LEGO Robots Get Their Jam On

Sunday Synth Jam: Giuseppe Acito of the Toa Mata Band let us know about his latest video, which features him and a collection of music robots, based on LEGO Bionicle figures, getting their jam on.

Here’s what he has to say about the video, Orkestrionicle:

The Orchestrions were mechanic musical instruments that were developed in Germany in the early XIX century that would automatically play music and were designed to sound like an orchestra.  These music machineries were made of a complex system of gears, pulley and levers which were operated by a large pinned cylinder or by a piano roll*. Their sound was usually produced by pipes, percussion instruments, but many orchestrions contained a piano player as well.

The 6th episode of Toa Mata Band is inspired by these amazing retro music machines, by adding to the LEGO Bionicle robotic orchestra some acoustic percussions and a vintage mono synthesizer which creates (with help of a bunch of solenoids, robot arm and a MIDI step sequencer) a fully analogue electroacoustic ensemble.

This piece is the results of a live-robotics set recording, mastered in post production.

Technical Details:

Rakit Drum synth (Tone Drumsynth), Boss HC-2 (Clap), Arturia BeatStep pro, Coron Rockaku-kun Drum synth (BD+Noise), DIY Glockenspiel, Sabian cymbals, Electro Harmonix Mini-Synthesizer (Bass Synth), Alesis Mod-Fx, TC-Electronics Hall of Fame, Korg mini Kaosspad, Mackie 1402 VLZ, Arduino UNO, Novation Launchpad, Adafruit motor shield.

8 thoughts on “LEGO Robots Get Their Jam On

  1. Is this another case of someone making a track first, then having the robots “lip-sync”?

    That legato bass line looks wrong. I think it’s fake.

    Still, it’s entertaining and cool. I’m just calling B.S.

    1. Or are you just in denial because the robots are coming for your job?

      Jokes aside, it is fun to watch and the music isn’t half bad. And if he faked it, it would be a pretty elaborate hoax, when you can get control systems set up that can do all this it would probably be more work to recreate the corresponding movements than to actually record it in real time.

    2. Hello, because I’ve lost part of the footage while recording, I’ve replace some video clips (in post production) from other takes on my music performance choice one. So you are right, some parts are not in sync although the robot arm and the EHX Minisynth are really playing, consider this kind of automations are not so accurate to be exactly the same each time. Thanks for apreciated my work! Giuseppe

      1. Thanks for explaining. Well, considering that all the other robots seem right on the money in the video, that bass synth was the only thing that looked wonky compared to the sound.

        I am really impressed that it was really being played (since it looked like it wasn’t).

        I’m sure it was a very massive amount of work to get all that going!!!

  2. Syncing the video with the audio correctly is a difficult job!

    Assuming the person in question only has one camera, to get all the different cuts, means many different takes on the video, but only one take of the audio.

    And then you need to sync up your many video takes to that one audio take. Not at all easy.

    I don’t doubt at all that live this works as it should!

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