What does it mean to be human in a world of drum machines?
Not just whether drum machines have soul – how do you define your soul?
Drummer Jojo Mayer doesn’t shy away from the deep issues around digitality in the brief film meditation that is Between Zero & One. He reflects on the states of being that the computer and machine represent, and then he does what any great drummer would do. He doesn’t get mad. He gets even. He refines drum technique to play what a drum machine can’t, framed all the while by gorgeous, blinking images of robotics and binary states of light and electricity.
I’m not even sure what yet to make of the film, other than I love listening to Nerve’s Jojo Mayer speak and watching the gorgeous imagery of the short (director Travis Satten, cinematographer Adam Donald, and composer Jay Wadley making a beautiful experience).
But I know this: it makes me want to get programming drum patterns, just as it may make drummers to itch for their sticks.
And with drummers increasingly finding ways of being both more human and more machine – augmenting their playing in such ways that the technology demands even greater shows of fleshy drumming skill – it’s the perfect time to launch this conversation around digital drumming on CDM. I’d love to know what you think.
Jojo at the Regency Ballroom, via Facebook.
Thank you, Marco Tempest – now at the MIT Media Lab.