Matt Kilmer with the Wavedrum, Ipad and Ableton Live

Here’s a great video of my old colleague, Matt Kilmer, showing his amazing range of musical talents with both traditional and modern techniques. I met Matt while in my early days at Berklee, probably in the summer of 2000. We were quick friends because we had both come to Boston from Pittsburgh. His focus and talent were obvious then and he’s really blown up since that time, performing with Simon Shaheen, Leni Stern and becoming Lauryn Hill’s in-house percussionist.

In this video, Matt is performing on the Wavedrum, a unique electronic percussion instrument designed by Korg. Matt turns it on its side and plays it like a traditional middle eastern drum, like a Tar, a technique that is derived from thousands of years of frame drumming. Frame drums are some of the oldest instruments on earth, and were used by cultures spanning the globe. These drums are traced back 5000 years at least, Matt is using some of the oldest techniques for performance known to man.

Now, square that with the fact that Matt is using some of the newest technology in music performance and things start to get particularly interesting. Using the Wavedrum to feed his performance data into Ableton Live, Matt can perform any sound, not just drums. The varying data from his performance (note, velocity, location and more) is also fed into Ableton, controlling more aspects of the music. In addition, Matt has an Ipad running a popular music control app, TouchOSC, which allows the user to send data controlling even more functions in Ableton. A foot pedal controller to trigger loop start and end points, and a keyboard to chop and slice his live loops, and Matt is shredding in no time.

Matts incredible technique is what makes this performance stand out. After he lays down his first section and begins to perform the drum set parts, things get really inspirational. The intersection of new and old music performance techniques, and the raw talent of the performer make this video a stand out. I hope you enjoy it too!

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