The Drum Machine is a unique audio visual experience which provides up to six users a chance to jam in time together and create an unexpected live improvised electronic composition.
The machine features six hexagonal stations; four which use velocity sensitive drum pads and two using midi keyboards. These are mapped to various sound samples within Ableton Live allowing the users to play out their own rhythms and keyboard parts. The consoles also have an array of knobs, levers and buttons mapped to various effects within Ableton Live which further allow users to alter the dynamics of their creative input. Each console has its own personal audio monitor which enables the user to hear their own sounds, along side this there are individual visual monitors centered on each console. This gives the user a visual cue as to what they are creating and manipulating.
Ableton Live is used on a master control station to quantise the incoming rhythms and keyboard parts to enable the sounds to stay locked together in time. An additional beat is provided by a master controller to enable even the worst time keepers to still keep to a solid rhythm. We act as controllers in the booth to add to the overall sound by dropping in and out different basslines and kick drum loops as rewards and also the “voice” of the machine, which encourages the users and further enhances the overall effect, whilst also adding a little offbeat humour as well. The booth operators also control a myriad of different visuals that combine effected images of the users, our own unique style of visuals, plus running messages which both encourage and amuse the users and tie in the music, visuals and voice of the machine to cap off the overall user experience.
The idea behind the Drum Machine is to promote the use of music technology in a simple form that allows many more people to ‘play’ and make music they would other wise never have the chance to. It is based around the concept of a futuristic drum circle, where people are encouraged to listen and react to one another’s beats to spur on the creativity of the music being produced.
Anyone can play the machine, from those with absolutely no musical knowledge at all through to keyboard or drumming geniuses and get just as much from it.