Networked VR Drumming

See Link.

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?

Screenshot 2017-10-18 14.58.05

Exploring the Intersection of Music and Architecture Through Spatial Improvisation

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’.


PRS 1 2018


HAM-POSTER.pngAbstract: 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.

PRS 2- 2017


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. ham_poster

Playing Drums in Virtual Reality

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?

Link Here