Finally finished the PhD with a performance in the Virtual Drumming Environment using Virtual Reality and Virtual Instrumentation
Reggae improvised rendition of the Hendrix classic, Hey Joe.
Tim Neal on keys, Red Whyte on guitar and JJ Ham on drums.
Live gig at a little wine bar in Geelong with Tim Neal on Keys + Red Whyte on guitar.
Uwe Woessner and I are developing a system for the live networking of Virtual Reality drumming between Stuttgart and Bells Beach. Uwe plays a digital drum kit in Stuttgart, and MIDI data is sent to Bells Beach to drive both a VR visualisation and virtual instrumentation- and vice versa.
Drum battle anyone?
This paper was presented at the CAADRIA international conference in Beijing in May, 2018. See link
Abstract: Creative practice design research brings forth rich opportunities for the exploration of inter-domain connections between music and architecture. Through inter-disciplinary creative practice explorative project work founded on a methodology of improvisation on the digital drum kit, two stages of design research project work are outlined. In the first stage, a language of polyrhythmic drumming is parametrically spatialized as a reflective lens on an extant creative practice. From here, a new form of ‘Spatial Improvisation’ is explored, where conceptual spatial forms are generated from improvisations on the digital drum kit. This new musico-spatial design practice involves mediating a spatio-temporal-dynamical ‘Y-Condition’ (Martin, 1994) wherein temporal and dynamic design decisions translate from the musical domain into the spatial domain through ‘spatial thinking-in-action’.
Finally established a link between VR drumming linked to Virtual Instrumentation in Reaper using Omnisphere…redefining improvisation from the musical to the music-spatial: Link to YouTube
Abstract: The nexus of music and architecture (spatial design) has been a subject of intrigue for musicians, architects and scholars over the ages. My creative practice as both musician (drums and percussion) and architect positions me well for an extended critical inquiry into the intersection of these domains through Design Research. Using a generative methodology of digital drumming improvisation, a set of parametric digital design frameworks are explored that act as a ‘reflective lens’ on a musical practice and inform speculative extensions of this practice through ‘Spatializing Polyrhythm’. Working across domains, the practice of digital drum improvisation is explored and extended through the creation of electroacoustic works as Digital DrumScapes.
Transformation of the practice of improvisation informs a new ‘Spatial Improvisation’ where the skills of digital drumming are employed as agents of new design processes in the spatial domain. Cross-domain creative practice resolution is achieved through a new ‘Musico-Spatial Improvisation’ founded on the performance of real-time dynamic musico-spatial polyrhythmic improvisation in Virtual Environments and spatial sound. These speculative investigations thus provide the basis for a re-consideration of the music: architecture nexus as well as improvisation and hope to inform new directions in cross-domain creative practice.
100 Wave Form Spatial representations of digital drum solos performed by Jeremy Ham. Images are copyright.
This video is of some initial attempts at driving pre-conceived spatial forms from a Roland TD20 digital drum kit via Rhino3D in Grasshopper.
These lattices are derived from 1-2 bar beat samples, translated using Rhino3D and Grasshopper…
This video is of live drumming in VR with a HTC Vive headset…more to come!
This movie illustrates the trajectory of VR Drumming, and the transition from Static VR of drum solos to Dynamic, to Live “in-CAVE” VR Drumming…Link
My research is situated within an evolving field of creative practice that draws together my previous separate practices as a drummer/ percussionist and an architect. During the course of my hundreds of live performances, I have often thought that improvised drumming is a design activity, where split second design decisions are made in real time, through the co-ordination of hands, feet, eyes and ears, and in response to intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli. This research explores this idea, and the resultant complexities of polyrhythmic digital drumming through the lens of spatial design.
I have initially sought to understand my own creative practice, and the practice of others through the exploration of the continuum of Performance to Notation to Representation. I have used a methodology of mass improvisation to reveal the subtle elements of micro-timing, rubato, ghosting, mathematical event-time overlays and relative velocities that define the drummers individual style.
By translating drum improvisations into 3D space through a series of parametric frameworks, the complexities of polyrhythmic drumming have been analysed using ‘3D Spatial Drum Notation’ (3D-SDN) and represented creatively and spatially in Virtual Reality, visualization, digital fabrication and through ‘Digital DrumScape’ soundscapes. Through iterative project development, a new creative practice has evolved that operates between and within the domains of music and architecture.
Working with Uwe Woessner from University of Stuttgart and Joachim Kieferle from Hochschule RheinMain, we have integrated a cheap digital drum kit into Virtual Reality environments. Here, you can see me playing drums with virtual notes being projected into space, then returning back to me with a gravitational field. Notes are generated right in front of my eyes, with the VR headset on… is it performance, notation or representation?
I am interested in the way in which Spatial 3D Drum Notation can inform the understanding of the individual elements of drumming style- playing ahead and behind the beat- ghost notes and slurs…this video illustrates the playing of 100 basic jazz and HipHop beats.
Notes are repsented by spheres along a stylized 3D notation- velocities are represented by the diameter of the spheres. Tempo = 150 BPM at 4/4 for 1 or 2 bars.
I am also interested in alternative ways in which these elements of drumming can be represented using CAD software in the form of voronoi lattice structures. Here, drum notes are placed along a timeline, with note velocity represented as distance in the Z plane- note durations are further represented by a second lattice extending further in the Z plane.