Forums - Music-theory
Subject: Live techniques?
Message 11/65 03-Feb-02 @ 10:54 PM - RE: Live techniques?
Maarten, I actually work in a lot of different ways when I do performances. Sometimes I work with a laptop, and midi controller and mixer, sometimes with a sampler, synth, drum machine, sequencer, bass, mixer, mic, and effects; and sometimes, just my bass and F/X, a digital drummer and a keyboardist. It really all depends on the gig. I'm sure you can imagine a lot of different ways of integrating things like sequences and samples, and rehearsed and improvised electronic sections to all kinds of music. That's one thing I'm exploring.
For a dance set on my own I work with a couple of mmt8's, an old laptop with cubase 2, and synth/sampler/drum machine/effects, and I write loads of sequences, and sounds, and just sort of piece them together as is appropriate for the mood of the party. One mmt8 controls the synths and drum machine if necessary, one the sampler, and the laptop controls all of them for the complex pieces, if I feel like playing something very precise, and intricate that just can't be done properly on improv alone. Sometimes friends sync up and we have a jam, and sometimes it's with musicians using non-electronic forms of instrumentation. It's all music, and it's all fun. So who else is doing things and how?
Message 12/65 10-Feb-02 @ 06:51 PM - RE: Live techniques?
Message 13/65 26-Feb-02 @ 06:21 AM - RE: Live techniques?
Message 14/65 05-Mar-02 @ 04:42 PM - RE: Live techniques?
Message 15/65 05-Mar-02 @ 11:12 PM - RE: Live techniques?
Message 16/65 06-Mar-02 @ 06:15 PM - RE: Live techniques?
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He would make the funniest ed up faces while he was performing, and he was totally into it...it made me laugh a lot...then again, his beats are pretty freaky, too, so that helped...imagine polka 3/4 beats alternating with hardcore 4/4 beats...
He's worth seeing if the schematic tour is still going on...
Message 17/65 08-Mar-02 @ 12:25 AM Edit: 08-Mar-02 | 01:14 AM - RE: Live techniques?
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While I've done it a lot of different ways, the last two years has really seen me trim down my live rig. First off, for those who aren't familiar with how I like to play, understand what I'm gonna say here applies to how "I" like to do things for mesef, not what I think anyone else should try to do... Also, I have worked with a partner (or sometimes two) in the past, and that would be handled a bit differently....
To begin with, I dunna like long linear sequences, I don't have "pre-programmed" songs where I just mute bits or play over the top. If I was gonna go that route, I'd just as soon use a MD, DAT, CD or whatnot to do the backing bits (ala Space Girl style).... So, what I do is play a lot of 8bar sequences (or sometimes 4, 16, or the occasional 32bar bit). There are occasions where I'll run almost no pre-made sequences and I'll just do arps... but mostly, I'll run 8 bars at a time, deciding where I'll go based on my own feeling and the vibe I'm gettin' from the crowd.
Now, how I do that could be: RS7K as my main controller/brain, controlling a couple of other modules (like the Virus or AN1x) and probably at least a keyboard controller, unless I've brought along a synth that has keys...
A variation is: MC505 as brain, with the AN1x for a controller keyboard, Virus, and A3K or SP505 for samples... Sometimes I'll forgo the AN1x and use the little Dark Star synth... In that case, I just use the 505s chicklet keyboard as my "keys".
Another variation is: Jomox XBase09 as timing brain and drums, Prophecy, AN1x, and the 505 or RS7K slaved running 8 bar sequences or what not, maybe adding in the Virus depending on the venue....
I've done a couple of shows in the last few months where I just took out the RS7K... not as much fun for me overall, but it's easy to transport and setup.
All that said, I've recently been doing a lot of thinking on this subject.... I play a lot of venues where they have little idea or understanding of how to handle a live act. These places are set up for DJs, and in respect to DJ setups, they are quite adequate. Some of you that may be out there doing this sort of stuff can probably relate: rarely do these places have a "real" sound person, i.e., someone who's out on the floor somewhere making EQ and level adjustments on the fly... I mean, for the most part, they dunna need that sort of thing for DJs, as DJs play pre-recorded, produced mixes. It's aggravating for me though, cos even though I might get a soundcheck (and I dunna always get that), by the time the room is filled up, a lot changes... So, it's quite possible my mix will sound "off" on the floor, even though my monitors say everthing is okay...
