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Any tips for performing live techno?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Any tips for performing live techno?
StoneLaw
So I've been writing music with the modular but I'm trying to work up a semi improvised set. It's Detroit techno or electroey but the way I'm sequncing is pretty similar to an acid style set.

Any tips for keeping it going a long time? Still contemplating adding a mic and some effects. I'm more struggling with how I want to put it together/approach it.
mystico
What gear do you have? Modular only or are drum machines involved? Are you looking to improvise 100% or play back pre-written sequences? Do you have a laptop to supplement with?

I like to run at least two drum machines in pattern write mode with sequences set to different lengths so you get nice evolving poly rhythms. Bring things in and out with mutes on a mixer if there are no individual volume control on the machine itself. Tweak the EQ as you go. Hefty delay on at least one machine.

An analogue style sequencer for the synth part so you can change lead/bass lines on the fly.

And preferably synced up to a laptop so you can jam extra stuff in from there as need be.
infradead
compressor so you don't have to worry as much about your levels is a great thing.
StoneLaw
So I'm running a modded 606 and two tt303s filled with sequences, each cv sequncing modular voices bass and lead/arp. Just added the tr 8 I'm liking just clearing out and doing perc on the fly with the 606 doing kick snare and hats.... Might have a friend play it. Playing with having another modular patch going on doing a more droney or effecty third voice.

Just having trouble keeping up momentum. Do I do it non stop, or have noisy interludes between songs, getting more variation, etc and figuring out how I want to approach things just seeing how y'all approach it!
mystico
Well I think the key is kind of the call and response type thing. That applies to loops in a song, parts of a song and also out to whole tracks/parts in a set. I think interesting sets always vary the vibe, either intense then stripped back or percussive then melodic or whatever but don't just stay at the same level the whole time or there is no dynamic. I like to creep up the temp as I go too to build intensity and then pull the drums and wind it all the way down to half time and kick the beat in again. Sounds like you have a got a good rig to play with just give yourself a window of time say 30-45min and just try and go for the whole time changing things as you go to keep it interesting. Viva la Techno SlayerBadger!
StoneLaw
Thanks for the tips! Keep em coming!

I've been trying to write complementary patterns. So far all of my patterns are in the same key (although there are progressions and they could clash)

I've also been trying to have 4 bass and 4 lead patterns per song (although I wouldn't have to just use those I can always get freaky.) I'm trying to do one 1 bar pattern that it's really basic and boring for a lead in or lead out, and then at least an A and B pattern that are 2 or 4 bars long so that rather than having one big loop it's at least two parts. I've been playing with a third part too... something like a one bar version of part a, or a slightly simplified version.

I probably just need more awesome patterns until i'm feelin it.
John Noble
Once I find an answer I'll let you know. hmmm.....

For my solo live sets I only use the modular so I don't know anything about drum machines. For me the key to keeping a half hour or longer set fresh has been generative sequencing: sampled LFOs, etc. feeding quantizer(s), and so on. This is an example solo live set, and I'm happy to answer "how it's done" questions--even if you're looking for something to *avoid*: smile

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/132921174" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]

I brought an electric guitar into the March set. Doepfer A-119 has very nice overdrive!

noNDescript is the two man project with myself on Eurorack modular and Tyler Detweiler on modded 303, 606, Volca Beats, Microbrute, Akai MPX8 sampler, and some older Lexicon rack effects. I think Tyler programs in a few sequences beforehand but otherwise mostly wings it live. This is what it sounds like, and I'm likewise happy to answer questions:

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136977471" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /]
StoneLaw
Both of those sound awesome John Noble, and the second one is not far off what from i'm going for. No real questions tho although I'll listen more, but sounds great!

