Robot Puppets

Robot Puppets


Robot Puppets was inspired by the technology or “Robots,” that drives our society on a day-to-day basis. Each piece or “Puppet,” was at least partially inspired by an effect or acoustical idea. This album embraces the prevalence of electronics and modern audio editing that shapes the sound and music we listen to every day. It is hopefully something new and meaningful while not being overserious.

Everything on this album (except Drum Machine) originated from a 5.0-octave marimba with rosewood bars and was then altered by robots (digital effects. A Marimba (and the title of every marimba player’s autobiography), is like a big xylophone. 

Track Listing

  1. BooGahDa
  2. Reflected Refracted Attenuated
  3. Shepard’s Pi
  4. Binary Dreams
  5. Robot Puppets
  6. Drunken Vessels
  7. Robot Circus
  8. Drum Machine
  9. Rosewood Nebula
  10. The Elder
  11. BooGahDa (Robot Sing-Along)
  12. Bachnarök

Liner Notes

BooGahDa is named after the rhythm presented in the music. Reflected Refracted Attenuated is a study on how sound travels and interacts with itself and surroundings. Shepard’s Pi is based on the auditory illusion called the Shepard Tone and takes its melody from the first ten digits of Pi. Binary Dreams has two different parts and was inspired by recent advances (and concerns) in artificial intelligence. Robot Puppets is a literal interpretation of the album title. Drunken Vessels is a drinking lament that one plays after watching a sad sci-fi movie. Robot Circus is what a circus (or hoedown!), held by robots would sound like. Drum Machine...is pretty self-explanatory. Rosewood Nebula uses an effect that freezes the sound of the marimba in time (something all marimba players dream of). The Elder is based on the Roman author Pliny the Elder. BooGahDa (Robot Sing-Along) is what would happen if a robot tried to write lyrics. Bachnarök is about the decline of access to classical music in America and the desperate need for organizations to evolve and be reborn as a new and more accessible and available way of presenting music. In it, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 is bombarded with modern influence seeking to change it in ways representative of the times. Despite this, the piece continues as it always has, either unaware or without care. Slowly, it brings itself to its own demise.


About Joe Millea

Joe Millea is currently a member of the Heartland Marimba Quartet and a freelance percussionist and music educator in Phoenix, AZ. Previously, Joe served as a Faculty member at Sam Houston State University, Veritas Preparatory Academy, Collins College, and National American University teaching courses in applied percussion, drumline, percussion methods, music appreciation, digital audio, music theory, music history, music business, and music composition. From 2010 to 2013, Joe was the Principal Percussionist and Timpanist with the Scottsdale Arts Orchestra in Scottsdale, AZ. 

Joe received his Bachelor's degree in Music Performance and Music Education from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Master's and D.M.A Degrees in Music Performance from Arizona State University.  In 2013 and 2014 Joe studied marimba performance at the Royal College of Music in London, England. His primary teachers are Fernando Meza, J.B. Smith, Daniella Ganeva, Peter Kogan, Earl Yowell, Mark Sunkett, Simone Mancuso, Brian Duffy, Matt Kettlehut, Dom Moio and Phil Hey. Joe is an endorser of Innovative Percussion sticks and mallets, Black Swamp Percussion and Marimba One marimbas.


Contact Joe Millea

jmillea@asu.edu, (763)607-7880

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 © 2018, Joe Millea