Take a musical trip down memory lane all the way back to the 1920s.
Sick of listening to the same dozen albums on repeat, or feeling stifled by the funnel of near-identical YouTube playlist rabbit holes? If you’re looking to broaden your musical horizons and combine that quest with a vintage-themed Raspberry Pi–powered project, here’s a great idea…
Alex created a ‘Radio Time Machine’ that covers 10 decades of music, from the 1920s up to the 2020s. Each decade has its own Spotify playlist, with hundreds of songs from that decade played randomly. This project with the look of a vintage radio offers a great, immersive learning experience and should throw up tonnes of musical talent you’ve never heard of.
In the comments section of their reddit post, Alex explained that replacing the screen of the vintage shell they housed the tech in was the hardest part of the build. On the screen, each decade is represented with a unique icon, from a gramophone, through to a cassette tape and the cloud. Here’s a closer look at it:
Now let’s take a look at the hardware and software it took to pull the whole project together…
- Vintage Bluetooth radio (Alex found this affordable one on Amazon)
- Raspberry Pi 4
- Arduino Nano
- 2 RGB LEDs for the dial
- 1 button (on the back) to power on/off (long press) or play the next track (short press)
The Raspberry Pi 4 audio output is connected to the auxiliary input on the radio (3.5mm jack).
- Mopidy library (Spotify)
- Custom NodeJS app with JohnnyFive library to read the button and potentiometer values, trigger the LEDs via the Arduino, and load the relevant playlists with Mopidy
Take a look at the video on reddit to hear the Radio Time Machine in action. The added detail of the white noise that sounds as the dial is turned to switch between decades is especially cool.
How do you find ten decades of music?
Alex even went to the trouble of sharing each decade’s playlist in the comments of their original reddit post.
Here you go:
Comment below to tell us which decade sounds the coolest to you. We’re nineties kids ourselves!