The Drum Machine

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The Drum Machine is a six-person interactive music making experience.

Victoria Klewin
Console circuit board.

The Drum Machine is an audio-visual installation we've been working on for the past few years with a team of extremely talented collaborators. We were interested in devising an alternative way to recreate a traditional drum circle. The result was a fully interactive musical instrument that allows up to six people to jam in time, creating a forever evolving sound track.

We returned to Glastonbury Festival in June 2013 with a new and improved version of the machine, this time with a tribal voodoo theme. Our good friend Steve Nichamin rewrote the operating system in Max For Live and redesigned the PC boards and circuitry. We re-built the frame out of steel and added new Roland V-Drum pads for enhanced sensitivity and new keyboards to jam on. Here at Echoic we created a huge library of instruments and sounds for players to use.

Ableton Max For Live bespoke sequencer
Bespoke sequencer in Max For Live.

The machine runs using Ableton Live with which we created a number of music banks; a combination of drum sets and melodic instruments. Our challenge was to create banks that sound good but also cover the entire frequency spectrum. In doing this users would efforlessly create rich and full music that wasn't too cluttered. Be sure to look out for the machine at events in the near future.