Category Archives: Sound

Play beats like a pro with a virtual Roland TR-909 drum machine

There’s a Roland TR 909 virtual drum machine floating around on the internet, but it can be hard to track down.

Its address is, a name that doesn’t sound anything like “drum” or “roland.” I found it through @reaktorplayer on Twitter:

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 11.06.00 AM

On the “HTML-909 Rhythm Composer” you can click on any part of the drum machine you want, selecting bass and snare drum, hi-hat, hand-claps, crashes and rides, for 16 slots. Once you select those, you can pick the tempo and pattern, then save your creation or trash it. I’m still figuring it all out, and my creations are a bunch of gibberish, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun just to mess around with.

The Roland TR 909 drum machine is pretty revered and it’s been used by artists like Aphex Twin, Phil Collins, Moby, 808 State, Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, RZA and Daft Punk.

Some have gone so far as to create a giant physical machine for really large people.

Roland 909 drum big.jpg

The virtual drum machine was created by Teemu Kallio, a software developer from Finland who lives in Berlin.

The virtual Roland drum machine was just one of his projects, and he describes it aptly: “The Roland drum machine is a legendary drum machine from the 1980s and one could say it’s a keystone of techno music. I decided to make a replica of it using HTML 5 and audio API.”

His bio shows no indication he’d ever create a kick-ass drum machine, proof that musical inspiration and creativity can be found anywhere:

I’ve graduated from University of Helsinki at 2010 where I studied Computer Science and Mathematics. I’ve been working over 7 years in IT industry and last 4 years I’ve been building web and mobile applications with HTML5 technologies.

Thank you, Teemu, for giving us the power to be our own Phil Collins.

Thanks to @reaktorplayer too.

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Filed under Demos, Drumming, How Music is Made, Music News, Sound, Techno, Uncategorized, Virtual drum machine

This man’s hearing implant turned him off to Nirvana, so he did something about it

Imagine not being able to hear Nirvana like everyone else does, even though you’re a fan. That’s what happened to Sam Swiller of Washington, D.C.sam-swiller npr cochlear

He started to lose his hearing at an early age, and music was his way to reach out and stay closer to the outside world.

Jon Hamilton of NPR Morning Edition ran a story Monday about Swiller, who loves music, but who happens to be deaf. When Swiller was in high school, he took refuge in music such as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and other alternative rock.

According to the story, he got a cochlear implant about 10 years ago, when the last few impulses of sound entered his ear.npr cochlear implant

He said the implant made it more difficult to interpret sounds and electrical impulses, which go right onto the auditory nerve. As a result, music he normally liked, such as Nirvana, was not as appealing to him as folk music.

The radio spot used Bjork’s latest album, “Vulnicura,” as an example.

So Swiller had to find a new way to interpret sounds so that he could listen and understand exactly what he wanted to again.

Listen below to the story “Deaf Jam: Experiencing music through a cochlear implant”:

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Filed under Experimental, Sound