ASCII Keyboard hacked into fine keytar

David writes to let me know about Droon, a breakcore musician from Antwerp who also makes cool games. He plays live (at clubs like Breakcore Gives Me Wood) with a homemade keytar, built around a normal ASCII keyboad. Unfortunately, this image sort of illustrates everything that's wrong with playing live music with a laptop...

That game is one of the coolest flash games I've ever played. And it has GOOD music... That's a first. I've been a fan of Breakcore Gives Me Wood for a while and I'm so ignorant that I've never heard of this guy until now.

Music thing is my daily addiction
Laptop live-acts suck some serious donkey balls. It is just too boring. Some weeks ago I had the displeasure to experience an Alex Smoke live set. I mean wtf? He looked like he was checking his emails all the time. A total noperformance. In addition his sound was so thin and, well, digital ... meh. Shows me pretty much, that without a proper mastering, VSTi and stuff is not worth a lot.

I'd rather prefer some weirdos hacking on a bunch of 303s and shit.

hey, this is the real droon.

haha, just found the backtracker on my site.

i got a 7" out that needs to sell more! has it...
the first guy i saw using a ascii-keyboard as a keytar (not too customized though) was alexei shulgin, who btw (still) uses nothing but a 386dx pc for his music and (in parallel) visuals:

and then Aster Oh plays a pretty spectacular ascii-keytar including fake tiger-fur and a lightchain:
sometimes stuff goes wrong and you gotta get to laptop and your mouse to get it back on track.

anyway, the keytar thing is just an extra. people that think it's the main thing are way to much into superficialities, it's all about the music and the rave. people aren't looking at me and they shouldn't. they're dancing. as long as they know there's a crazy guy on stage , thats enough, i don't see it as my task to constantly visually entertain them. i got a fully improvised liveset to run here! cool about the swiss guy, didn't know him. but i'm calling "lack of style" on him due to the waaay too big keytarneck..

and "breakcore gives me wood" is NOT a club. "clubs" give me the heebs. bgmw is a crew that throws parties, in squats or wherever, we just had 1500 ppl this weekend! woot!

And how can you be a "fan" of breakcore gives me wood and not know about me? ha. funny.
Nifty stuff Droon. FYI, they'z all a bunch of playa haters around here, don't sweat it.

Let me see if I have Rogo's comment right:
I saw one show and now hate all laptop music shows.
Computer music sucks, so go get a 303 which is NOT a computer. Nor does every PC based drum machine have those exact 303 drum samples included.

Look, your drummer will either crash on you due to a lack of GDI resources or drunkenness and it doesn't matter. I think we can all agree that the Beatles still would have been something to behold if they had slapped on Trash Cans....
"those exact 303 drum samples"


Go easy now, folks.
i usually only need 302 drum samples in my ultracomplicated but ever so dull and derivative music.

i also work as data controller for a large software firm.

my name is mike.
i ride a bike.
Definitely, laptop-led shows are boooring for the audience... anyway not much worse than mixing-board-led shows (read: Orbital, Underworld, et al.), but at least these guys have huge racks and shit, lights, perhaps some dancing... so, it seems it's not all about the music in the mid-run.

its not so much the laptop as sound source, but the lack of creative interfacing - as in knob boxes, midi keyboards, etc.

just working over a QWERTY keyboard and a laptop mouse doesnt convey "performance" to most people, unfortunately - and IMO, isnt really capable of providing the necessary amount of interactivity anyways

i need lots of knobs and sliders, as well as buttons... and even tho im definately not a "master player" i gotta have a keyboard to bang on too

in that case there is really no difference in having a laptop or a rack full of real analog stuff (besides the tech and the sound)
...I must say that looks like it was a ghastly night out. Ugh.
hey man, my music is all rhytm, no knobs. it aint acid. i'm throwing 50 years of music history on a pile. Puttin vst's on on top of that is just gonna blur all the chunky recognisable bits into a a big brown doodoo. don't need no knobs. it's performance coz i'm sweating. i also do the occasional stage dive, moshpit or keytarburning.. and alot of showing my asscrack to the crowd coz i got something to fix.. lots of stuff goes wrong all the time.. i don't know, i think all the "gear" talk is a bit retarded since it's all about having a good time and spending some time away from your TV. It's just a party. Pictures aren't gonna convey the coolness or crapness of my show. It's beter AND worse then the pictures at the same time..
Man or Astroman? had a similar system back in the mid 90's can't remember what it was called.. Back to basics or something, I think they gave away the software on their website... can't remember though, mind is dreadful these days,
> these guys have huge racks and shit

that is so wrong.
I didn't play the video game, and it's probably great. But I did listen to droon's track on his site and I couldn't make it to the end. I don't care if he had to solve 5th-order differential equations or twirl 10 plates on sticks at the same time. It sounds like shit. Put four tin pie plates in your dishwashing machine - instant droon.

I also find it very funny that droon insists that he hates clubs and he's just there to help the party happen. If he made that noise at any party I've ever been too, he would be beaten by large, drunken men and possibly small, drunken women, too. Also, how much does droon charge for someone to get into his party? Is it refundable? Weird questions for "a party", he?

