Sophisticated drumming is here. Practice your polyrhythmic ideas, folks. Image: Julián Rodriguez Orihuela.

DIY lovers and drum machine nuts alike should be very excited by what our friend Wesen has been up to lately. Working on his projects MidiCommand and MonoJoystick, two hackable boutique music hardware gadgets for MIDI control and joystick manipulation of MachineDrum, respectively, he’s built a powerful MIDI library integrated with the Arduino development environment.

Say what?

Well, it means three things, basically:

1. There’s an evolving library of MIDI goodness with the friendliness of the Arduino, but built to do things you need to do in the real world (as tested by Wesen’s hardware and musical needs)!

2. We have drum machines doing fantastic, tasty polyrhythms.

3. The MidiCommand MonoJoystick are going to seriously rock.

Library feature set in a nutshell – and why I’m so excited:

  • MIDI I/O via MIDI connectors or USB
  • Display to a “GUI” (read: a screen for your DIY project)
  • Tools built right into the library for MIDI sequencing, scaling, mapping, functions, LFOs … wow.
  • Works with MachineDrums
  • Tight MIDI Clock and sync – meaning you could build a DIY project and use it as a clock source for your software rig, if you like
  • External storage

Even if that means nothing to you in that you don’t have time to build your own project, this means you could benefit from kits and boutique gear that take advantage of these functions – like the brilliant hardware Wesen himself is working on. And if you have dreamed of building your own gear like this, you’ll have some powerful new tools (including hacking the Ruin & Wesen gear, leaving them to sort out the tough part sourcing and hardware design issues).

Wesen is sharing all his code, so I could imagine this evolving into something very useful for other projects. As it happens, I’ve also been watching an evolving perfect storm of fantastic, open music hardware – more on that in the coming months of 2009. (For starters, how about this evolving step sequencer?) If these projects can mature and begin to converge, I think we could see a real revolution in the gear we use for noisemaking and control, not only for DIY nerds who love the smell of solder fumes (guilty), but novices, as well.

My New Years’ Resolution: make all this as accessible to y’all as possible, regardless of your knowledge level (which means catering both to those of you who are brand new to this, as well as those of you who know way, way more than I do so you’re at least hooked up with the awesomeness).

A peek into MidiDuino with some code samples

More MidiDuino with juicier details