Man's arm turned mechanical earwig!
Actually, it’s Patrick Flanagan”s amazing horn claw controller. Flanagan is the token human in the Minneapolis based robotic percussion ensemble Jazari, and this tribal-steampunk styled maloik allows him to use arm and finger movements to control a variety of functions, leaving his other hand free to, well, drink beers I guess.
We spoke with Flanagan about his custom creations, technology and music.
Shakey: How did you come up with the design for your controller?
Flanagan: The idea for the controller grew out of dissatisfaction with the Wii Remote, which is what I had been using to control the machines. One problem with the Wii Remote was that it monopolizes three fingers just to hold the device. Imagine trying to play the piano with just your thumbs and index fingers. I thought a grid of buttons suspended under the hand, like a floating monome, would allow for more virtuosic control while still capturing gestural data like the Wii Remote. The second problem with a white, plastic Wii Remote is that it clashes with the look of the machines, which are made from wood and brass and have more of a steampunk style. I wanted a controller made from organic materials that had a kind of post-apocalyptic hunter gatherer vibe.
S: Does the controller work with a computer and software or is it generic viagra purely robotic?
F: The controller sends MIDI data representing button pushes and orientation to a laptop running Max/MSP. In Max, a number of custom Java externals parse the incoming MIDI data, record it for possible looping, and generate MIDI messages that are sent to Arduinos inside the machines.
S: Have you ever played hand drums with your hands?
F: I have zero formal percussion training and I have never played drums in the normal way. I jameshallison casino also have no training as an engineer. My background pokies online is in jazz guitar and composition. I have taught myself about the rudiments of traditional bongo and djembe playing from method books and YouTube videos, and I practice funk drum patterns on the drum kit by playing through the machines. I think it would be helpful to learn a traditional hand drum style, and I will if justin-bieber-news.info View Chart View moreSign up for our daily newsletter. I have time, but unfortunately time is in short supply at the moment.
S: What is the “artificial stupidity algorithm” you mention in your video?
F: If you”ve ever worked with sequencers, you know that deadpan MIDI with no swing or groove sounds terrible for most genres. Traditionally, DAWs offer control over a swing or groove ratio, which shifts certain rhythmic positions backwards or forwards in time. This technique works, but I knew of research by people like the KTH group, who have demonstrated that there are more factors involved in groove and micro timing than a simple ratio. To look into this, I took MIDI data that was recorded from performances by expert percussionists like Armando Borg and Clyde Stubblefield and performed a regression analysis on this data to determine which factors influenced timing deviations in their performances. I used the results of this analysis to craft an algorithm that handles micro timing in Jazari rhythms.
S: Do you have any advice for people making controllers for their hands?
F: One piece of advice I have for controller makers is to be wary of designing for big gestures. When brainstorming, it”s fun to imagine controllers that would have performers waving their arms around and leaping off of amp stacks, but musical activity often takes place at a much faster rate than can be controlled by large gestures. Designing for dexterity and precision is crucial for a controller that will influence note-level events.
S: Do you ever play with other musicians where you have to follow their tempo?
F: I have not done many collaborative performances. I”ve built some primitive tap-tempo functionality into the Max patch, but it still needs too much baby sitting for me to use a in a real group performance. I”d like to do more collaboration in the future, but for now I”m focused on building out the capabilities of my solo performances.