Thursday, December 22, 2005

SOUNDLIST - Toronto Experimental Music, Free Improvisation and Sound Art

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.:SOUNDLIST-Listserv:.

Sound list is a listserver (a listserv is an email message group) that annouces improvisational, experimental music and sound art events in the Toronto area. The listserv is free of charge.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Knellotron Labs - Films, Music, and Art by Chris Larkee

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.:Knellotron Labs - Films, Music, and Art by Chris Larkee:.

Here is an absolutly remarkable artist that I came across while visiting the Blender 3d modeling page. Chris Larkee is a multimedia and film artist who not only composes electronic music but is very apt at creating masterful pieces of computer film art and short films. Chris has successfully taken his artform to where I personally have wanted to go with my art, merging abstract 3d modeling with music. I highly reccomend watching the film pieces "Esign" and "The Brian Diptych"

The Philadelphia Ambient Consortium (Music and Noise)

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.:The Philadelphia Ambient Consortium (Music and Noise):.

The Philadelphia Ambient Consortium is a website dedicated to promoting ambient music and performances in the Philadelphia area. The website includes event listings, webcasts, messageboards and more.

Quote:
Ambient sounds are unique and special, but their veritable ubiquity hides them from casual perception. Ambient artifacts are obscure because a minority of perceptive people have reflected long enough on the various stimulus feeds to discern their existence and not take them for granted. This obscurity has had the additional effect of creating a certain esoteric charm to the genre of music called Ambient, and this has been a charismatic force binding many of us to study ambient sounds and Ambient music more actively.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Kronos 1: Congotronics and Bazombo Trance

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.:Konono N 1:.

Now to be quite honest this site really has nothing to do with Livepa. However the site does nicely describe a likemb, which is a sort of thumb piano. Konono N 1 utilizes a unique hybrid of this instrument, eletricfying what was once a classic acoustical instrument and adding amplifiers to it. To top it off look at the tools these men are using to create and perform music. Simply astonishing!!!!!!!!


A wooden Mic and the band's mixing board. No seriously.



The percussion set.

Quote:

.:Konono N 1:. was founded over 25 years ago by , a virtuoso of the li(a traditional instrument sometimes called "sanza" or "thumb piano", consisting of metal rods attached to a resonator). The band's line-up includes three electric likembés (bass, medium and treble), equipped with built from magnets salvaged from old car parts, and plugged into amplifiers. There's also a rhythm section which uses traditional as well as (pans, pots and car parts), three singers, three dancers and a sound system featuring these famous megaphones.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Max Richter: Live Orchestral Electronic

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.:Max Richter.com:.

Max Ricther is one of those artists that really is indescribable. IS music can best be described as classical or orchestra. The songs feature the traditional arrangements of strings and piano but also infuse delicate, if not almost unnoticeable, elements of sampling and synthesizer work. The outcome is a fully contemporary and modern invocation of the classical music mood and feeling. If you are one of those listeners who enjoys listening to Brian Eno, Bjork, Vangelis or Jarre then you will probably enjoy Max Richter immensely. His latest release is entitled "The Blue Notebooks".

Quote:
Max Richter (b.1966) trained in composition and piano at Edinburgh University, the Royal Academy of Music and with Luciano Berio in Florence. His early music was basically hard-core Modernism: much influenced by Xenakis.

The Richter family moved to the UK from Germany when Max was a young child, leaving the wider part of his family distributed around Germany. The sense of a lack of roots had an effect on his musical formation - "I have always had a sense of belonging, in some way, to the middle of Europe but not specifically to any one place. This is very common I think, especially in Germans whose families inevitably include all sorts of influences from the Austro - German - Hungarian - Polish mix...." explains Richter.

On completing his studies, Max Richter co-founded the immensely successful contemporary classical ensemble Piano Circus, where he stayed for ten years, commissioning and performing works by Arvo Part, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe and Steve Reich. During this time the group was signed exclusively to Decca/Argo, producing five acclaimed CDs.

Richter was also the driving force in developing the group's use of live sampling and electronics, as well as developing the use of live video and lighting in performance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Firebird Band

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.:The Firebird Band Myspace:.
.:Offical Website:.

I was able to see a really fun band this past weekend. It was a complete random walk into a cafe and boom, there they were.

The Firebird Band is a great dark synth pop indie electronica band from the Champaign area. They are signed on Lucid records and the band consists of two offical members, but there are four on the tour. The lead singer was really cool, laying down on stage because the audience was sitting. He also slipped on a chord which was quite hilarious.

I ended up buying the cd at the show and it is quite good. Anyways, if your looking for some goth synth pop then here is a little taste for ya.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

LCD Soundsystem: Electropunk Meets Artful Lyricism.

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.:LCD Soundsystem:.

