Anyone can clone an 808. Not anyone can make a machine inspired by the 808 out of repurposed lighter springs, motors, and … oh yeah, flaming butane gas. Koka Nikoladze’s beat machines are going viral, and their demented, quirky sound tells you why.
So, sorry NAMM – this may be the coolest gear we’ll see in January 2019.
And not only is the concept novel, but his wacky tunes make for some toe tapping, eyebrow-raising good times, too.
I always wanted to build something using fire. Here is my first attempt. The small prototype works.
Releasing tiny bursts of butane gas on an open fire source sounds pretty much like a kick. By adjusting the distance and the pressure, it can get very close to 808. This is just a tiny model. I’m going to build a BIG Koka’s Fire Kick unit for live shows.
The rest is quite simple, I used a brass tube as a hat and some springs extracted from empty lighters, in a wooden box — as a snare; oh yes, and a DC motor that I managed to bring back to life by rewinding coils.
I’m dancing closer to the idea of setting up my first proper dance music production. Not necessarily the type of music from Beat Machine demonstration videos, much more complex and sophisti.. .. well, never mind. We’ll see what happens. I’ve already discussed this with an army of hyper-incredible artists willing to collaborate.
Only if I manage to get hold of Snoop Dogg in addition, maybe, some day :D. Ok, joking aside, wouldn’t it be amazingly surreal? Snoop with a small tight beat machine and a symphonic orchestra behind. I’d play the bass, and dance.
We’re seeing a growing trend in not analog, not digital, but kinetic – mechanical – physical instruments. It’s still tech – it’s just back to doing things with mechanics and physics, perhaps still informed by the lessons of code and circuits. On the fire side, of course, this is also kind of a miniaturized take on pyrophones, flame-powered organs and other instruments.
And while obviously part of the battle here is to be one step ahead of everyone else on the quirk factor, topping social media, I suspect there’s also potential in a scene around this sort of music. Physical music fests? We’ll see.
Previously on these lines:
— which over the years has led to this:
Oh and – the pyrophone built by musical robotics pioneer Eric Singer was one of the first ever stories on this site: