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wiimote controlled drums
February 19, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe


 
Wow. Humans are so ridiculously obsolete.

But still, I'd take a drum circle over two wiimotes any day.
posted by ropeladder at 9:44 AM on February 19, 2010


that's amazing.
(also, a drum circle with an "off" button.)
posted by sentinel chicken at 9:53 AM on February 19, 2010


The only feller h'ain't a stupid turd for usin' it is the feller what built it.
posted by clarknova at 9:54 AM on February 19, 2010


But still, I'd take a drum circle over two wiimotes any day.

But this potentially has the advantage of not reeking of patchouli.
posted by chillmost at 9:58 AM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really fucking cool though. We are living in the future.
posted by chillmost at 9:58 AM on February 19, 2010


This is very cool. I'm guessing from a comment on YT he's doing this through MAXmsp. I'd like to know more.
Most wii music stuff I've found (including junk I've done) doesn't sound much like music to me. This actually does, which make is more interesting and amazing. I am most impressed with his learned improvisation at the end of teh second link.
Are there more links somewhere?
posted by cccorlew at 10:01 AM on February 19, 2010


Like most modern technology (music making technology in particular), this simultaneously helps us deal with social isolation by making us less reliant on the help of others, and has the unintended side effect of reinforcing our social isolation by making the help of others less necessary.

How long before we start seeing technology that creates incentives for reaching out in person, instead of reinforcing our isolation by reducing the inconvenience of being physically isolated? I do not see an instant message, or a phone call, a twitter or facebook update, or an online collaborative tool as a social connection, but rather as a replacement for one.
posted by idiopath at 10:03 AM on February 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is nothing more satisfying than to wear out your fingers banging on a real drum, even in a patchouli laced drumming circle. Why does every goddamn thing have to be mediated though "whizzy" technology? idiopath is right...
posted by njohnson23 at 10:08 AM on February 19, 2010


cccorlew: "I'd like to know more. "

The general rule: work at a higher level of abstraction. Don't derive notes from the input, but degrees in a scale. Don't derive a tempo from the input, but rather a relative retardando or accelerando. Don't derive the rhythms from the input, but vary the preset rhythms based on the input.

If you want something to "sound like music", it needs to have the rules of music built in, or a skilled player. And good luck finding a musician willing to spend years or even months learning to play some wii based max patch.
posted by idiopath at 10:09 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do not see an instant message, or a phone call, a twitter or facebook update, or an online collaborative tool as a social connection, but rather as a replacement for one.

That's your opinion. Instant messaging has helped me keep in touch with folks that would be a distant memory if I had to simply see them face to face to have a "social connection". Not just keep in touch with to know what they're up to, but talk to them every day, about all kinds of things. In fact, I'd have to say a couple of old college buddies I talk to just about every day and see four or five times a year are closer to me (in terms of rapport) than all but one of my flesh-and-blood acquaintances.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:12 AM on February 19, 2010


adamdschneider: "Instant messaging has helped me keep in touch with folks"

Online tools are the entirety of my social life. I use digital tools to make music so it is easy for me to avoid learning how to collaborate in person. The only place I have conversations any more is here on metafilter. There is the old saying "the perfect is the enemy of the good". Sometimes the mediocre is the enemy of the acceptable. I can't be the only one who has become more isolated by using modern communication technologies.
posted by idiopath at 10:17 AM on February 19, 2010


Hahahahahaaaaaa... I love how that "How it works" link takes you to an explanation about how it works that is just the same as when my daughter was standing in front of me and pressed one of the buttons on her Wii-mote that triggered her dematerialization from the family room and near-immediate re-appearance on the neighbour's roof accurately costumed as a 16thC Samurai warrior. "See," she shouted across the yard (only in Japanese, but fortunately she had left me a fully functioning universal translator that she worked up the day before yesterday), "that's how it works!"

Right.
posted by Mike D at 10:37 AM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Online tools are the entirety of my social life.

While I sympathize if you are homebound, for a able bodied person - this sounds like a conscious choice.
posted by bigmusic at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2010


It looks pretty cool, but I must have missed the part in the how-to where it said you had to look as though you were receiving a proctological exam to operate it.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:40 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't be the only one who has become more isolated by using modern communication technologies.

Do you think you'd be going out there and making face to face connections with people in the absence of those technologies? I doubt I would be. I don't really make music or anything that would force me to find collaborators if I didn't have some enabling tech, but even if I did, I have to wonder if the drive to do so would overcome the social activation energy required. I was about to say that technology hasn't really helped me make any face to face social connections, but then I remembered good old Metafilter, whose meetups have me socializing with some great people once a month, a couple of whom I've seen outside meetup-related contexts.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:44 AM on February 19, 2010


The high level of abstraction afforded by this kind of use of technology allows the centralization of control of creativity and the distribution of mechanical-acoustic interaction to machines (which can be much better at it than humans). This in turn opens up new musical territory by allowing the creator to have immediate improvisational control over an enormous sonic palette. That is progress, plain and simple.

I agree that the loss of immediacy through technological mediation is lamentable. Is the loss made up for by the increase in expressive power and immediacy offered to the musician? I think it is. This is a compromise whose fruits I'm more than willing to enjoy.

I think that the future will demonstrate the power of balancing creative and mechanical tasks between humans and machines. As Kasparov notes, a chess player who is allowed to use even a very modestly powered laptop can demolish any computer opponent. It is not so much of a stretch to see an analogy to this musical example.
posted by melatonic at 10:49 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


bigmusic: "this sounds like a conscious choice"

yes, I take full responsibility for a series of choices that leave me isolated. My personal isolation was not the point I was trying to convey at all. I think that this sort of isolation is more and more common, and it is not just a question of individual choices, but also technological developments that influence the sort of lifestyle people live.

TV lead to more people spending more time inside alone. You can blame each and every TV owner for not having the self discipline to go outside and do something rather than staring at a screen, but you can also consider the unintended consequences of technologies, and let that inform the way that technologies are developed.

The problem is a social one and a technological one. There are always depressed, antisocial or agoraphobic types who just don't get out much, but I think technology that can replace in-person social contact can aggravate what would otherwise be minor or borderline cases. The solution could be technological or it could be social, but the problem is worth addressing regardless.
posted by idiopath at 10:50 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The high level of abstraction afforded by this kind of use of technology allows the centralization of control of creativity and the distribution of mechanical-acoustic interaction to machines (which can be much better at it than humans). This in turn opens up new musical territory by allowing the creator to have immediate improvisational control over an enormous sonic palette. That is progress, plain and simple.

It's one thing to hit a button, once, and have a load of music fly out of something, then hit it again and get a different string of music, all selected from a huge sonic palette, than having to coax music out of a real musical instrument. It's making ALL the decisions... Hitting a button to evoke notes is not the same as hitting a key to play A note. Hitting SHUFFLE PLAY on my iPod is the highest level of abstraction... Ahhh... progress.... Anyone with an iPod and a finger is a composer? Bogus, I calls it.
posted by njohnson23 at 11:32 AM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know all the icons in Photoshop? The scissors, the ink pot, the pencil, the brush, the pen, the magnifying glass, the cropping guides, the rubber stamp, the sponge, the finger, the circle of paper on the tip of a wire for dodging and the hand making the "o" shape for burning?

It was a time where people would need to master the use of the real tools represented in the icons. To be a good photoshopper before Photoshop you not only had to have good sensibility and know what to do, you had to train your hands for years until you could master every tool in the shop. No matter how creative, artistic or visionary you were.

Most people I ask have no idea what the icons for dodging and burning mean. I had dozens of things attached to wires, hard edged and fluffy, big and small, stiff and floppy; dozens of things with all kinds of holes in them. You had to know how to wiggle it just right, not too fast, not too slow, not too long on the same spot. Did you know you could even sharpen a spot on a picture by curling your finger and leaving a microscopic hole between the folds of skin for the light to go through? Also, no command-Z.

Now you only have to master a single tool with your hand, the mouse or tablet, and use the time in training your eye and your mind. Anyone who says this is not liberating is someone I disagree with.

Projects like these are doing the same for music.

Master the wiimote and play any percussion instrument without having to develop calluses, without the bloddy fingers and the bloody urine? Sign me up!

On the downside: Musical LOL Cats.
On the upside: Musical LOL Cats.
posted by dirty lies at 11:41 AM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


maybe it's both bogus and good art for expressing something about the world we live in...
posted by yoHighness at 11:53 AM on February 19, 2010


njohnson23: I think there is a balance that can be struck. I did the software for an interactive musical installation recently (glockenspiel hooked up to a computer hooked up to a tapestry where touching different parts of the fabric controlled the notes played). There is an art to balancing control vs. immediately satisfying results. Consider the difference between a violin and a piano for example - even a cat can play a note on a piano, but it takes much practice to get a decent tone from a violin. There is similar room for refinement with digitally controlled interfaces.

Will it be used by a performer who has practiced with it, for a passive audience? Will it be used alone in the user's living room? Will it be used one time in a public place (the situation I was composing)? Each of these situations calls for a different kind and degree of control from the user.

There is also the question of usability vs. surprise. For technology you have the principle of least surprise, where the more intuitive everything is, the more productive the user will be. But creatively speaking it is often useful to be surprised, or perturbed, by a limitation or unexpected side effect of a tool. Sometimes the ideal way to interface a device may be a sort of puzzle or game, where finding easter eggs or unplanned epiphany may be a big motivation.

Look also at something like ableton live, which does a great job at just doing what you wanted if you intend to do techno music in particular. If you want everything to be beat matched and in 4/4 time and following a simple a/b/a structure it is an increadibly productive tool - but some people prefer a tool that does not do so much of the work for them, or prefer to do things that go against ableton's grain. Then you have max/msp, which literally starts out with a blank page, and its first priority is to be flexible, allowing you to make everything exactly the way you want it, from scratch. Which means doing the conventional choice is much harder, but you discover all sorts of other possibilities much faster if your goals are unconventional.
posted by idiopath at 11:53 AM on February 19, 2010


TV lead to more people spending more time inside alone. You can blame each and every TV owner for not having the self discipline to go outside and do something rather than staring at a screen, but you can also consider the unintended consequences of technologies, and let that inform the way that technologies are developed.

Those goddamn books are at it again!
posted by Pollomacho at 12:31 PM on February 19, 2010


Awesome tech, awesome music, marred by the douchey looking guy standing in front of it. Someone tell that guy to pull a Daft Punk or Orbital and throw on a mask or cloak or something.
posted by arcolz at 12:41 PM on February 19, 2010


Douchey guy? Hm, he's just being himself. I prefer people without masks.
posted by krilli at 3:25 PM on February 19, 2010


Cute toy.

I'll be more inclined to take machine-assisted percussion seriously when I hear it play something compelling and slow.
posted by flabdablet at 4:35 PM on February 19, 2010


Awesome device. Decent performance.

I want to feed it strange midi messages.

And sync it with Dan Deacon's MIDI Piano.
posted by synthedelic at 5:14 PM on February 19, 2010


Dan Deacon's MIDI Piano

whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
posted by regicide is good for you at 5:51 PM on February 19, 2010


Yeah, well, I still beat my drum manually.
posted by Eideteker at 5:32 PM on February 22, 2010


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