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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Live Performance Philosophy
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars  
Author Live Performance Philosophy
Pod Mod
Hello Wigglers, first off I want to apologize for anyone who thought my first few posts were spammy. I am new to forum use in general so I may need some time to get the etiquette down.

I want to hear your thoughts on live performance. I have struggled throughout my gigging career as a singular performer with where the line between authentic and lazy is.

I seem to approach each new gig a little differently and have had varied success. As a result I haven't had one mode of performing that I could practice consistently in order to perfect.

This is a double edged sword as it adds a level of excitement each time, but also can leave me feeling unfulfilled. sad banana As if my potential lay untapped.

So, let me know what you think. How do you feel about laptops? Is there a perfect combination of technology you employ? Is there such thing as cheating if everyone in the audience is enjoying themselves? applause It's peanut butter jelly time! applause It's peanut butter jelly time!

Thanks for checking in!

-Tim Rockin' Banana!
ngarjuna
For me the computer is a vital part of my schtick (it provides my master clock amongst other things via Silent Way); I also really love the fact that I can just keep my tracks record engaged and record as I go, critically listening after the fact has become an important part of refining for the next one.

It also provides a wide palette of small things in a really tiny footprint: stomp boxes and effects, some mixing, additional instruments, additional sequencing, additional CV...the key for me is to not get involved with it during the set. I have that stuff setup and available as needed based on where I'm going to be headed but I try to minimize my actual interfacing with the computer on stage. Not only for the sake of audience interest (though that is important) but also because it's fiddly and easy to send something important, like my master clock, off the rails with just one click. I also try to smooth out resource usage; REAPER is very good at making long recordings uninterrupted but it's really easy for a computer to burp and send something important off and running the wrong direction. So I try not to instantiate and uninstantiated large CPU loads while in playback/record.

Likewise I'm not against fully recorded backing tracks if I had a use for such a thing but, like you, I would also struggle with the authenticity of, say, playing back a full acoustic band with just me on stage. If it's in the context of a sample that I'm doing something with then sure but as just a straight playback...well it's not for me. But it's not really typical in the sort of genres I'm playing near either. That said I did a few shows where I worked quite a bit with some samples that a guitar player made for me; it was quite obvious that there was no guitar player on stage and, while there was some sample manipulation, there was also just a lot of looping in that set. It was what I needed.

People will agree and disagree but I say that if the audience is enjoying themselves then the cheating was successful (all production, transduction, etc. is cheating). If the audience is wondering how much of your set is performed and how much of it is played back then likely not as successful.
captjrab
Everyone has their own live array which makes it interesting as a co-performer and audience member so there is no wrong way of doing it.
Not every live gig will lead you to ultimate satusfaction, but it will for sure be a condensed snapshot of where you are at. You can learn a lot about where you want to go.
I use my 15U setup plus maybe the Kaliedaloop sampler and the KOMA Field kit for off modular sound and modulation sculptures, tho it really depends on the time slot, venue and the anticipated audience. I also like to collab with film and vid people for multimedia synchronistic possibilities. I like involving other artists for a more creative critical mass than I could offer solo.
lisa
Pod Mod wrote:
Is there such thing as cheating if everyone in the audience is enjoying themselves?

I'd say no. And I'd go further, as I have in other, similar threads. You should "cheat" in the sense that you shouldn't take on more improvisation or performing than you know that you can handle if you know that there'll be an audience of normal people who want a good time. If there'll be an audience then the gig isn't for you, it's for them.

Exceptions of course for modular meetups (where people are mainly interested in what gear you're using) and the sort of arty shows where the performance is more important than the result.
Dave Peck
I wouldn't call using a laptop 'cheating' necessarily, but I gotta say that playing live, with a band, can be far more rewarding than playing solo with some kind of canned backup tracks. A couple of guys on synths and a real carbon-based-lifeform drummer all playing live with no need to sync it all to some kind of clock source is sooo much fun. Rockin' Banana!
Robscorch
Dave Peck wrote:
I wouldn't call using a laptop 'cheating' necessarily, but I gotta say that playing live, with a band, can be far more rewarding than playing solo with some kind of canned backup tracks. A couple of guys on synths and a real carbon-based-lifeform drummer all playing live with no need to sync it all to some kind of clock source is sooo much fun. Rockin' Banana!


Also requires coordination, practice, some talent, and kinship.. very missing these days sadly. The bedroom producer has killed the band. Then again economy period didn't do anyone any favors nor the lack of live venues that aren't totally controlled or well crap. Plus three to four people living in between vehicles spending as much as you make as you go and just doesn't exactly make money. Sure is a hell of a lot of fun. Screaming Hand
peripatitis
I can have a good time in my house, I long for a time to remember when I go to watch a performance.
Which is why I have no interest in "production sound" and things like that.
If you show some of the skills the guys above mentioned I am rooting for your gig to succeed under any circumstance.
Once you place that laptop though on stage, you better blow my mind because don't forget: I have a laptop in my pocket as well!!
so you are on step away from me checking my emails smile
dkcg
I think there are two main purposes of live performance on any instrument(s).

