A tale of coming alive
Based in Prague, Czech Republic, Floex (Tomáš Dvořák) is an award-winning composer blending electronic and acoustic sounds in unique ways, a synergy that bloomed on his album with Tom Hodge.
We talked to Tomáš about his latest project, Hotspot, and his newest collaborator, Josef the robot.
Experimenting with technology
Floex is an artist that pushes the boundaries to reach new levels of original expression. Here he explains how the whole DJ setup worked from a more technical point of view based around the BeatStep Pro.
The whole setup is quite simple. We used a special device called ‘driver’, allowing us to convert standard MIDI messages into electrical impulses for the solenoid motor, which operated the different drum elements. We ended up using a driver made by a Berlin group Dada Machines, which provided us with more channels and better customisation.
This is how the whole setup worked: BeatStep Pro MIDI OUT is connected to the computer MIDI IN with Ableton Live. The reason why we used Ableton and not the standard DJ players is because of the synchronization between Josef and the tracks I was playing. The synchronization between BeatStep Pro and Ableton works perfectly, it’s bulletproof. Another reason is latency caused by the solenoid motors, which is simple to resolve in Ableton, as it takes some time for the robotic drum stick to reach the surface of the drum.
Floex highlights the controller and sequencer’s live performance capacities, accessible to anyone wanting to bring their ideas to life:
I really liked all the improvisation functions, like roller and looper, and also probability functions, which brought a ton of organic flow into the live improvisation. It’s also really fun to drift between full improvisation and prepared elements. For example, I would build some drum build up from scratch, and then easily switch into pre-saved loops for the next part of the track.
Lastly, it’s great how easily accessible the whole patterns are. Because on DJ sets, I like to quickly but continuously change elements in the pattern to make it evolve.
Endless ways to be playful
With the right tools, an artist’s musical potential can rise up high.