In this photo Sandeep Raval is programming the Maschine Drum as part of our Drum Tavel project. Drum programming is a fascinating area (see Wikipedia for a description of drum machines). First of all in the way of creating guide tracks against which you later play it offers a form of scaffolding for the rhythm. Also because the nature and variety of drum samples that are available is so completely vast, there are astonishing possibilities available within that. Considering the right feel and tempo for a track, it provides the ideal tool. How does the groove feel if we notch it up a bit? Can it go halftime for a while, and for how long? Also the samples you play don`t have to be confined to drums, they can be sound FX, phrases, chimes, arpeggios, you name it. Sandeep is an awesome programmer. I first came across his talent in this area, when I was researching my Indian album project Tigers of the Raj. At this point he was inventing extraordinary grooves with a Roland drum machine called an R8.
Add to this later the ability to play drums acoustically and you have the ideal combination of worlds imagined, designed and real in rhythmical form. Sandeep undertook the intense discipline of learning tabla from a guru, which involves several hours a day of practise in a semi-darkened room. Amazing discipline. Then years later with all the technique that tabla playing requires at his disposal, he can apply that to any percussion with brilliant results. In this shot he is playing a prototype for a ring drum. In fact it sounds better than the commercially finished version, so it is much treasured in Starfield`s percussion armoury.