Celebrated 1980s Drum Machine Becomes Mechanical Robot
There’s no doubt that robots are pretty damn cool and drum machines are pretty damn cool too. So just think what would happen if you could combine the two. Would the world implode on itself because it just couldn’t handle it? No, it wouldn’t, because Moritz Simon Geist has done just that with his MR-808 drum robot, and the world’s still here.
And it’s not just any old drum machine either, but the famed 1980s Roland TR-808. In the mechanical installation, Geist uses robotic arms, and trusty friends Arduino and Ableton, to beat actual drums so that together they replicate the capabilities of the TR-808. It even comes encased in a cabinet that mimics the shape of the machine.
Photo: Jürgen Lösel
But more than just creating a kickass installation, Geist wanted to use the machine onstage, allowing him to move away from using computer-made sounds for a live performance. He says, “The vision is to have a decent electronic pop-band where no sound is generated inside a computer. With the MR-808, we made the first step.”
The instruments that Geist used for his creation include a snare, bass drum, hi-hat, carabassa, clave, ride, clap, tom, and cowbell. You can check out the machine being used with his band, Science Fiction Children, in the vid below.