will.i.am: I’ve made a robot

will.i.am

will.i.am has created a machine that shows the link between digital and analogue music.

The musician-and-producer worked with artist Yuri Suzuki to produce Pyramidi for the Digital Revolution exhibition at the Barbican art gallery in London. ‘Pyramidi’ comprises three instruments that have been deconstructed into robotic machines that play music.

“If you’re a programmer and you’re programming your drum beat on FruityLoops or some software on your computer, for it to be played back on a drum kit, the drummer would have to play it back,” he explained to the BBC. “Here, whatever you program, the machine will pay it back just as loud, and just as real as a drummer would play it. If you were programming a piano melody, or chord progression, we have here with this piano… it’s actual [Brazilian musician] Sérgio Mendes, he played that, and now the machine is playing it back exactly how Sérgio Mendes played it.”

The Black Eyed Peas performer has always been at the forefront of new sounds. He was even asked to produce a song that could be played in Mars back in 2012. The 39-year-old believes it’s important to keep evolving music and coming up with new ideas.

“If it wasn’t for samplers and computers there wouldn’t be techno or hip-hop, so for every new form of music if there wasn’t new software there wouldn’t be techno or house or dance,” he explained. “So these new pieces of equipment bring forth a new form of music. Yuri and I dreamt up and it was an idea that we materialized new hardware, new equipment then we composed for the machines and the machines play them back analogue.”

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