I think some of it is that when I write music, I try to avoid unnecessary repetition and have a lot of things switching quickly. I think I just need to be more comfortable grooving on stuff and letting stuff play out. Like on your second example things are repetitive but it still feels like it's breathing and evolving and isn't getting boring. I also probably just need to play more so that I get some more ideas and don't do every build up and break down the same way.
Steevio
i think a lot depends on what type of gigs you're doing. If you're playing to dance floors, discontinuity and messing around between tunes is going to kill it.
I played live with only 2 x TB303s, a TR909, and SH101, mixer plus a delay and reverb for many years and never had any trouble keeping it going and changing, but i was playing to audiences who really wanted to dance to Acid Techno, so it was difficult to do anything wrong in the eyes of the crowd.
Practice is the key, and under the conditions you would get at a gig. imagine you have an audience to keep you sharp, and keep going no matter what.

now i play a more Detroit-ish live 100% improvised with a modular and a Moog Voyager RME, no drum machines or saved patches or sequences. this is much harder, and you have to practice even more, so that you just know what to do in any situation.

when i come to the end of a section and i'm filtering down, i take everything down to a rumble, soften and deepen the kick, lose the hats, filter down the percussion and any synth sounds to keep it hypnotic and to keep people dancing. then i bring in the new patterns and sounds gradually. this is an experimental phase because i'm trying patterns out that might not work, so i only bring in percussion to start with, you can quickly tell if its working and you want to keep it or try something else, then i might bring in the odd bass note or synth sound in small stabs, again i can tell if its going to work or not, and there's nothing lost as it will be perceived as syncopation.

your situation is a kind of hybrid of the two ways ive performed live, i can imagine its harder for you, because you've got to pull lots of bits of kit together into a coherent performance, with my 100 % modular approach ive built it exactly how i want it for a live performance, and ive practiced so much i insticntively know what to do, and also with the simple acid approach it was a system that just worked, Acid was massive in the UK at the time, lots of people played live with similar set-ups.

its a bit hard to give advice, but analogue filters are really useful, having a few filters on groups on your mixer so you can filter down groups of sounds at the same time would be one...
get an analogue sequencer(s) as soon as possible, and just keep practicing !!!
dont play live till you are totally confident !!
flo
It's funny how it's always the same few people in these "live techno" threads lol

Here are two recent ones of me:

Completely improvised set

Preprogrammed drums that were handled by a mate, improvised synth lines

(I'd love to embed them, but I'm unable to manage it meh I think it has to do with too long SC links)

Anyways, Roland TR drummers are great for jamming. Regarding sequencers, I use René for the higher lead type stuff and an Acidlab Bassline 2 (sequencing the modular) for the bass. These two sequencers are a ton of fun to jam on as well. Usually I also start with empty patterns and just improvise on the fly.





Cheers! Guinness ftw!

(And sorry for crossposting this stuff all the time hihi)
austinedward08
streamlined my setup for sample heavy house music with an octatrack as a backing track while using it's midi sequencer to sequence a small 3U system, which I find to be pretty brilliant. The modular is mostly acid sequences though sometimes I use the arpeggiator which is sweet. Other than that I've got a reverb and delay pedal & an op-1... lots of hands on fun & very compact, absolutely love the octatrack - steep learning curve, but pretty very capable. as far as interludes, I like to just let some delay self oscillate on the tape setting on timeline while kind of modulating parameters on the eventide space by hand. hope this helps!
John Noble
flo wrote:
It's funny how it's always the same few people in these "live techno" threads lol


We have a very rare condition, and there doesn't seem to be a cure. w00t!! Nutter! Drunk Banana
StoneLaw
Thank's for the great tips! I'd already seen or heard a lot of ya'lls music before this thread I really appreciate tips from some masters!

I think figuring out the modular is tough for me. I designed the system for possibilities rather than streamlining it so I just need to find the magical patch i can live with. So far one tt303 on the afg, one on the dpo, then Rene, 2pp+brains, grids, and a shortbus for braids. I have a spare filter putting it on my main mixer is brilliant!
Iromeku
Both those sets sound great John.
robkramble
Steevio wrote:
i think a lot depends on what type of gigs you're doing. If you're playing to dance floors, discontinuity and messing around between tunes is going to kill it.
I played live with only 2 x TB303s, a TR909, and SH101, mixer plus a delay and reverb for many years and never had any trouble keeping it going and changing, but i was playing to audiences who really wanted to dance to Acid Techno, so it was difficult to do anything wrong in the eyes of the crowd.
Practice is the key, and under the conditions you would get at a gig. imagine you have an audience to keep you sharp, and keep going no matter what.

