Gamelan Elektrika is a brand new electronic gamelan designed and developed by Alex Rigopulos (founder and CEO of Harmonix Music, inventors of video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band).
Performed by 15 musicians from Gamelan Galak Tika, the instruments are be played like a gamelan, with interlocking patterns and all of the intricacies that make gamelan music, with the tunings and timbres changing by turning knobs. This set of instruments is the first ever collective midi instrument (requiring a group of players rather than a single musician).
Gamelan Elek Trika instruments produced by Alex Rigopulos; sensors, electronics, and interface design by Andrew Boch, Matt Boch, and Laurel Pardue; technical assembly by Stéphanie Bouchard; frame design and assembly by Quentin Kelly.
When Robert Moog developed his synthesizer in the 1960s, he modeled its functionality on the piano and on western music in general - a single person, sitting at a keyboard. This is one reason why it was popularized by Wendy Carlos' Swtiched On Bach. Gamelan Elektrika takes a similar approach to the very distinctive musical practices of Indonesia. Like the great gamelans of Bali and Java, Gamelan Elek Trika works as a single unit, played by a complete ensemble. The instruments are played like a gamelan - metallophones, drums, and gongs, playing interlocking patterns - but all are channeled through a central 'brain', a single processing unit which controls their sound, tuning, and timbre. The composer can thus alter the sonic environment globally, not just for one instrument at a time but for the complete ensemble.
Super Collider is made possible by generous support from Alex Rigopulos and Sachi Sato, MIT, and the MIT Media Lab.