It was back in ’98 when Messrs Diamond, Horovitz and Yauch (R.I.P.) informed us that “nothing sounds quite like an 808”, and with good reason; they’d been using Roland’s seminal drum programmer since the early 1980s to backdrop their deranged metaphorical rhymes. Times move on however, and German musician cum robot-hacker cum sonic-terrorist Moritz Simon Geist had tired of his trusty TR-808; deciding to put his experience in robotic music making to the ultimate test. Henceforth, the MR-808 was born.
Essentially a real-life, human-scale interpretation of the iconic ’80s drum machine, Geist’s MR-808 is more than just a beautiful, fascinating installation – by introducing the unpredictable nature of both real instruments and his own robot’s propensity for the imprecise, the MR-808 welcomes with open arms the natural force of error. Where programmable electronics behave consistently exact, Geist’s creation introduces a loose, unshackled freedom that brings about an entirely ‘human’ sound.
Bold, brilliant, convention-defying in every way – its prefix may have changed, but still nothing sounds quite like an 808.