Good lyrics are not something most people commonly associate with electronic music these days. To many there is even a lack of good instrumental electronic music. Pop has really turned into a four let.....uhhhh....You know.

Anyways, LCD Soundsystem is one of those bands rocking out with pure genuine tunes. James Murphy is the brainchild of LCD Soundsystem in the studio churning out catchy tunes with a mixture of vintage and modern gear. His lyrics are presented as being poetic if not at times following the geek aesthetic.

don't let the studio work overshadow the live show though. This is defiantly not one of those bands hammering it out all in a computer and then looking content as they hit play. With a full band James is accompanied by drummer, Pat Mahoney; keyboardist, Nancy Whang; bassist, Tyler Pope; and Phil Mossman on guitar. The songs translate quite well live and the music is definitely something to check out. The songs effectively come across as being familiar while maintaining the interest one would expect from a live show. The overall experience is a unique blend of artful indie punky gooey goodness while still getting you to move your rump.

So hit up their website and give them a look.
.:LCD Soundsystem:.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tim Shaw aka. Exile performing live with Reaktor 5

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.:Time Shaw aka. Exile Interview:.

Time Shaw aka. Exile is a Live Drum N'Bass performance artist taking an approach much less traveled. Instead of using the popular Ableton Live, Tim instead is using Reaktor 5, a modular software programming environment, to perform his live shows. Tim has a degree in electro-acoustic composition as well as extensive knowledge of DSP programming.

He has created a Reaktor ensemble that allows him to loop and chop Drum N' Bass loops and sample vocals on the fly. His setup consists of a laptop, a Dopefer Controller, an Evolution Controller and a keyboard.

The Native Instruments website has a fantastic video and interview with Tim demonstrating how he uses Reaktor 5 live, how he setup his patches, ensemble and controllers. Overall his use of software, creativity and musical capabilities are quite impressive. It is extremely refreshing to see someone demonstrating a new approach to the software live performance arena.

You can read the interview, see the video and download a copy of Tim's Reaktor Ensemble at the .:Native Instruments Website:.

Tim also has a new album coming out on Planet Mu entitled
"Pro Agonist"

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Toshimaru Nakamura- Guitar and No Input Mixing

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.:Toshimaru Nakamura Homepage:.

Toshimaru Nakamura is one of those rare artists, like Ikue Mori, that seems to defy our personal senses with music. He can create complex textures and engaging music using the most mundane and minimal instrumental setups. What is most remarkable about artists like Toshimaru Nakamura and others is that they can demonstrate that in this world of limitless digital studios, they do the unthinkable with gear that more traditional artists label toys, garbage and useless.

Toshimaru Nakamura creates his compositions mostly with a guitar and what he calls a no input mixer. This mixer loops and feedsback noise through itself creating very interesting and unique sound textures. Something definitely worth checking out.

quote:
Toshimaru Nakamura has been producing electronic music on self-named "no-input mixing board," after long unhappy years with the electric guitar. The name describes the method of his music. "No" external sound source is connected to "inputs" of the "mixing board." Mostly an improviser, occasionally a composer for dancers, an instrumentalist for compositions.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Ikue Mori: Composer... Improviser... Performer...

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.:Ikue Mori Homepage:.

Every once in a while I stumble upon an artist out there that is truly inspirational, creative, and different from everything else. Ikue Mori is one of those artists. Ikue Mori is an improvisational artist that primarily centers her music around using drummachines in unconventional ways. Complex textures, melodies and beats are created from a simple machine and looped chopped diced and more. Ikue Mori has numerous recordings released from the 1970's to the present. In addition to great music she also dabbles in some graphic design.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Saitone: 8-bit Mayhem from Japan.

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.:Saitone Website:.

Saitone. A Japanese artist utilizing Nanoloop and 8-bit aesthetic to its fullest. Download the songs.....Listen....Rinse......Repeat.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Matmos Interview by Carlos M. Pozo

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.:Matmos Interview:.

An old Interview with the San Francisco based due Matmos discussing how they approached and setup their live show.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Eight Livepa Sets online from MEMS!!!!!!

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Here are links to the audio files for all of the artists featured at May 21st's MEMS.




.:Actuel:.

.:Battery Collection:.

.:Decimal:.

.:Decrepitude:.

.:Dubathonic:.

.:Dynamic Interplay:.

.:Glaive:.

.:Nick Maxwell:.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Jaime Lidell Live

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Perhaps one of the weirdest and coolest live videos I have ever seen. Great use of the beatbox.

