About thedrummachine

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 consoles; 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. All this is displayed on individual 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. The master controller also has many effect samples and effect devices to build up or break down the ever evolving sounds coming from the machines users. The machine also communicates with the users using a stylised computer voice. 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 to 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.

Ableton Exposure

Big thanks to Ableton for sharing our promo video with their extensive Facebook fanbase. We’ve had a huge response and hundreds of people sharing the film across the world!

Also have a read on the Ableton blog where they’ve featured an extensive write up on how we implemented Max For Live into The Drum Machine.

Also why not get involved in Bristol’s very own Ableton User Group. Loads of info and interactive sessions for you to learn more about Ableton with friends and mentors.


This was one of our tech guy Steve’s first interactive projects using Ableton as the sequencing package to his own hand made bespoke midi interface. Check this film to see it in action and find out more about The Abletonator.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The following article is used courtesy of a Creative Digital Music post from March 2008.

“It’s big. It’s beautiful. It’s … not at all practical as a mobile controller. It’s the Abletonator: Ableton Live on a PC with custom controller and casing, transformed into an arcade game cabinet form-factor. Why? Because. So, if you liked the Ambassador Live controller with arcade buttons, but wanted a full cabinet so it’s impossible to lift, you’ll love this.

The creator is Jr Savage, who evidently created this in 2006. Install MAME on this, and you’ve got an all-Live, all-vintage-gaming dream machine. Specs:

  • Custom-built plywood cabinet
  • PC running Windows XP, Ableton Live 6 (hmmm… may want to upgrade the cabinet), with a 8×8 audio card
  • 19″ LCD monitor
  • Custom control surface: 8 channels, joystick navigation (of course!), touchpad and mouse
  • 2-octave keyboard

“Coin-op electro shock.” I love it.”

Promo Film 2012

The Drum Machine is a unique audio visual experience which provides up to six users a chance to jam in time together to create an unexpected live improvised electronic composition. This video captures the unique audio visual experience.

Bookings – email Pete Whelan – pete@program-music.com

Video Credits:
Camera – Janne Harrowing / Tom Gilbert
Edit – Tom Gilbert
Music & Sound Design – Echoic – echoicaudio.com
Graphics – John Lanyon

New Features

Steve our technical genius has been busy programming new features to our bespoke software using Max For Live. Check out this screen shot showing some swanky new additions to The Drum Machine interface.

As is if the additions of ‘Thump-Kick’ and ‘Ringy-Snare’ weren’t enough, there are even more things that you can now do;

– The drum hits can now play at the same time on each station (was either/or on the last version)

– The midi clips are ‘observed’ so when new hits are made this shows instantly in the sequencer (before you would have to wait till the step came round)

– You can select a different midi clip (limited this to 4 clips)

– You can change the length of a clip (limited to 4 beats, 8beats, 16 beats ,32 beats)

– You can select between different sounds (limited to 4 sets)

– Now can see the name of the selected drum sounds

– The knobs are now linked to different parameters in each sound set, which update once a new sound is selected

– Knobs also display the name of the parameter its controlling

– The levers act as overall FX (they don’t change with different sounds selected)

We can’t wait to test these new features out. Watch this space!

Send Me Your Sounds – Make It Yours

We are constantly developing ways to unite the users of The Drum Machine through the power of music, rhythm and dance. Our latest idea allows you the user to submit your own samples or loops that will be spliced into the music of The Drum Machine. Use the Dropbox below to submit whatever your creative mind desires. From jackin acid rhythms to weird field recordings. Follow your submission up with an email describing yourself and your sounds and we’ll weave your details into the visuals on display.

We hardly need to explain but just for the record, please do no submit anything you do not own the rights to. No sampled tracks or unlicensed material, thanks!

Send Me Your Sounds