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Live Set: Video + Reflections @ Binary Society 05
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars  
Author Live Set: Video + Reflections @ Binary Society 05
I played my second modular live show in late August 2016 as the opening act for the fifth Binary Society show. The venue was the Anno Domini Gallery in San Jose. (I wrote about my very first modular performance here.)

B-roll edits in the video are due to the camera being blocked from time to time by audience members, but offers some performer’s-eye-views and shows some of the art in the gallery. Video shot by Binary Society organizer Danny Kim.

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Like my previous show, this was a piece created just for this show, and the instruments were 15U of Eurorack modular in two Dark Modular cases (MG: main case, controller case), an iPad running Samplr, the Teenage Engineering OP-1, the Landscape HC-TT cassette player, an Eventide space, and a Red Panda Particle. I replaced every Meanwell power brick I own with grounded ones and made a power-cord snake with TechFlex (label EACH END of all cables!), which really helped speed setup time.

From a performer’s standpoint, the show was fantastic. Chris “SineBrave” Bennett provided live visuals from a modified Vectrex, controlled by 6U of Eurorack audio modules. The subs in the venue shook the low stage with every bass note or kick hit…I have never heard my system through club subs before, and holy cow, was that visceral. On-stage monitoring was in stereo. Fog machines. Time for my least-temperature-stable analog oscillators to warm up (especially the Benjolin and my custom DRM1e). Oodles of time for sound check. Occult black-and-gold artwork on the walls.

I had no tuning or technical issues, which plagued me during my last show. I had practiced the set and setting up, so I was ready for sound check in 15 minutes. I’ve found that patching my case closed can cause tuning knobs to turn as the patch cords coil up, so I wedged a tennis ball in the lid to keep it from closing completely, and carried it into the venue flat rather than by the handle. This was my first time using a pair of Studio Electronics Router modules for drum mutes coming out of the Varigate, and they were just perfect…and 12hp smaller than the Sequential Switch Matrix! I should have set up a different effects bus to switch to, but hey, one only has so many effects modules and rack space.

Things to do better next time? The mix could have been better, and that’s my fault. I need to get off the stage and hear my sound check sequence running on the venue floor to better evaluate. I need to have less coffee so I don’t rush so much while playing live keys. It is far too easy to have one finger slip on the OP-1 keyboard and change the patch you’re using; next time I’m rolling with a QuNexus and a NanoPiano. I also need at least one more small utility unit, like the WMD/SSF Pingable MMF or a Ladik EQ, so the lower end can be more articulate and less muddy. (I’m loathe to bring an external mixer with EQ because of extra weight, complicating load-in, and increasing set-up time.)

Finally, this was my second show with the Stillson Hammer, and while it worked great, I’m still feeling like I’m getting to know it, and I need to be a little less “scared” of screwing with it live through lots more focused practice. The fact that the sliders don’t actually reflect machine/patch state (tied to what page you’re on) is a little frustrating. I'm on the fence between keeping it and returning to using the Metropolis (or getting a Seq 1). Only more time with the unit will tell.

I also feel strongly, after this show, that performing with a suitcase, while convenient, is aesthetically no different than playing with a laptop. It obscures cause and effect and is a physical barrier between performer and audience. Next time, I’m going to separate the lid and play with everything laid flat, on a smaller table I can “cheat” at an angle relative to the audience. Also exploring behind-the-case video feeds that can either be projected at a venue or via something easy to tote around.

Super duper extra thanks to Danny Kim of BinSoc and SineBrave, and thanks to my South Bay synth friends who came, and those who also performed (Vector Hold, Normalien, and Antacid).
Wait, that was only your second live show??

You rocked it like a vet.

SineBrave wrote:
Wait, that was only your second live show??

You rocked it like a vet.

Ah, there you are, SineBrave! Thanks a ton. Your visuals really kept things more interesting than I could alone! Such a pleasure to meet you there!
I enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing.
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