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Art + Music + Technology

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Dec 20, 2020

Tlacael Esparza was introduced to me by my friend Dave Hill Jr. – he pointed to Esparza’s Sensory Percussion as an example of the new electronic music instrument industry. This system (which you can check out at uses a sensitive microphone, combined with bleeding-edge machine learning software, to map a drumhead into multiple playable zones.

And with that comes flexibility and creativity!

A brief tour of the drummers that are taking advantage of the Sensory system points to individuals pushing the envelope of performative musical work, and blurs the line between percussion virtuosity and extreme sound manipulation. And it’s that kind of blurring that really defines the direction that development is moving.

Tlacael has a great story behind the creation of the software, but it also points to the fact that, beyond being entranced by getting some coding out the door, he is dedicated to making the system more artistically satisfying for its users. This means constant redefinition of the goals, and staying connected to players and their needs.

This is one of those interviews where it might really help to have some background information. Go to and run through some of the videos on the ‘blogs’ page; this will let you know what we are talking about. And don’t forget – if you want to support the podcast, or hear more from Tlacael, check out the Patreon page (


Transcription available at