Wii Remotes have already proven useful for breaking flat-screen televisions and playing awful games, but now they’re being used to generate musical algorithms too.
Forget Wii Remote controlled science, musician Patrick Flanagan is a self-described cyborg percussionist that uses Wii Remotes to control his unique brand of electronic music. Dubbed Jazari, a name inspired by the builder of the world’s first robot musicians in the 13th century, Flanagan’s band is a series of acoustic drum machines he created himself that play different kinds of notes depending on his use of the popular Nintendo Wii motion controllers.
Flanagan is no dumb-dumb, having studied music in both the U.S. and Germany. After his algorithmic-based electronic music failed to appeal to audiences that didn’t understand how he was creating it while sitting behind a computer onstage, he went back to the drawing board and came up with the idea of Wii Remote controlled percussion.
With Jazari, Flanagan performs by improvising through his acoustic machines using two Wii Remotes which send signals to his drums to make them emit different tones. These tones are further altered by tilting or twisting the Remotes. As described in the video, what Flanagan can do with Jazari is incredibly complex once he gets into the alteration of repeated loops, obviously stemming from his knowledge of algorithmic music, and evidently improved by the use of the Wii MotionPlus.
Each Wii Remote’s Bluetooth signal goes through Flanagan’s MacBook Pro, interpreting what the controllers are doing and passing the information along. All in all, Jazari is quite amazing, and proves that the Wii might be plagued with a ton of really crappy games, but still comes with the boon of Nintendo’s cheap technology that can be used for more than getting a high score in Carnival Games.
Here’s a full performance: