So i’ve made a decision that next Friday’s gig (April 4) at Vision Gallery will be the last solo gig I play… in the foreseeable future. The reason behind this choice is not directly related to the hell-gig I had last week. I say more after the jump…
I feel like I have hit a wall with the vision of live performance i’ve been chasing over the last few years. It’s not that I can’t use programs like Ableton Live, however i’m philosophically against the idea of clip triggering as live music, and am not interested in performing it as such. This may sound overly fussy and I certainly enjoy performers like Coil who use(d) backing tracks and clip triggering as an essential part of their live show. It just isn’t how I would like to perform.
I feel like i’m primarily a producer of sound. I generally explore performance aspects in two specific ways…
- Generate material that I would otherwise not produce via typical arrangement methods.
- Generate and explore a real-time process in a room with an audience.
The former is usually done as part of a jam session or in private as it would be presumptuous to assume a public audience at something reaching for a purpose without the benefit of hindsight and editing to direct it appropriately. The other is based around a philosophy borne of years of electronic improvisatory performance (both as a participant and audient). Just because i’m making synthy bloops – doesn’t mean it isn’t or shouldn’t be generated on the spot.
My dream is a performative framework that combines the kind of freeform ambient drone of Robert Fripp’s solo guitar work with the synthesized landscapes of Eno’s On Land. Having thought about my engagement and interest in live performance I feel this will have to remain an oneiric haze with my current setup and abilities as I just don’t want to compromise on something I should have control over. I also feel that my focus on generating material for live performance has stunted my compositional abilities. Comparing worked material like Remnants with live blurts like the majority of my Soundcloud feed highlights for me the problem with my puritanical performance obsession. I shall also be deleting large swathes of my Soundcloud account after next weekend as I would like to move forward… this will unfortunately mean many links on this blog will be lost but… what price progress eh?
So for now, while I’m still interested in the possibility of live collaborations, i’m going to focus on production and composition (and maybe going to see some other musicians play) rather than constantly trying to reinvent the wheel while neglecting the chassis.
So this isn’t just a downer post… some micro reviews of audio software i’ve been demoing.
Native Instruments Molekular – is the missing link between PSP N20 and Little Endian’s Spectrumworx. Contrary to my initial concerns, it doesn’t sound much like Turnado which is a very good thing.
Madrona Labs Kaivo has stolen many hearts with its friendly approach to Physical Modelling however i’m also very keen on Amaranth Audio Cycle. I see it as a step beyond what PPG Wavegenerator does – waveform construction through additive processes heading towards physical modelling. I think all the pretty spectral views make it seem needlessly complex and it could use a decent instruction manual for non-eggheads. This interview with the developer sold me enough to try the demo. I haven’t been able to make any great sounds from scratch yet but what i’ve done to the presets leaves me impressed enough to put it on my list.