Yuri Suzuki’s new online platform lets people create electronic music at home.
808303.studio is a collaboration between the Pentagram London partner, Roland, Counterpoint Studio and London’s Design Museum.
Pentagram partner Yuri Suzuki has designed an online music creation platform which recreates the techniques and sounds of a cult drum machine and synthesizer by electronic music company Roland.
808303.studio is a collaboration between Pentagram, Roland, Counterpoint Studio and the Design Museum, which is currently hosting an exhibition on electronic music.
The platform uses Roland’s “step sequencer” technique and recreates the interface and sound of of the TR-808 drum machine and TB-303 bass synthesiser.
The “step sequencer” uses rows and columns to dictate rhythmic values, note names and octaves among other musical qualities. The tempo and time signaure is decided by the rate at which you progress.
808303.studio emulates the sound of the drum machine and the bass synthesiser. People can set, record and share their own tracks on the platform.
Acid house DJ A Guy Called Gerald has helped create an instructional video to teach people how to use the platform.
The platform has been designed with accessibility in mind, Suzuki says. One of the “biggest mistakes” you can make with interfaces is overcomplicating them, he adds.
808303.studio keeps things relatively simple so that people of any age and musical ability can produce a track that sounds good, according to the designer.
“It’s targeting people who have never played an instrument before,” he says. “I wanted to show people how easy it was to make electronic music.”
People can be “scared” of musical instruments and he wanted the platform to appear approachable. That people will be able to experiment with them in their own homes will likely help, Suzuki says.
He trialled the platform with friends and says that children particularly enjoyed it, which he attributes to the younger generation growing up in a digital universe.
While it is accessible and simple, Suzuki says that the sound quality was important. Compared to a similar platform Google Chrome Music Lab, the sound is much better, according to Suzuki. There’s also the opportunity to produce more complex music tracks with 808303.studio.
Suzuki believes that lockdown has created unexpected creativity – learning an instrument and experimenting with sounds is something people can do easily at home. “Music-making is quite suited to the time we’re living in,” he says.