.:Jamie Lidell Live Video:.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

indie [kevin m. krebs / 833-45]

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indie [kevin m. krebs / 833-45]

Kevin m. Krebs is the brain child behind Nishi records, and he 833-45 project. In this interview he explores the issues about why people think electronic music is dead, the critiques of LivePA, his own musical endeavors and the directions that elctronic music will be going in the future.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Art and Nuance of LivePA

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The people over at
>>Tastyfresh.com<< have released another article discussing the aspects and nuances of Live Electronic music. I personally think the article nails the topic right on the head in trying to convey the aesthetics that we PA artists feel when we do the music we do.

We certainly have an arrogance or pride about us over the DJ's. I mean hell we are playing the music we wrote. I always did find it funny how a DJ when would raise his hand up into the air when drop it right when the drop in the song came, as if he was creating the transition. He merely is memorizing the position of the song, whereas we are the creators of said transition.

Most people who have not experienced livePA, or those artists who make music but don't know livePA, are really missing out on a critical part of the sub-culture in which we have chosen to exist in. I really think more artists should get into the LivePA gig.

I highly encourage all those who feel they are part of the sub-culture of electronic music and design to look into these articles. go to a LivePA show when it comes up and realize the magic that LivePA brings to the electronic music world.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Livepa FAQ

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Here is a great article compiled by the people over at Livepa.org.

I high encourage anyone intrested in getting into Livepa to check out this link. It is extremely helpful.

>>>LivePA FQ<<<

My personal "Getting Started" for LivePA

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Change Your Mindset.
First, one of the first things that you must understand when developing a livePA set is that livePA is not about polished music, and it is not about you the performer. It is about the audience and the performance as a whole. You must first change the mind set of being a producer to one of being a performer. 50% of live music is about the music, the other 50% is about how you interact with the crowd.

Music for Live PA does not need to be lush complex and polished like a studio work. This doesn't mean however that it should not be quality. This means that the focus of your performance should not be how cool your song sounds or how many hours you spent mastering it. In the heat of a 2 A.M. party the crowd is not going to care that you spent 12 hours perfecting your mix and that you have a multi-compressor. Chances are the venue is going to be in Mono or the PA system will be shitty.

The fact of the matter is you want to create an experience for the audience. If you have a fantastic song, but hide yourself behind your laptop or gear your no better then a DJ and hence you lose the Live element of your act. I cannot stress this enough. Interact with your audience. Go on the dance floor with them, let them see your gear and how you work it, let them see you!!!!!!!!

THINGS TO THINK BEFORE YOU START.

1. What type of music do you want to make?
2. What sorts of Venues will you be performing in (Clubs, Venues, Cafes, House Parties?)
3. How do you like to produce? (Are you hands on, or are you a visual person?)
4. How much do you plan on interacting with the Audience?
5. Do you like to sample or use synths?
6. How live do you want to get? Do you just want to trigger lines, or do you plan on just triggering percussion and playing all melodies live?

There are 3 basic approaches for gear setups. Laptop, All Hardware, and a Mixed setup.

Laptop
Pros:
Everything is in one box
Very visual way to create music on
Very portable
Very flexible in terms of styles of music you can make

Cons:
Latency issues (even asio only gets down to 5ms at best)
CPU: more power costs a lot more money
OS stability is always a problem
Not interesting for the Audience
Very little hands on/real time control without hardware.
Not many "pro" software options for live performance

Hardware
Pros:
Near zero latency
very hands on tactile control
has an "AWWW" factor for the crowd.
Gear is often times specialized

Cons:
Gear is often times specialized
Can become very large and Cumbersome
Midi Routing can become confusing
Most gear doesn't have good on-board effects

Mixed:
Pros:
Software interface with mixed gear
Very flexible for music styles
OS crash, can still run show on hardware

Cons:
Run into Driver/OS problems
costs of midi/audio ins/outs can run high.

Recommended Gear
Sequencer(one of the most important pieces!!!!)
Alesis mmt-8(only get used, pure midi sequencer no sounds)($100)
Yamaha qy-10(only used pure midi sequencer, about the size of a vhs tape)($100)
Yamaha qy-100(same as qy-10 but more features and new)($500)
EMU command stations (recently discontinued sequencer and expandable rompler)
Yamaha rm1x (sequencer and 5 part synth)($600)
Roland MC909 & MC808(sequencer/synth/sampler good hands on control)($1400)
Yamaha rs7000 (sequencer/synth/sampler good hands on control)($1000)

Samplers
Emu Racks/ E series samplers($500+)
Akai Racks($400+)
Akai MPC(good only for percussion/loops, Ill explain more below)($800+)
Korg Electribes($300)
Yamaha SU series ( $150-$450 loop sampler only)
Roland SP series ($250-$600 loop sampler only)

Software
Ableton live for complete setup.($350)
Devine Machine ($300)
Max/MSP
Reaktor

There's various midi only software sequencer out there that are free. Personal taste is best.

