October 19, 2021

TR808 - 'A Journey Through Synths'


Arguably the most culturally embedded drum machine on the planet.. the 808 even has its own day in the calendar to celebrate its influence and impact on modern music! My first experience of the machine was in tracks like ‘Slow and Low’ by the Beastie Boys and ‘Needle to the Groove’ by Mantronix. I’ve only used a real one a handful of times, but find the Roland plugin just as good and more flexible for recording.

The Animation

The animation for the 808 started with figuring out which components on the machine would be interactive. In order to emphasise the punchy, sharp transients of the drums, the only way to represent this was for Arthr to jump and land on every step switch with precision to make that solid audiovisual connection. As the drum pattern extends across the entire front of the machine, getting Arthr back to the beginning to start his loop again proved challenging. Experiments with backflips, cartwheels and other martial arts moves all looked a bit forced and artificial. The solution came after reminiscing with my nan about the time we broke one of the claw machines at the arcade and so the controlled claw came to mind. The Atari CX40 inspired joystick with a button to activate the claw grip seemed like a nice way to get him back to the start, whilst also giving a nod to another iconic piece of hardware from a bygone era.

Available as a single edition 1/1 NFT: Arthr (@arthr) | Foundation

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