, you might be interested in checking out Google’s Pocket Operator for Pixel, a free music making app exclusively released for their Pixel devices in the Play Store.

The app’s graphical system is reminiscent of Ray and Charles Eames’ body of work, characterized by the use of playtime-style combinations of colors, shapes, and symbols to simplify complex tasks into digestible bits welcoming experimentation.

Google worked with Stockholm-based Teenage Engineering to utilize TensorFlow technology – aka machine learning – to simplify music sequencing into a playful and nearly all-graphical experience using the Pixel’s video capturing capabilities as the sample source. Upload a video clip into the Pocket Operator for Pixel and the AI extrapolates distinct samples and sorts them into a 4×4 grid to mix and add effects (up to 4 tracks and 16 beat patterns), with the video accompanying at the top.

Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 all-in-one portable synthesizer is coveted equally for its Dieter Rams-like design as it is for its music making capabilities; the hardware design’s influence upon the Pocket Operator for Pixel app is obvious.

While its actual music making capabilities may not be professional grade, as a musical explorative technology, Pocket Operator for Pixel delivers the aural equivalent of DALL·E 2 or MidJourney: pure fun through experimentation.

Download Pocket Operate for Pixel for free at the Google Play Store, or check out the in-depth video walk-through below.

Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.