now i play a more Detroit-ish live 100% improvised with a modular and a Moog Voyager RME, no drum machines or saved patches or sequences. this is much harder, and you have to practice even more, so that you just know what to do in any situation.

when i come to the end of a section and i'm filtering down, i take everything down to a rumble, soften and deepen the kick, lose the hats, filter down the percussion and any synth sounds to keep it hypnotic and to keep people dancing. then i bring in the new patterns and sounds gradually. this is an experimental phase because i'm trying patterns out that might not work, so i only bring in percussion to start with, you can quickly tell if its working and you want to keep it or try something else, then i might bring in the odd bass note or synth sound in small stabs, again i can tell if its going to work or not, and there's nothing lost as it will be perceived as syncopation.

your situation is a kind of hybrid of the two ways ive performed live, i can imagine its harder for you, because you've got to pull lots of bits of kit together into a coherent performance, with my 100 % modular approach ive built it exactly how i want it for a live performance, and ive practiced so much i insticntively know what to do, and also with the simple acid approach it was a system that just worked, Acid was massive in the UK at the time, lots of people played live with similar set-ups.

its a bit hard to give advice, but analogue filters are really useful, having a few filters on groups on your mixer so you can filter down groups of sounds at the same time would be one...
get an analogue sequencer(s) as soon as possible, and just keep practicing !!!
dont play live till you are totally confident !!


Thanks for the tips! I'm watching your performance in your signature and totally dig it, btw. Some of the best live modular stuff I've seen yet.
daluxer
Quote:
Thanks for the tips! I'm watching your performance in your signature and totally dig it, btw. Some of the best live modular stuff I've seen yet.



!!! cool liveset - really dig it. That's how it's made
John Noble
Lost track of this thread for a bit--thanks for the very kind comments. smile
Steevio
yeah likewise thanks guys for the nice comments.

i busy rehearsing for my live performances in July, i'll do some videos and post them up..

and great stuff from flo and john noble on here too !

thumbs up
Kieftenbelt
At the moment I'm in the same situation using my modular for live techno. Only thing is that I'm now using it as an "extra" instrument. But I do want it as a big part of the live set. I used a complete Ableton setup, 2 apc20's, and a Livid Code 2.

My idea of setup is now a Tempest with my Yocto (Tr808 clone) including just one small launchpad (maybe even the launchpad app on the ipad) for extra ambiences, and as lead noise/f*ck*d up sounds from the modular.
Since I'm doing my live set alone I find it quite hard to get fast new sounds from the modular, making new patches and stuff. Of course I can prepare, get more sound modules in the rack, but I love to keep it kind of small.

Any ideas about fast patching? Or how are you guys doing this?
Steevio
Kieftenbelt wrote:
At the moment I'm in the same situation using my modular for live techno. Only thing is that I'm now using it as an "extra" instrument. But I do want it as a big part of the live set. I used a complete Ableton setup, 2 apc20's, and a Livid Code 2.

My idea of setup is now a Tempest with my Yocto (Tr808 clone) including just one small launchpad (maybe even the launchpad app on the ipad) for extra ambiences, and as lead noise/f*ck*d up sounds from the modular.
Since I'm doing my live set alone I find it quite hard to get fast new sounds from the modular, making new patches and stuff. Of course I can prepare, get more sound modules in the rack, but I love to keep it kind of small.

Any ideas about fast patching? Or how are you guys doing this?


switched multiples and precision adders for me.
ive got lots of them. rather than pulling too many cords and getting lost in spagetti, i keep everything neat for live performances, velcro ties on the cord bundles, a colour code system so i know which cords are going where, and re-routing triggers and CV signal paths with the switched mults, and using the adders to create complex CV sources.
if you keep the cords that are unlikely to be repatched neat and out of the way, its easier to do some live patching with easy access to the available jack sockets. i do this a lot with FM, i'm constantly repatching my FM signal paths to get different timbres from the VCOs, but if all the sockets are hidden in spagetti, it can be time consuming to get stuff happening.
ether
infradead wrote:
compressor so you don't have to worry as much about your levels is a great thing.