1. Demonstrate the virtuosity of the performers to show the pinnacle of human/machine interaction. Master the instruments.

2. Entertain.

I like both. Both together is amazing and rare, but both are valid to me.

And then there's the fall out side effects, like inspiration, healing, opening minds, etc.
dkcg
Robscorch wrote:
Dave Peck wrote:
I wouldn't call using a laptop 'cheating' necessarily, but I gotta say that playing live, with a band, can be far more rewarding than playing solo with some kind of canned backup tracks. A couple of guys on synths and a real carbon-based-lifeform drummer all playing live with no need to sync it all to some kind of clock source is sooo much fun. Rockin' Banana!


Also requires coordination, practice, some talent, and kinship.. very missing these days sadly. The bedroom producer has killed the band. Then again economy period didn't do anyone any favors nor the lack of live venues that aren't totally controlled or well crap. Plus three to four people living in between vehicles spending as much as you make as you go and just doesn't exactly make money. Sure is a hell of a lot of fun. Screaming Hand


I think the opposite, the bedroom producer had made a good band or musicians stand out that much more when they perform live. Less venues for live music, so we see less bands out there in public.
bobdylan
Nothing is cheating except plagiarism imo. I personally don't use laptops because I don't trust them! My whole life has been plagued with computer failure so I wouldn't feel comfortable relying on one for a show. That being said a lot of (maybe most of) my friends use a laptop and Ableton or Max for their live shows and they do amazing amazing things!

I will say though that when I see someone perform with a laptop, to me, some of the magic is lost. If they do something incredible it's like "well of course that was cool they have an infinite sonic palette at their disposal" whereas performers that do it all via loopers, synths and hardware sequencers, etc, even though they might be doing the same thing, it just seems more like a beautiful magic trick. And I love magic!

It's pretty six of one half a dozen of the other though. They both have their benefits. I guess it depends on what you want to do! The shows I play luckily are more performance art than concert. If people came to see me and wanted to dance for 2 hours I would be fucked! hihi hihi
Hi5
Personally, my greatest concern is keeping the degree of improvisational/real-time content creation as high as possible. For me I have to be doing something to even be worth it. Playing back predetermined material is not my thing. Definitely harder to do solo but techno isn't the most complex music usually.

As long as you are getting the experience you want from the performance and you aren't bored I say do whatever that is. I've seen plenty of laptop sets and maybe the performers are deep into the moment while others could be doing their taxes. As long as the output is valuable to you and the way you get there is an engaging musical experience, there is no wrong answer.

All this said, I've seen plenty of folks press play and pantomime a performance on all types of gear.
Pod Mod
lisa wrote:
Pod Mod wrote:
Is there such thing as cheating if everyone in the audience is enjoying themselves?

I'd say no. And I'd go further, as I have in other, similar threads. You should "cheat" in the sense that you shouldn't take on more improvisation or performing than you know that you can handle if you know that there'll be an audience of normal people who want a good time. If there'll be an audience then the gig isn't for you, it's for them.

Exceptions of course for modular meetups (where people are mainly interested in what gear you're using) and the sort of arty shows where the performance is more important than the result.



VERY astute points here. I totally agree. Most of my sets these days are at least 50% improv, and when it goes well then it feels great. However, sometimes I do feel I am too under prepared and take on too much as you say and I can't help but feel that is a disservice to people who came to see a show.
Pod Mod
bobdylan wrote:

I will say though that when I see someone perform with a laptop, to me, some of the magic is lost. If they do something incredible it's like "well of course that was cool they have an infinite sonic palette at their disposal" whereas performers that do it all via loopers, synths and hardware sequencers, etc, even though they might be doing the same thing, it just seems more like a beautiful magic trick. And I love magic!
:


I am right there with you. I think about this a lot:
If I get a patch prepared to improvise over and tweak/manipulate, then what is the difference between that and having a sampler or something like ableton?
Of course there are idiosyncrasies to each, but in principle they're the same...maybe!????
Pod Mod
Thank you all for your replies. Looks like the take-away is as long as there is a genuine approach to either entertaining others or creating art then we are ok.

As far as solo vs. band goes there is a difference for sure. Finding a groove with a couple other people is one of the most amazing human experiences in my opinion. However, I have had similar experiences playing a solo set and grooving with the crowd. It's just much harder to achieve when going at it alone...for me anyway.

This has given me a lot to think about. Thank you all!

-Tim
Konnecta
I've got a mother 32 which I'll record in Ableton live and a no coast. Now all I need is friends... Oh and speakers... Yea the friend thing can wait.
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