Jack Hamill, aka Space Dimension Controller, is another of those stand-out live electronic instrumental performers, able to involve lots of improvisation while still maintaining control and composure. No press play sets here – this is all perfectly conducted live performance. Note that that still doesn’t necessarily mean playing absolutely everything – it’s more about this hybrid of controlling elements from a compositional sense, maintaining some balance between what’s pre-composed and what’s made on the fly.

Resident Advisor shot a lovely extended film with him:

In the rig, Maschine Jam controls Ableton Live (and is handy for just such integration). I have to say, while I love Push (and in particular its display and velocity sensitivity), it sometimes feels more like a studio tool than a live performance instruments. Jam is organized a little more around playing live – and it has those great touch faders.

The rest of the rig:
KORG Minilogue
Two iPads, running touchAble
Allen & Heath mixer
Akai Professional LPD8 controller? (I think, can’t see clearly)
Some other stuff I can’t quite spot…

Nice stuff!

  • Greg Mubali

    It appears that the maschine jam is only used for step sequencing capabilities in this video. He does use it to play in a couple of drum parts, but that’s pretty much all that’s going on using it. I also noticed that the version he is using of the Live control surface does not have the velocity section for step sequencing, so it’s very possible that this video is a bit old or he hasn’t updated his jam control surface recently. I didn’t see him use the touch strips at all on the jam, which I can understand to a degree. My experience with the jam has been lackluster in the touch strip department in regards to controlling Live. The touch strips are not capable of using Live’s takeover mode, so every time you touch a fader (on purpose or accident) your parameter value will jump despite Live being set to takeover mode.

    In all honestly, the role that is occupied by the Maschine Jam in that particular video can easily be occupied by a Launchpad (even mk 1) running Launchpad95. ( A used launchpad mk 1 is really cheap nowadays and takes up significantly less space)

    Most of the level control and occasional scene launching was handled by the touchable and it looked like the second ipad with touchable really was just to control specific live effects. One thing I’d like to point out is that it did not look like the song was being arranged in real time. I didn’t really see him changing scenes frequently and a lot of the transitions and how some parts came in, including aspects of automation looked like they were not triggered and rather sequenced to happen.

    It’s interesting to see how a person’s workflow can be and it is definitely interesting to see how he does incorporate some of his controllers into his workflow, I just was hoping for a more involved usage of the jam as well as more real-time performance aspects. (sound triggering, playing a part or two by hand)

    • deef

      hm, yeah, I had similar thoughts watching this. the term live performance seems very wide. probably 99% of live performances I’ve seen are at best re-enactment of automation of some of the backing tracks. that may be fun to some, but not me. it even feels lame. I have 100 audio tracks in one track, infinite automation – who am I kidding to perform this live? and why? Tim Exile is the only one I know really doing electronic live performance, some choose one main instrument of their audio-tracks and perform it, like dorian concept, but…blablabla 😎

      • dalas v

        I don’t know, I don’t really mind it. For me, 90% of seeing electronic music in a live venue is just to hear it over the sound system. If someone is playing one or two parts over automated stuff, that’s totally fine to me. If they want to do everything live, that’s also fine. I’m just here to have a good time.

      • pulsn

        Cuckoo and Mr Dataline do real Performances.

        • yoyodyne

          Octave One FTW

      • Elekb

        “the term live performance seems very wide.”
        Agree.

        For electronic live performance, I usually think of people like Imogen Heap doing her voice loops while playing synths, or Squarepusher triggering beats and playing amazing bass guitar riffs on top – that would be my definition of “tearing it up”.

        I haven’t had time to watch the whole video but so far, I’ve just seen SDC triggering a couple of loops – actually a couple of song sections, he doesn’t even seem to be arranging the song live – and twiddling FX knobs a couple times. Almost one third through the video and he hasn’t touched his keyboard to play a single note.

        This is just boring to watch. Hardly a “live music performance”, closer to a DJ set. Can’t say I’m impressed.

        • Axel Rigaud

          I agree. He is not even enjoying it himself. He should get the computer and the ipads out of his setup and learn an instrument with boundaries and limitations, then his music will grow.