"You can't really imagine music without technology."
Artist, Producer, Performer, Composer
In August of 2016 I was named the Artist in Residence at the ExCITe Center at Drexel University, a multi-disciplinary center that explores how art and academic research interact. Funded by the Knight Foundation, the goal was to have an artist embedded in an academic environment to see if it would lead to more fruitful technology. I worked closely with engineer Jeff Gregorio to explore music and technology.
We became fascinated with using magnets to augment musical instruments. Turns out that by attaching a piece of steel foil to a drumhead you can use an electro-magnet to resonate it. That magnet can resonate at any frequency you want, which means you can send tones through a drum—essentially turning it into a monophonic synthesizer.
We decided to take this to the next level and bought 16 drums and wireless networked them together, creating a spatially distributed array.
We decided to call it Drumhenge, because that's a hilarious name. We debuted it for a few hundred people at Drexel in the summer of 2017. The above video shows you more of how it works and what it can do. Jeff and I were named 'Makers of the Year' at that year's Philly Geek Awards as a result of our work.