Drone Music

Quartet for flying musical drones, robot percussion, and humans.

Drone Music examines themes of surveillance, shortwave radio, AI, espionage, sacred ritual, pageantry, and patriotism using Musique concrète, 1-bit audio, minimalism, closely tuned sine waves, and samples of sirens, bugs, and Sousa marches.

Made with Steve Parker and Bryan Ribas.

Featuring pilots Bryan Ribas, Lou Averbach, Gil Coronado, and Rickey White.

This project was supported in part by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division and the Texas Commission for the Arts.


2017 SoundSpace – The Blanton Museum of Art
Matthew Steinke: Robotics and shrubbery
Rosalyn Nasky: Movement

My Cubical

2016 SoundSpace – The Blanton Museum of Art
Matthew Steinke: Robotics, Harmonic Guitar, eGuitar, Percussion

steinke blanton museum of art

Live on KUTX


Improvisations and Variation of “In C” by Terri Riley and “Workers Union” by Louis Andriessen
Steve Parker Trombone and Conch Shell
Matthew Steinke: Robotics and Electric Lamellophone

Video of in “In C” variation below.

Mechanical Memories

2014 Avante Gardens, Houston, TX

This performance with eGuitar and robotic ensemble incorporates mechanical memory devices such as a disc playing music box, percussion, toy piano, and harmonium controlled by a laptop. My role involves mediating the mechanical melodies and percussion cycles by improvising harmonies on the guitar and mixing the instruments in the ensemble in and out. The guitar has built-in drivers to make the strings drone automatically. It is also triggering sounds wirelessly in the software.

The Stringboard

2003, Chicago, IL SAIC

Performance with a prepared string instrument, modified toy box, and algorithmic sampler device


2003 Chicago, IL, Pack Edge Sound Festival

For the Pack Edge Festival, I improvised with this hybrid percussion robot which has an integrated sampler and an embedded microprocessor. Audio is sampled at the input, cut up, and then mapped to programmed algorithmic rhythms in the firmware. These generated rhythms are then augmented by synched acoustic percussion. I am playing a cassette tape player with its lid removed and its output feed into the input of Mockaoke. I am pushing the play button in and out and manipulating the speed and pitch of the recording by pushing on the tape player’s capstan while it plays back.