A MIDI Robot Percussionist and a New Album, from the Duo Electrocado

Sydney-based duo Electrocado (Bill Day + Ryan Whare) have been busy making machines to make music – and banging things. In the video above, their inventive robotic percussionist, triggered via MIDI, plays tunes and rhythms. The CP1 (Creative Project 1) uses servos to control drum sticks (chopsticks, in fact) pivoting on rods, which can then strike metal, plastic, and drum skin surfaces. Playing a G# Minor scale on a xylophone along with drums, the robot responds here to MIDI patterns sent to it by Ableton Live. You can read loads of commentary on the process of making it in a …

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multi-Monochord

Rock Robots: PAM Can Seriously Shred, Open Source MARIE Could Do Even More

The first law of musical robotics: rock hard. We’ve seen plenty of robotic musical experiments, but finding a robot that can seriously shred is another matter altogether. Meet the robotic string instrument, Poly-tangent, Automatic (multi-) Monochord – let’s just call her PAM. Built by Expressive Machines Musical Instruments, a group of University of Virginia PhD students and composers, PAM is capable of creating raucous musical performances like the one above, by composer and EMMI member Steven Kemper. Musical robotics is cool, but it also hasn’t evolved much technologically in fifty years. It’s gotten cheaper and more accessible, but the fundamental …

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Shared Inspiration: Beeple Talks Process, 3D Sound Robots, Work to Watch

We got to once again enjoy the work of Beeple aka Mike Winkelmann this week with his Instrument Video Nine, featuring a new batch of 3D sound-making robots. The work landed him on the top of Vimeo, and rightfully so. Mike now shares some of his work flow All the (wonderful, hand-rawn) pictures by Mike Winkelmann. The robots video at bottom. Tools used: Video: Cinema 4D, After Effects, Flash, Vegas, Fireworks Audio: FL Studio, Vegas What was the workflow like? A lot of people ask what came first, the music or the video. They really sort of came out of …

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Preview: Pat Metheny’s Orchestrion, Robotic Ensemble from Upcoming Album

Legendary artist Pat Metheny has gone to robotics for his next album, and you can finally see a first glimpse at what the results look like. The Orchestrion is a project by the musical robotic specialists LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots). That’s all I’ll say for now, but I definitely will be working to cover this story in more detail.

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Round-Up: Robotic Drummers, Robotic Percussion

So, your human drummer can’t bang out the elaborate breakcore beats you’ve composed, huh? Build your own robotic replacement, putting the magic of positronics into rhythm. That’s what the folks of Texas Central Positronics and the David Crowder Band have done with Steve_3po, the robotic drummer. It brings new meaning to “drum machine,” blending acoustic sound with programmed rhythms. The secret to controlling this machine with MIDI is none other than one of our favorite kits, Highly Liquid’s MIDI Decoder. For more on that side of things, see the recent story by Mike Una here on CDM: DIY MIDI In, …

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Plant-Reactive Robots Play Bamboo, Chinese Instruments at Royal Botanic Garden, Scotland

THREE PIECES sound installation from Ziggy Campbell on Vimeo. Digital music is extending more deeply into the physical world, thanks to sensors and robotics. The result: gorgeous acoustic sounds as part of the lexicon. When we last spotted Simon Kirby and the Found Electronics collective, they were taking the tangible interface out of electronic music and applying them to ambient sampled sounds out in the woods. Now, they’re talking to plants and channeling traditional Chinese instruments. Found Electronics: Three Pieces Project Page Simon writes with some of the details:

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Video: The Trons, All-Robot, Self-Playing Band

Perhaps fueled by YouTube comepetition, robotic instruments are looking more and more impressive. What I’d most like to see: a robotic battle of the bands. The latest creation comes to us from the all-robot band The Trons, based in New Zealand. They have cute names, and I bet the ‘bots are more fun to date than some, ahem, real drummers my friends have gotten involved with… The crew: Ham (vox and rhythm guitar), Wiggy (single string lead guitar), Swamp (drums), Fifi (keyboards, one hand working!) Hmmm, basically true of my keyboard playing, as well. And here’s their blurb: The Trons …

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Yellow Drum Machine Robot Creator: You, Too, Can Make Your Own Robots

If music technology has ever made you dream of autonomous musical robots, crawling around the floor making sound like a Juilliard of mechanical insect prodigies, I’ve got great news for you. While we’re on the subject of DIY electronics, here are some words of encouragement: the designer who made that fantastic drum machine robot making the rounds on the Web says he’s got a day job, and you, too, can do what he did. Yes, you. First, check out the autonomous, banging-on-stuff and sampling drummer robot pictured above, if you haven’t seen it yet: Robot Drum Machine Roams, Samples, Bangs …

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Robot Drum Machine Roams, Samples, Bangs On Stuff

This has been making the blog-o-rounds, but if you haven’t seen it, the Yellow Drum Machine is a brilliant musical robot — brilliantly musical, and brilliantly simply technologically. (There’s something to be said for elegant design.) It rolls around, looks for objects nearby, bangs on them, and samples that sound. (Hmm, it’s like a little robotic equivalent of me around my apartment.) As seen on MAKE. The specs are terrific: Cost to build: $120 Time to build: 20 hours Actuators / output devices: 6 geared motors in total, 2 speakers, sound sampler Control method: autonomous (very) CPU: Picaxe 28 Operating …

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Video: Robotic Theremins, Ready To Replace a Human Near You

Just in case mastering the subtleties of playing a Theremin isn’t hard enough for you, you’re in luck: you can master the subtleties of building a robot that has to then master the subtleties of playing the Theremin. Sarah Angliss, a human Thereminist in the UK, sends us this video of a creepy doll robot playing the Theremin. (If you’re prone to the jeebilies, you may not want to watch. Sarah writes, “I’ve posted my latest jam with Clara 2.0, the theremin playing robot doll, on YouTube. Hope you enjoy watching her talents (or lack of them).” (Technical details after …

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