To some degree, I've been able to remedy this problem by using "spotters." People who are in my crew that are out on the floor during the set, checking to insure things sound as they should. If the mix on the floor needs adjusting, they come up and tell me what I need to adjust... most everything gets sorted in the first 10 minutes or so, but it's still a bit of a pain. The few rare occasions where there has been a sound guy on the floor were great for me, as I could concentrate on the vibe without having to worry too much about the mix....
Anyway, from talking to several different live acts about this (Space Girl, Skylab2000, Rabbit and the Moon, Hyperdriver, Motpol, The Prophecy Collective, etc.,), they all agree that it puts the live act at something of a disadvantage most of the time. And for most of them, that's the single biggest reason they choose to use backing media like CDs, MD, DAT or whatnot... an' this seems especially true for the drums and bass, the most common elements that these folks generally have committed to a backing source.
In all honesty, I don't think the crowd knows or cares much, they just wanna dance... Space Girl gets as much respect from the crowd as Motpol (who does all his bits live) so I often wonder whether or not I'm just going through a lot of extra headache for nothin' except stroking my own ego... I dunno...
In the end, it's all about doing something the crowd likes, not what I like or what I think is "real." So, if I take my ego (i.e., my desire to do it all live) out of the equation, maybe I'm just grumbling cos other folks get as much "credit" as mesef from the crowd, even though I feel like I'm doing more "real" work... This ain't new for me, I been fighting my own moral/ego issues about this pretty much since I started in the electronic side of things...
Anyhoos, that's me two pesos...
Message 18/65 08-Mar-02 @ 03:41 PM - RE: Live techniques?
As of late I'm finding more and more that I'm preferring a setup consisting of my QRack, A3k, mmt8 (filled with loops of various sizes for improv stuff), Xbase09, laptop running Cubase 2.8 (for complex sequences, if the I feel like integrating intricate, linear pieces into the set at the time) or an Atari 1040STe running cubase 1 (same purpose, but not as portable), a couple of guitar pedals, RNC comp, controller keyboard, bass guitar, and a 1202 or 1604. A compact, versatile powerhouse setup, it seems to be doing the job whether playing solo, or group gigs for the moment. Sometimes I also sequence with the Xbase or the Q for step stuff on the fly, but that's really only during the 'very experimental' gigs.
About the only other things I'm shopping for are another comp for the master out, and maybe something along the lines of a TC 1120 to sweeten up the mix. Not necessary, but kinda craving 'The Sound' live, in my old age.
Otto's killer. Haven't seen him live yet, but his records are out of hand, and he's a very cool guy as well.
Just a quick note: a really good friend of mine has taken to doing live sets with nothing but a laptop running fruity loops, and another with a dinky lappy running fuity, sp-505, es-1, all unsynched, and a tiny Behringer mixer. The latter is actually one of the top electronic musicians in France right now. His sets rock thousands every week. Just goes to show that it ain't all what you use.
More live sets!!!!!
Message 19/65 08-Mar-02 @ 05:17 PM - RE: Live techniques?
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I had an idea for a script once. It's basically Jaws except when the guys in the boat are going after Jaws, they look around and there's an even bigger Jaws. The guys have to team up with Jaws to get Bigger Jaws. I call it... Big Jaws!
Message 20/65 08-Mar-02 @ 10:42 PM - RE: Live techniques?
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I also gotta say it's much nicer when I've had the rare occasion to literally play from the middle of the dancefloor. That is sweet. You can hear so much better, you "feel" everything, and you're right in the midst of all the energy. Usually, I'm playing from a DJ booth type setup, or worse, I'm tucked into a little corner, where I get to do my set while "swimming" the standing waves.... (..."wot's that? Not enuff bass? Yer nuts... all I hear is bass...")
Pongoid - I've taken out my TC Finalizer to a couple of gigs, and it does a nice job of handling my master compression needs. I dunna really like dragging it about though. I think you'd be pretty pleased with one of the 1120s. Most usually my "non-playing" bits I bring along consist of a little Mackie CFX12, Lexicon MPX100, Presonus ACP88 for compression, and BBE462 Maximizer. Occasionally I'll bring along the Kaos Pad or the AirFX to have some other toys to play with... also, there's generally always this old screeching distortion pedal from Boss, have no idea what it is, as someone ground all the paint and labels off with a sander (I paid $8.00 for it)... ugly, no battery cap (so I have to tape it in), and most horrible to hear, but it do add some very special flavor to basses and leads....
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