Teenage Engineering and Love Hultèn’s CHD-4 ‘heartbeat drum machine’ has a very special purpose

Created using a selection of Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator Modular devices, electronic instrument craftsman Love Hultèn’s CHD-4 is a drum machine with a difference.

It was created to raise awareness of congenital heart disease (CHD), one of the most common birth defects in the world, and "produces rhythms made using the echocardiograms of four children with different heart defects."

CHD affects the way the heart works and can impact a child’s quality and length of life. However, despite its prevalence, awareness of it is low.

The CHD-4 ‘heartbeat drum machine’ is designed to change that. Each child’s ECG scan revealed the shape, pace and BPM of their heartbeat, and these patterns were fed into the sequencer. They can be played together or separately, creating a unique sound that illustrates the heartbeat irregularities that each child has.

"Drum machines are defined by order - beats, pace, and rhythm,” says Love Hultèn. This machine disrupts that system, the same way life is disrupted when a child is born with congenital heart disease."

The CHD-4 was unveiled on World Heart Day (29 September) and will be visiting different creators and artists over the next few weeks. Then, on 14 February 2023 (Valentine’s Day), it will be auctioned off in aid of the Swedish Heartchild Foundation.

You can find out more about the project, and each child’s story, on the Heartbeat drum machine website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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