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Chapter 10. Hammerhead Live: - Pg. 313

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle 10 Hammerhead Live: The Mechanical Drum Machine This project has resonance with me at countless levels: I've played drums for more years than I care to mention, I've programmed a ton of drum machines, ranging from the legendary Stix ST-305 Programma to the ubiquitous MPC 1000, and my abiding fondness for hammers of all ilks is well-documented. The main appeal, though, is that this is another direct assault against the dreaded office Muzak. Back in the day when I toiled with the faceless masses in "a traditional office environment," the mind-numbing aural ooze that seeped from the ceiling speakers every single second of the freaking day was enough to make me want to poke frisket knives 1 into my ears. N ow, "audience participation Muzak" would have been a different story. An instrument in every cubicle, maybe a barebones guide track pumped through the office PA system, and instantly there's a permanent floating jam session waiting to occur. Instruments come and go as cubizens take five minutes to refresh their psyches, seek out inspiration, or flush spreadsheet cobwebs from their brains. The creative and motivational potential is practically limitless, and we'd finally put a stop to loathsome Mantovanni versions of Steely Dan classics. It's a win-win scenario from any perspective. Anyway. About the name. Ask anyone who's been making music on their PC for any length of time about "Hammerhead." Chances 1 Fancy-ass name for a disposable #11 X-Acto blade in a plastic handle, are that if their experience goes further back in time than Rea- son 2.0, they'll wax eloquent about Bram Bos's legendary per- cussion sequencer application, which was released in May 1997. Intuitive, innovative, and free, it's where a lotta people got their start making beats, and is still referred to with enthusi- astic reverence by folks in the know. I've been using comput- ers in audio production since 1981, 2 and Hammerhead was, for me, the first modern-era music-making application that was actually fun to use. Hammerhead was a similar revelation to a lot of people. It's the inspiration for Hammerhead Live. Thanks, Bram. 2 I still have fond memories of running a Soundchaser system on my old Apple 2. It was a 37 note organ style keyboard connected to Mountain's Digital Audio boards, with 16 voice polyphony, drawable waveforms, and a (gasp) 16 track sequencer. Pre-midi, of course. The Mountain boards were ridiculously noisy and there were no filters, but you could stack up 16 oscillators on one voice. You only had single-note polyphony, but it was a large note when you played it. a common-place artifact in a lot of art departments for cutting frisket film. Frisket film is transparent, semi-adhesive, and incredibly useful for complex masking and stencil-making kinda stuff. If you had some, you would likely find 23 OMG!! level uses for it. 302