Groove boxes (if you don't want a dedicated sequencer)
korg Electribes
Yamaha loopfactory series
Roland MC series

Laptop
Apple
Toshiba
Sony

These are the only companies that manufacture high quality computers that will make it through the night. Never buy Dell or any budget brand. Stability of the OS is the most important thing. The worst scenario you could have is your Laptop crashing in the middle of your set. Do no put anything on the laptop except your music software. It must be a dedicated machine for live performance. Do not use it for work, play games on it, go online, or write papers on it.

You will need to buy an external hard drive of at least 7200 RPM. Laptop HDD's are not fast enough. You will need to buy an external soundcard.

Not recommended gear.
USB gear for a mixed setup. If you plan on using a mixed setup of hardware and audio I recommend using firewire. This will help decrease latency as much has possible between machines and allow for more audio channels to travel down the line if you need them

Music studios:
floops, Cubase, reason, etc etc.
The problem with these programs is that they do not work well with patterns or pattern switching. Most of the songs work in only a linear function which moves from left to right through a song which is restricted by time and patterns. Some don't even allow for you to insert and remove patterns in real time and move playback position without skipping or jumping in the audio.

Misconceptions
Price
The most common misconception is that software is cheaper then hardware. In reality this is not the case. If you are serious about performing live with software you will need to invest in a quality laptop dedicated to performance and music. This at the start puts you in the $2,000-$3,000 range. I highly recommend you purchase your software.

Complexity
Sitting and listening to music is a completely different experience then a live show. What may sound too long or drawn out on a Cd will usually sound perfectly acceptable to loop for a while in a live venue. The audience is experiencing your music, not listening to it. If they are digging a loop, let it play out.

How Live is It?
There is a long debate about hoe live livePA actually is. Despite what anyone tells you there is no right or wrong way to perform live. Some people literally just hit play on the sequencer and then jam out on a guitar through effects. Others make everything up as the go along on the spot. What is considered live is an individual preference and will be different depending on so many factors.

You Will Make Money
Fat Chance. Remember you are a nobody. If you are getting into livePA to make money then stop now. Unless you make a name for yourself 99% of your shows will be free. You are not a superstar.

Getting A Show
There is no sure fire way to make or break a show. Personality has a lot to do with it. Use any communication method possible, but don't solely rely on one method over the other. You will have to approach people face to face and you will have to talk on the phone.

Preparing for a Show
This will be different depending on how you like to perform live, but always make sure you are ready. Have a backup plan!!!!!! You must know what to do if a piece of gear dies on stage.

Bring at least doubles of everything if you can. Bring lots of cables. More then you can possibly need. You never know when another artist you are performing with might need something (relationship building). Always have electrical tape, duct tape, have a good knife and utility tool. Bring a good flashlight. Bring adapters for every type of audio input.

Setup & Performance
Get there Early. Setup Early. Do a sound check if you can.

Learn everything you can about the venue and sound system. Many clubs are poorly wired and can damage your gear. What is good for turntables is not good for gear.
Ask about the power system
Ask about the sound system
Ask about cabling and audio routing
Ask if the PA is in Mono, Stereo or Quad. (Most clubs are Mono)

If there is a sound guy insist on controlling your own mix. Bring your own Mixer!!!! Do not use a fog machine on your gear. It ruins rotors and slides.

Offer to help other people setup, you will learn a lot just talking to people.

If you can try to book yourself to perform early if you are new. The crowd will be smaller and more manageable. You will be less nervous. You you miss a que don't freak. The Audience won't even know. Let music loop around again.

Make sure you enjoy the other performers!!!!!! Have fun and relax!!!!!!!!

Always offer to help cleanup.

Protect your Gear
Protect your gear at all costs. Never let it leave your sight, do not give it to anyone. Setup and tear down as soon as you can.

You do not need hard cases unless you are flying, but padded cases are a must. Simple suitcases with some foam padding are more then adequate.

Last Thoughts
Above all make sure you enjoy yourself. Before and after your set have fun, it is a party, but do not kill yourself with booze and drugs. Remember you are a professional and you should conduct yourself in a professional manner. People may not have only paid for the event, but you are there to make or break their evening. Make sure they remember the night in a positive light. You have something DJ's don't.

Be ready to improvise at any moment. Things will break at every show. Literally every show. Laugh it off and then get to work to fix it.

The true moment when you realize whether it was all worth it or not is when that single person approaches you afterwards and says they liked your set.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Great live pa Article from MUX

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A great livepa article posted online disccusing issues regarding midi setups for hardware and software sets. This article is written by a fantastic livepa performer known as MUX. he is a frequent visitor over at livepa.org and a killer live techno act.

I reccomend everyone checkout his website: Mux's Webiste
Tasty Fressh Livepa Article