In the extended Star Wars universe, IG-88 is an infamous assassin droid model whose sentience programming evolves far beyond the point its engineers intended. Four of these IG-88 droids eventually launch a massive “Droid Revolution” to exterminate “inferior biologicals” across the galaxy and assert a new robotic world order.
Seattle’s Branden Clarke, who named himself IG88 in honor of these bloodthirsty droids, might inadvertently be doing the same thing—slaying countless “inferior biological” guitar/bass/drum bands with his advanced electronic prowess as a producer. After making a name by pumping out fluttering, down-tempo beats on three separate LPs in 2012 and 2013, Clarke teamed with local R&B songstress Shaprece to create one of 2014’s smartest local releases—her lush, vernal Molting EP. If you haven’t checked it out yet (which you should immediately): Imagine a mermaid choir performing with an orchestra in an underwater concert hall equipped with hundreds of old, tick-tocking mechanical clocks and an array of state-of-the-art subwoofers.
Being an inferior biological myself, I asked IG88 to break down some of the sophisticated robot technology he uses to craft and perform his highly evolved tunes with Shaprece. Mercifully, rather than sending an HK-50 droid to slaughter me on the spot, IG88 beamed over some images from SXSW, where he was gigging with Shaprece, to reveal how his setup works. You can check it all out live and in action when Shaprece returns to Seattle this Sunday for a homecoming show at The Crocodile.
“Primarily used to trigger all of my drum sounds. I use the sliders to sculpt sounds in real time and manipulate master effects for drum racks. I built one drum rack out of recordings of hiccups from my 8-month-old daughter. Even though the MIDI controller has those colorful lights, they’re just like regular sliders. There are MIDI controllers where you can customize what the lights look like, but, y’know . . . I’ve never felt like that was that necessary, even if it looks cool.”
“Primarily controls a step sequencer that I built, also used to launch clips and loop elements on the fly. I’ll chop up a bunch of field recordings of me flicking glass bottles or banging trash cans or something that I just record with my iPhone, and then I layer them and trigger those sounds on top of my beats.”
“The brain of my live set—it controls parameters for all live instruments, the step sequencer, and arms instruments to record and loop. I use a mic for live beatboxing that I loop in real time, and with this I can add reverb, bitcrushers, delay, whatever I want. By the time I’m done effecting it, it doesn’t sound like it came out of my mouth anymore, it just sounds like . . . weird.”
“Compact keyboard used for melodies and textures. You can use it to trigger old vintage synth sounds, deep bass sounds, weird patches I’ve made. Like, I slowed down hitting a glass cup with a butter knife, and then it ended up sounding like whale songs.”
Shaprece With ELEL, Bryan John Appleby. The Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave., 441-4618, thecrocodile.com. $13 adv./$15 DOS. All ages. 8 p.m. Sun., March 29.