Anyone having success with any of the euro compressors?
BrianAndren
flo wrote:
It's funny how it's always the same few people in these "live techno" threads lol


I want in on this thread and the live techno action. Before getting into modular my setup was hardware only. Even when playing for myself I want more of a live feel. I'm just starting to build up my rig so I don't have much to contribute as far as solutions. But I will have questions about workflows.
BrianAndren
austinedward08 wrote:
streamlined my setup for sample heavy house music with an octatrack as a backing track while using it's midi sequencer to sequence a small 3U system, which I find to be pretty brilliant. The modular is mostly acid sequences though sometimes I use the arpeggiator which is sweet. Other than that I've got a reverb and delay pedal & an op-1... lots of hands on fun & very compact, absolutely love the octatrack - steep learning curve, but pretty very capable. as far as interludes, I like to just let some delay self oscillate on the tape setting on timeline while kind of modulating parameters on the eventide space by hand. hope this helps!


Do you use the octatrack as mostly a sampler and midi sequencer or do you utilize the octatrack's other performance sampling features?

Currently, my setup prior to buying modules is Tempest + Analog4 + MPC4000. My plan for the MPC4000 is to sample a bunch of drum sounds from drum modules and sequence them. The problem is the MPC4000 is huge! However as a sequencer it is much more capable than the octarack. To handle multiple samples on the octatrack it sounds like you have to put them in one sample and time slice them within the track. Do you find this to be a limitation? Or is it okay for backing tracks?

BTW I too am into acid sequences and find dub techno soothing.
ether
Just giving this old thread a little tickle, as I haven't quite cracked it for live techno yet. I have regular moments where I hit on a groove, but it's hard to build a nicely flowing continual set.

Steevio wrote:
...get an analogue sequencer(s) as soon as possible, and just keep practicing !!!


I'd love to know a little bit more about your approach to sequencing drums Steevio, or any particular modules or sequencers you're using with success.
Steevio
ether wrote:
Just giving this old thread a little tickle, as I haven't quite cracked it for live techno yet. I have regular moments where I hit on a groove, but it's hard to build a nicely flowing continual set.

Steevio wrote:
...get an analogue sequencer(s) as soon as possible, and just keep practicing !!!


I'd love to know a little bit more about your approach to sequencing drums Steevio, or any particular modules or sequencers you're using with success.


Hi ether,

at the moment i have three specific drum modules, a Jomox modbase09, an Analogue Solutions SD99 and HH88, all of which i highly recommend. I have dedicate modules for kick hat and snare, as these sounds are difficult to achieve without a lot of modules and rack space.

all other percussive sounds are synthesized by the same modules i use for other sounds, eg. i use a Z3000 /Maths and QMMg for most of the tomtom / woodblock /clave / rimshot / timbale etc etc type sounds, but they also double up as other techno sounds, simply by opening filters, lengthening decays, changing FM emphasis etc etc.

hi percussion sounds like bells /tambourines / shakers etc come from a mixture of noise and harmonically animated pulses from an AFG and various other VCFs/ VCAs etc (too many to mention)

all sequencing, CV and trigger, including drums, synth sounds, bass, infact everything, has its roots in two A155/154 combos. this is the heart of it, but the patterns become increasingly complex through chains of trigger delays, quantizers, precision adders, switched multiples, and smaller sequencers / switches / logic like A150, A151, A152, A166.

with this system, a very small change in the root sequence (eg one trigger change) will manifest as a massive change to the overall sound, groove etc.. in this respect i keep the root sequences very simple.
the complexity and variety comes from the way the two sequencers interact / mix and the routings and how they are switched.

This makes it much easier to play live, very small changes have a big effect. at the flick of 3 or 4 switches, you've got an entirely different tune.

this is so much better than making complex sequences on your main sequencers.

i've probably over elaborated, suffice to say i dont sequence 'drums' specifically, i sequence everything at the same time, the same triggers and CVs create drums/bass/synths/effects etc.. depending on where they are routed. i dont differentiate, there are only CVs and triggers.
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