It's really a shame because the keytar looks really cool - I had hoped I was going to find something wonderful.
its all about choice

i need lots of knobs and sliders... if you dont, thats your business... and im not playing "acid" either - it might surprise you to know that many other synths beside the 303 have them

when it comes to subjectivity, there is plenty of big brown doodoo to go around - for instance, im sure some people hate your music, just as some people love it... same goes with choice of tools

there isnt a "right" or "wrong" to it
The band that opened for Man or Astroman was O.R.I. (Operation Re-Information?); 3 or 4 people with ADB keyboards on guitar straps running BackToBasics. The band was decent for its day (I saw them in '96 or so, well before Ableton Live), and the guy writes some pretty bizarre software. Used to be mac-only, but apparently he's still on OS 7.6.1 so the newer stuff is either Windows or Java.; check it out.
haha, to the anonymous hater.

we charge 8 euros, 1500 people came. we made thousands of euros.
nobody punched me. nobody asked their money back.

ow! the bouncers couldn't understand what the fuck was going on and they DID punch some completely innocent people. So i think i'll put you in their cathegory, "too thick to follow what's going on, and resorting to nastyness as their only defence."

I'm touring the world with my "tin pie plates", i've played China, Russia, toured the UK, lots and lots of airplanes and shows. You're writing nasty comments. great!

offcourse, it's not for everyone, i don't expect my gran to like it. Maybe I should put you in my grandma's cathegory... "just plain boring and out of it"..
Hey, good to see Droon getting some appreciation. He rocks.
well if you use a laptop you just have to be a little more creative (and it helps to not have your music suck too)... it's not the tool, it's the person who creates with the tool that makes the difference. we get around the "checking e-mail" pose by having video during our shows (daedal), but we'd probably hide behind a blank wall if we didn't care about audience reactions. i use a mix of a laptop and other devices, it's all electronic and so what?
ps: i just posted about laptops - and the group daedal, i am not the anonymous hater from the previous post ;)
ive heard/seen droon play twice with the wrong music crew (chester,leeds uk) and thought it was great- i buzzed off the keytar aswell
but actually i think i was mostly interested in the mig pilot helmet
Man or Astroman? used 'Back to Basics' and 'Talk Back to Basics' which can be got along with other great software from
Breakcore, does in fact, give me wood.
Also I rather appreciate the attempt at making "laptop music" more fun / visually interesting. Hoorah for DIY controllers, however ghetto!
god that 'music' makes me wanna smoke crack. Get a hold of yourself mr Droon. Just because you can make a sound, doesn't mean you should. Take a deep deep breath and listen to Derrick May and Underground Resistance. Get a grip sir. Jesus.
jesus people. Don't you have message boards to go back to? There you can flame the slag on people you at least sort of know?
the song on droon's site is mint!

wot on earth u complaining about ppl?!

u want dross, it's on the airwaves. u wanna mong to mental gliches, go to a squat party!

crikey dick, noone's forcing you either way

I don't understand how people can be dissing Droon and his breakcore friends, as there is a rather sizeable international scene for the genre. There are obviously more than a few people who are into what he does. I thought electronic musicians were supposed to be open minded?
Have to admit I'm a little surprised at the comments here. Rave music (and its spritual descendent in breakcore/mashcore) was never about the cult of the 'superstar DJ' ( we go).

However hippyish it sounds, it's about the music and having a good time. It doesn't matter how the music is being made. Think about what you're saying and realise how lame it sounds that it's more important to you how someone looks on stage than the music they're making...
Mmmm think some people inhere are to narrow minded :)
Droon is great man!!!Breakcore gives me wood is great,Wood is great.So what are you all talking about,if you don't like it stay with your polished commercial "music"But Breakcore is just like droon says:My subculture can kick your subcultures ass anytime!
Keep on doing your work man.
\m/ ^-_-^ \m/
laptop music is SOOOO boring indeed...

but boy are they "hardcore"
the soundfreaks have both a knobtwister and an ascii-keytarist:
I want to start a Droon fanclub - having a huge beard and wearing a helmet is more than enough performance for me.

Laptop performance doesn't have to be crap - use midi controllers, jump up and down, wear a silly hat, dive into the crowd, smash your laptop, put lights on your shoulders...
hahahaaa these comments have been the most ridiculous thing i have read in ages!!


i don't know or care about what you do but you must be doin something right!!!
I don't know what's wrong with that guy or why anyone cares. If the guy sucks just don't bother going to his show. I can agree that most laptop shows blow. Mostly because the performers have no clue how to be live, as they've been writing their tracks with clicks of a mouse.

I used to do that, and my friends liked my old immature music I made right after I got out of high school, but now I know I have to put some real effort to put on a good 'performance'.

I've learned to play keyboard to the level of complexity that I made my songs in with a mouse now and it is the only way I write my songs. You can only perform your songs as well as you write them. A rock band practices/writes in the same way they play live. Out loud and manually. Using their minds to remember parts and stuff. Computers can be used as a tool, but the abundance of "laptop" musicians show how lazy people think that a machine can replace the complexity of human character.

Here is a photo of my mere ghetto setup that I've been writing my music on.

Bonz Xylophone setup

Bonz Xylophone website with old tracks
It took me some time to appreciate breakcore, but after a few parties I started to really like it !!
What an energy !
Laptop live acts don't have to be boring. Ever seen Jason Forest, Duran Duran Duran or Droon performing (amongst others) ??? Okay, techno-producer Alex Smoke doesn't add something to make his show more interesting. And the environment he plays in (clubs, very commercial parties,...) make his act even some more sterile.
I like the fact that breakcore artists have an I-don't-care attitude, far away from the self-proclaimed 'superstar' producers who think they are the shit. And they aren't.
Try to be original in your music.
Droon keep up the good work.
To me, breakcore is the post-millenium punk music.
ive heard the droon stuff and although not a fan of it, i can understand why people like it
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