A Guide to Berklee's EDI Showcase

Rishabh Rajan and Kimberly Ashton
October 25, 2018

This Tuesday, seven upper-semester electronic production and design majors will showcase many electronic digital instruments and the music they make. 

Image by Kelly Davidson

Starting next fall, electronic digital instruments (EDIs) will join a principal instrument list that is nearly all acoustic (the exception being the electric guitar). But unlike with traditional instruments, such as the piano or the saxophone, few people can hear a song and pick out the machine. That's because EDIs don't make a distinctive sound, they make many of them, and they process recognizable sounds into something entirely new. 

On Tuesday, seven upper-semester electronic production and design majors—joined by special guests Laura EscudéRachel Z HakimThavius BeckDan FreemanMoldover, and Dolltr!ck—will showcase several of these instruments and the music they make. The Berklee Performance Center show, called Innovate: The Berklee Electronic Digital Instrument, will give the audience a sampling of how computers are transforming music. Here's how the musicians will be manipulating their devices to create original soundscapes:

Srishti Biyani on Bansuri 

Biyani will be performing with a traditional Indian wooden bamboo flute called a bansuri, and she'll be singing. Both of these acoustic sources will be going through her computer to Ableton Live, where the sounds will be live-looped, processed with a vocoder, reverb, delays, and other effects. She will control all the live-looping and processing with an Ableton Push controller. 

Joy Hyun Ju Lee on Ableton Push Controller

Lee is primarily a vocalist but, like Biyani, she'll be using her laptop to loop and process her vocals in real time through Ableton Live. She will also be performing various electronic parts on the Ableton Push controller.

Maddy Kong on Keytar

Kong usually plays keyboard, but in this concert she'll be on keytar, an electronic keyboard held like a guitar. The keytar she'll play does not have any onboard sounds; instead it acts as a controller, which is connected to Ableton Live running on a laptop. Kong will control various aspects of her performance using the keytar's switches and dials. 

Nicolás Ejchenbaun on Electronic Drums

Ejchenbaun will be playing a few traditional drum parts, such as hi-hats and cymbals, but mostly he'll be on electronic drums triggered via the Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad. He will also be running Ableton Live on a laptop, creating and controlling the click track that will be fed to the rest of the performers for tempo reference.

Taylor Rysanek and Hyeong Cliff Choi on Elektron Octatrack

Both Rysanek and Choi are using Elektron Octatracks, samplers that can play back audio loops and individual samples, and can process those sounds in many ways. Both Octatracks are connected to a computer running Ableton Live, which feeds a clock signal to the hardware so that they are always in time. 

Sung Ha Hong on Electric Cello

Hong's electric cello will be processed through a computer running Ableton Live. She is using a Keith McMillen 12 Step foot controller to loop and overdub cello parts. She is also feeding her cello sound to the guest artists for further real-time processing.


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