I’ve been experimenting with playing live electronic drums for a while.
For most e-kits that one can buy off the sales floor, I find there is limited expression for controlling the sounds while playing them, beyond using the dynamics of your hits to control volume, tonality, or switch between samples.
I found myself wanting to “warp” and “wrestle” with the audio flow, the way a DJ does with mixer and hands-on effects processors.
The trick was finding something some way to “grab” sound-controls with hands full of drumsticks.
Drum machines have no soul, but lots of hands-on control !
Rather than use the standard “drum brain” (trigger interface, sound module) of an e-kit, I found that using drum machines as sound-modules allowed me a lot more hands-on control of sounds.
For example, the Analog RYTM, by Elekron, allows the 12 pads to not only be used to audition drum voices, but also allows meta-controls of
- track muting
- Scenes, which allow toggling between variations between instrument and effect sound
- Performances, where continuous pressure on the pads allow morphing between parameter settings.
I found the pads on the Rytm to be big (and bright) enough to play live with sticks in hands.
materials for proof-of-concept
Here is a proof-of-concept, where I am
- playing an acoustic kit…
- 1 kick drum
- 1 snare drum
- 1 cymbal
- …with drum triggers on the kit…
- 1-zone trigger on kick
- 2-zone (head/rim) trigger on snare
- …and drum pads
- pad right with pedal-control for hi-hat
- pad left for toms/whatever
- rim-mounted Dauz “bone” pad for “clap”
- …playing along to a simple loop from my korg MS-1 MicroSampler
I recorded performance with my camera phone, recording additional seperate audio tracks of…
- raw acoustic drums from overhead and kick mic
- audio from the RYTM drum sound module
- audio from the MS1 as “metronome”
Proof of CONCEPT !
Here is the whole shebang with acoustic, electronic, and guide-layers.
Here is “just the drums” sound (no guide-track included)