R-808.THE FIRST DRUM ROBOT THAT REPRODUCES THE DRUM SOUNDS OF THE 80S

“Sonicrobots is dedicated to robotic music instruments, autonomous tonal music machines, musical hacks and circuit bending. Music hacking is our form of anti-passiveness, through which we think the individual can have an impact on his or her environment, status and state of mind.” Moritz Simon Geist

I (Moritz Simon Geist) have been playing electronic music for several years now , and at some place I was bored of the electronic music production process nowadays, so I decided to go back to the physical roots of sound generation.

I am very proud to present the “MR-808” – a mechanic replica of the famous 1980s electronic drum machine TR-808! I am the first one to transfer the electronic sounds of the most influential electronic drum computer TR-808 into the real world and make it highly playable for a musician! If the TR-808 doesn’t mean anyhing to you: just take a look at theTR-808 Cult page

THE CONCEPT

The idea behind the installation is to highlight the origin of the sounds in a way no conventional media of electronic music production is able to. Does the laptop-artist make the sounds during a live performance or does he/she just checks the emails? Apart from that I like the idea of introducing more “error” into the music. A drum beaten by a mechanic robot arm can never be as predictable as a computer generated sound. Consequently, the mechanic character of the installation MR-808 introduces fallibility into the performance

THE ROBOT TECHNIQUES

For the installation MR-808 eleven sound of the 808 were replaced by mechanical actuators and physical tone-makers. I designed all instruments in reference to the famous sounds of the TR-808. A huge number of experiments were carried out since 2011 and a varity of instruments have been built. The instruments include: Snare, Bass drum, Hi-Hat, Carabassa, Clave, Ride, Clap, Tom (3x) and Cowbell.
Motors and solenoids were used as actuators, which are triggered by a power electronic device and an Arduino Microcontroller. The musical control is realized with MIDI, the latency and the lighting control system are implemented in MAX / MSP. You can read more about the details of the techniques here.

ROBOT VISION

What would Asimov say? The vision is to have a decent electronic pop-band where no sound is generated inside a computer, but where robots play the structures humans are not able to. We want the haptics, the error and the visual behavior of machines playing the beats and notes! We want a crowded and dirty stage with cables, machinery and lights all over, pulsating like a single heart. Drums are the base of music, with the “MR-808″ we created an awesome drum machine to start with.

Sonicrobots

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