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Jazari “Quick Minute” (Arduino Robot Drumming)

The musician and robotic instrument maker Patrick Flanagan of the “part human, mostly robot, electro band” called Jazari shared part of his latest EP “The Human Element” that he created using a cluster of custom-built instruments and “robotic performers.” He shared this story with us:

I bought a lot of illuminated, square arcade buttons and a number of other components from Adafruit about a year ago. Thanks again for the awesome customer service! Those sexy red arcade buttons are the crucial component in my Meganome MIDI controller, which I used to record my debut EP The Human Element. You can see the controller and buttons in action in this video for the track Quick Minute.

And here are details from his video description for “Quick Minute“:

This original mix consists of an improvised robot djembe solo with beats inspired by footwork, drum n bass, and trap music. It’s available as a FREE download What you hear was taped live at the video shoot and mixed later in Pro Tools.

I practice in a studio near a lot of trap producers, and the track grew out of playing along with their crazy hi hats and 808 basses. The instruments are djembe, bongos, cabasa, hi hat, and snare, which might be obvious. What probably is not obvious is that the bass sound you hear (you do have a sub, don’t you?) is the bottom of the djembe, miked with a kick mic. It has a booming, resonant sound that sounds absolutely massive on a good system.

All of the machines are controlled by Arduino microcontrollers, which receive MIDI signals sent from a laptop running MAX/MSP. The main controller is an 84 LED button monster I call the Meganome. I use it for drum machines and synths. did a write-up on it.

You can read my liner notes to the free EP The Human Element on my blog at And you can follow me on social media for robot music news, life coaching, DJ trolling, and music theory jokes.

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