Triggered by a remix contest from the band Radiohead, UK-based artist James Houston wired this retro orchestra in 2008 to create a mezmerizing and beautiful project and video work. It combines different retro computing devices such as:
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum – Guitars (rhythm & lead)
- Epson LX-81 Dot Matrix Printer – Drums
- HP Scanjet 3c – Bass Guitar
- Hard Drive array – Vocals & FX
They play the song “nude” from radiohead in a very musical way. The video is heavily colorgraded to give it that retro look, which fits well to the overall idea.
Based on the lyric (and alternate title) “Big Ideas: Don’t get any” I grouped together a collection of old redundant hardware, and placed them in a situation where they’re trying their best to do something that they’re not exactly designed to do, and not quite getting there.
It doesn’t sound great, as it’s not supposed to.”
One of the more old-school robotic drum projects combines Arabic instruments with (in 2010) state of the art high-tec: Wireless controlled darbukas. It was set up for the international biennale in 2010 in Israel and realized by Artist Liat Segal.
18 Darbuka drums and 36 robotic arms are controlled via wireless communication. Drum music is composed and played at a music sequencer on an iPad.
The project was presented at the Bat-Yam international biennale of landscape urbanism, September 2010, as a part of the ‘Green to Blue’ ecological street project. During the biennale, electricity generated by wind turbines and photovoltaic cells was used to operate the robotic Darbuka drums. The drums were mounted on the wind turbines columns, creating a hybrid, digital-mechanic drumming circle, a futuristic-traditional acoustic space.
The Floppotron by polish hacker SlieNT is a hugh array of 64 floppy drives, 8 hard disks and two scanners.
It uses the controls as we have seen have it before but the project shines with its mass and build-quality. Also it implements volume control which gives it much more musical possibilities than similar hacks. Percussion-like sounds are realized with salvaged hard drives which are run against the casing to make the percussion “plopp”. Electronically, everything is realized with arduinos, which are wired as one big SPI-Chain to be finally controlled from a desktop computer.
German musicians Cico Beck und Nico Sierig created their band “Joasihno” around several percussion robots and a robotic 5-tone marimba. They started they career with the well known german noise rock band “Notwist” – their new project locks nicely hacked-together as well and refers to like Four Tet or Steve Reich. Have a look:
The Music Construction Machine is a large, public, generative music box, which people can operate via a big hand crank. Rotating the crank moves various mechanisms inside the giant box, producing ever-changing melodies and rhythmic patterns, played with an electric guitar, a keyboard and a drum set. As the machine is contained in a transparent glass pavillon, people can observe and contemplate on its inner workings while cranking.
Lately I was trying to install the spotify Client on a Win7 machine. Although setting up the firewall correctly, I couldn’t tunnel spotify through the firewall. Turning the firewall of, solved the problem but left me without a firewall.
I have locked the system with strict rules in the advanced settings of the native windows firewall. Normally that works quite well, you can add rules for incoming and outgoing connections under System –> Firewall –> Advanced.
Finding out the folder for the Spotify client is also easy ($user\AppData\Roaming\Spotify) but adding the different executables to the firewall rules doens’t help. In the forums guides change between “open all the ports” and “turn off your Firewall”. Well …
What helped was to install the Windows Firewall Control. Its a freeware tool that lets you configure the internal windows firewall. After you did the changes you can uninstall the programm again.
1. Download and install the firewall control
2. Start the firewall control
3. Start Spotify
4. Go to “connections log” (bottom-left) of the firewall control
5. Click refresh (right) and look for all the spotify apps that have been blocked.
6. And now the fun part: A left click lets you unblock them.
7. Restart Spotify to see if it worked.
Read an in-depth article here
Ok we confess – this is not an actuall robot but an innovative way of triggering a piano. Andrew McPherson from Drexel university created this new instrument. It uses coils to move the strings of an existing piano and thus creating alien-like sounds.
The magnetic resonator piano is a hybrid acoustic-electronic instrument which uses electromagnets to augment a grand piano. This instrument expands the piano’s vocabulary to include infinite sustain, crescendos from silence, harmonics, and new timbres.
1953 born, french artists is Pierre Bastien one of the godfathers of music robotics. His work covers an overwhelming range of experimental music robots and sound art pieces which are a reference point for many contemporary artists.
Our friend Graham Dunning got famous with his installation “techno robot” as it triggers memories at both vinyl and sound art lovers! Graham uses different objects as well as pre-cut vinyls to create a multi layer vinyl player that plays a visible “loop”. It fits very well to this loop-focused style of electronic music and reminds us of artists like Piere Bastien.