Watch a Pink Oyster Mushroom Play Music on a Synthesizer

Ever since they’ve had the means, people have had an interest in hearing what inanimate objects have to say. Or sing for that matter. Engineers at MIT turned spider web vibrations into Philip Glass-ian scores, for example. And NASA engineers have even made images of the Milky Way into angelic music. In the video below, mycological researcher MycoLyco adds to the list of things that now make music: mushroomsk specifically pink oyster mushrooms. They can apparently “play” a modular synthesizer.

Boing Boing picked up on MycoLyco’s mushroom music, which the researcher pumps out with shocking consistency. The researcher, who grows gourmet mushrooms and connects various things to synthesizers, has even streamed live mushroom shows.

A large mushroom with many wavy caps plugged into a synthesizer underneath purple light.


In the video above MycoLyco offers up five minutes of a “flush” (or crop) of pink oyster mushrooms playing a Eurorack modular synthesizer. That is, a synthesizer that consists of separate modules with different functions. Some of which MycoLyco’s mushrooms play. Or perhaps all of them? It’s hard to tell.

MycoLyco says on YouTube that he made the music by deploying biodata sonification: a method that uses various kinds of technology to turn the biorhythms of organisms into sounds. The researcher notes that by passing a small current through the mushrooms he can pick up on their electrical resistance. He then converts those variations in resistance into signals that direct the synthesizer’s rhythm, pitch, timbre and effects parameters.

As for the actual music? Much like many edible mushrooms, it’s certainly an acquired taste. There isn’t really any rhythm or melody to speak of, let alone anything that sounds vaguely like harmonizing. It’s almost as if the mushrooms are playing interstitial music from The Twilight Zone on a loop. Or attempting to communicate with aliens on a very psychedelic frequency. Although hearing the shrooms “talk” to each other (immediately above) is kind of enthralling.

MycoLyco does say, however, that this “mushroomcore” music is good for those who just want to zen out. Apparently MycoLyco likes to eat his mushrooms after he has them make music too, which inspires mixed feelings. These mushrooms make music after all! Although they’re not all that great at it so… who has a pan?

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