Tim Exile Turns TEDx into Boiler Room

If you have ever seen a TED talk, you know that they usually run around 5-20 minutes and feature a professional of a field giving a compelling presentation on a topic. Sometimes these talks feature muscians and artists who show the world a piece or performance. Tim Exile, a musician and DJ, went to Switzerland and gave a TEDx talk to demonstrate his live instrument called The Flow Machine. Through his talk he gives an impressive live performance using unique technology and turns the event from a normal TEDx Talk into a mock Boiler Room set (with an even more livelier audience).

The Flow Machine

Tim Exile is much more than just a musician. As stated in the video description:

“An inventor of electronic instruments and a DJ, Tim Exile recorded sounds from the data centres of the Large Hadron Collider and mixed them with the sound of the audience at TEDxCERN to create a unique audio track. His performance brought the audience dancing onstage.

Tim Exile composes, improvises, and produces electronic music. He also invents and makes the electronic musical instruments. A violinist as a child, his life changed when he first heard house music. Ever since, he has been experimenting and exploring the world of sound with bootleg rave tapes, Djing, programming, drum and bass, before moving onto polished studio productions and creating instruments. Exile has a degree in philosophy and is also an occasional hermit. He has toured the world and released software creations in collaboration with tech music leaders Native Instruments.”

 Being a technology enthusiast, he finds new ways to blend his music with his love for programming and hardware. The Flow Machine is a vocoder, synth, drum machine, sampler, looper, and loop recorder all in one collective unit. The hardware runs into Reaktor where Tim programmed all the triggers and functions of the Flow Machine. He has been using this rig for years and there is a reason why. Tim’s Flow Machine allows him to build a spontaneous impromptu set that otherwise wouldn’t be possible with traditional production or DJ gear. Below is a short Native Instruments video where Tim explains each part of his Flow Machine and how he uses it in a performance.

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Have a unique and interesting routine you want to share? Let us know about it!

Ableton Live Tipsboiler roomcerndance partydjingdrum samplesexileLoopsNative InstrumentsProductionreaktorremixtedted talktedxtimvocoder
Comments (31)
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  • Moises Hernandez

    This was deff amazing, perfect example of starting something from nothing. If more artist did this kind of thing it was be awesome, although for some reason I see this being enjoyed by a more mature crowd opposed to the younger edm scene type. I don’t know maybe I’m wrong I hope I am wouldn’t want people to miss out on this kind of experience but it is what it is.

  • Tyler Snow

    My least favorite dance move: the walk and clap.

    • Moises Hernandez

      lmao i know right its like something you do at an awards ceremony or something lol

  • darken

    awesome performance. for those who haven’t tried the effects plugin ‘the finger’, its an incredible plugin, it gets really deep. i love how he uses the BCF2000 for things like reverb. ill have to try that with mine, I’m currently using the BCF2000 for traktors sample decks.

  • Mike

    The girl on stage at the end.

  • chris

    interesting routine? for sure
    to bloat your musician junk food head, and clean them away

  • Is


  • DJ K

    Wow….. That was Sick!! And amazing how he recorded natural sounds. Now only if I can figure out how to map my machine to Ableton and use my Controller at the same damn time… lol. I’m INSPIRED…

    • CUSP

      It’s not as tricky as it sounds, but you have to be deliberate about how each device interfaces. Maschine can be used as a VST, and your controller can dump everything into Ableton. This is how I’d suggest the mapping (at least it works for me).

      This piece though, was mainly real-time sample control, and that (often) means using a microphone as well as your drum machine and modifying the start (and end) points of your samples. Once you’ve got that handled, you’ll have to do the hardest part: remembering where each sample is assigned when you want to use it.

      • DJ Kinyarda

        Hi there! Thanks for responding… Actually, I don’t use Maschine. I am using my Reloop T-8 controller, and my laptop. But I would like to incorporate Ableton and incorporate live techiniques. I understand that I can use something like the Akai APC 40 and connect Ableton, but how do I manage this using my controller? Does this make any sense to you

        • CUSP

          There are a lot of tutorials online regarding this, but the basics are this: use Ableton as your aggregator (like your mixing board). Adding Ableton to your controller set up is a paradigm shift for controller DJs because the DJ software isn’t your bedrock anymore, it’s something on top of something else. You can still Quantize and run a MIDI clock back to Ableton (to Sync), but it’s not a two-way street. You must have a Master and you must have a Slave for this to work.

          Your drums in Ableton (or any other DAW) need to be assigned either as a VST/AU/whatever virtual instrument and then assign the pads using MIDI learn, or the controls (pads etc.) must be assigned to a sample.

          If you run all of your audio out through Ableton, you can control all the audio through Ableton. If you import audio into Traktor, you need to map them to the appropriate decks.

          The interesting thing is that you *can* map your controllers to manage parts of both programs, but you have to be very careful about this (like mapping modifiers). I recommend obtaining a controller for each program you want to control (because it’s easier to de-couple from the full set-up if you choose to) and save various configurations so you can use your gear without having a huge headache mapping it each time.

          I have a sound card inside my controller (Novation Twitch) and I map the output from Traktor (and Maschine) to go into Ableton, and then out through the sound card in the Twitch, but I also have a configuration that is only Maschine and Traktor (out of the Twitch) as well as just Traktor (through the Twitch) and just Ableton, with a VST input for Maschine, and Twitch’es “Live Twitch Tool” controls (and output through the Twitch sound card) as well.

          Welcome to studio configuration. I know it’s a frustrating bitch at first, but it is AWESOME when it all gets ironed out, and for people who can appreciate this, they can really experience how truly great this really is… most people will not appreciate this type of layout though.

  • Phil Worrell

    Well that is annoying. I live up the road to Cern and did not get an invite… At least it proves scientists can party too… 🙂

  • DJ Rapture

    Now this is what I want to see in live electronic music – taking the studio onstage and creating amazing things live, on the spot. I honestly wish more producers would do this, they’re missing out!

  • Trik

    Whatever the DJ/Musician moniker, that was straight up communication and engagement through mastery of the instrument. Dropouts, warts and all.

  • djbkmusic

    awesome performance, but I can’t be the only one who looked at that and thought that those are just two BCR-2000s. Pretty sure they still are.

    • lesterhein

      For the life of me, I still can’t figure out why Behringer hasn’t released an updated version of these. I loved mine and am about to go and get another one on ebay. Super fun to play with

      • Oddie O'Phyle

        especially when you do this to it…

      • CUSP

        Behrenger is trying to move over to more professional audio. The X32 and Pro2 should indicate that.

        • lesterhein

          so why couldn’t they make a ‘pro’ bank of rotary encoders?

          • CUSP

            There’s not as much money in that.

  • David De Garie-Lamanque

    Tim Exile.. Incredible as usual 🙂

  • deejae snafu