"A lasting relic of our human cultural heritage"
To hear Aaron Taylor Kuffner describe his time spent living in Indonesia, playing gamelan became a consuming way of life. "For more than two years I ate, dreamed and woke playing various forms and instruments of the gamelan tradition," shares Taylor, of the period he spent playing for more than 40 hours a week.
After returning from Indonesia to the United States, Taylor was frustrated with how to best expose others to the experience of gamelan without a human ensemble. "Recordings of gamelan - be it field or studio recordings, or just samples - almost always seem flat," explains Taylor. "These instruments were classically designed to have a real physical presence." While an artist in residence at the League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR), Taylor used Ableton Live to sequence up to 170 robotic striking mechanisms, playing the musical roles traditionally assigned to multiple performers.