"Birthday" by Japanese performance artist Ikue Mori is a live performance. Her trademark is her specialization in drum machines. Using digital processing, she consistently succeeds in surprising the audience with her sounds at concerts.
I program three drum machines, mutating their factory sounds to function not only as percussion but also as sound sources. At present I have 300 patterns randomly filled with texture / color, rhythmic patterns, pulse/beat, event/loud, event/quiet and melodies. The drum machines have 16(HRa,b) and 12(SR) key pads to assign the pitch, the voice and the mix, that can function in real time like a keyboard and are mixed with 2 multi processors controlled by keypads for immediate access to any program. In this piece the recordings of natural sounds (such as voice, feed back, outside noise, etc.) are manipulated by 2 processors and mixed into the background to create another layer of sound.
The piece was made in three parts: 1. "Birthday" theme, 2. Growing up aggressively 3. Nostalgia, and live with no overdubs. The "Birthday" theme was created first with the pattern, in which the keypads are all assigned to triangle and pitched chromatically. Then a modified version of the melody was created with another drum machine with different voices playing together. The event and color patterns are created with certain voices programmed without quantizing. And then pre-recorded sounds from the player are mixed and manipulated by two multi processors, changing effects spontaneously with the progress of the music. They are the elements that add a depth to the music.
All the manually operated drum machines can work independently, creating combinations that are spontaneous and sometime unpredictable.