He’s The Operator Of His Pocket Arduino

The band Kraftwerk hit the music scene with its unique electronic sound in the 70s in Germany, opening the door for the electronic music revolution of the following decade. If you’re not familiar with the band, they often had songs with a technology theme as well, and thanks to modern microcontroller technology it’s possible to replicate the Kraftwerk sound with microcontrollers as [Steven] aka [Marquis de Geek] demonstrates in his melodic build.

While the music is played on a Stylophone and a Korg synthesizer, it is fed through five separate Arduinos, four of which have various synths and looping samplers installed on them (and presumably represent each of the four members of Kraftwerk). Samplers like this allow pieces of music to be repeated continuously once recorded, which means that [Steven] can play entire songs on his own. The fifth Arduino functions as a controller, handling MIDI and pattern sequencing over I2C, and everything is finally channeled through a homemade mixer.

[Marquis] also dressed in Kraftwerk-appropriate attire for the video demonstration below, which really sells the tribute to the famous and groundbreaking band. While it’s a great build in its own right and is a great recreation of the Kraftwerk sound, we can think of one more way to really put this project over the top — a Kraftwerk-inspired LED tie.

6 thoughts on “He’s The Operator Of His Pocket Arduino

    1. “Samplers like this allow pieces of music to be repeated continuously once recorded”

      Sequencers, not Samplers. One of the Arduinos is acting as a MIDI master clock and pattern sequencer – it receives the MIDI performance data from the keyboard and sends a loop of the MIDI out to one of the ‘instrument’ Arduinos, which then loops that sequence through its own software instrument, at the tempo set by the master clock, until it’s told otherwise. Three of them are Mozzi soft synths and the fourth is a sampler playing back the drum samples. I could be wrong, but I very much doubt he’d be able to do this if he was live recording audio with samplers built on Arduino as the quote suggests.

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