This whole "your hardware IS a computer in a different casing" argument is splitting hairs. We all KNOW by saying computer we're speaking of laptops or desktops. I personally don't trust a laptop in a humid dusty smoky environment. I've seen so many laptops crash during a performance it's not even funny. And watching some people simply bent over a screen and press some buttons is rather dull and boring. Believe it or not, there ARE still people who do like to see a table full of gear and someone actually doing something with it. I've played out 3 times here in Seattle since moving here, and every time i've gotten nothing but thanks that i didn't play it safe and use a laptop. They LIKE seeing all the gear spread out. So saying the crowd doesn't care what's being used is nonsense. Of course, using a laptop running Ableton in conjunction with hardware is really the best of both worlds. I just can't get into simply using only a laptop.
It's just a matter of opinions and points of view...
Personally seeing electronic music played on stage by a guy behind a huge rack of synths and keyboards is almost always a synonym of out of date, cheesy music.
I'd rather watch someone tweaking a Max/MSP patch for several hours using only the laptop trackpad.
Personally seeing electronic music played on stage by a guy behind a huge rack of synths and keyboards is almost always a synonym of out of date, cheesy music.
Dunno. AC/DC is doing the same thing for 30 years now and still some ppl like it. In electronic music, there's always this "need for progress". I rarely find great records these days when I go out to crawl thru hundreds of recently released records. They all sound the same. Lush arpeggios, actually the same pattern throughout the whole track, filtersweeps on top of that an a simple 4-to-the-floor-kick with closed HHs in between the kicks. Makes me
Originally Posted by Acid Hazard
This whole "your hardware IS a computer in a different casing" argument is splitting hairs. We all KNOW by saying computer we're speaking of laptops or desktops.
i play drums in an electro band and refuse to use a laptop mainly cos i don't want to play to a click..
i have a yamaha drum sampler which i've got a bunch of triggers and pads running into, and you can load any sample you want into it so i use that to trigger kick, a few tom sounds as well as whooshing noises and build up noises and all that stuff.. synth player has about 4 synths as well as a midi sequencer thing, so can have that controlling one or two of the synths whilst playing a 3rd, or setting up arp patterns etc. then a bassist, and our vocalist controls a hardware sampler for other effects as well as a synth for other stuff and vocoding.
we basicaly agreed amongst ourselves that if we couldn't play it completely live we wouldn't do it, so no laptop and no backing tracks.
oh yeah and the vocalist also has a lexicon unit so he can set different reverbs/delays etc for diff tracks
They all sound the same. Lush arpeggios, actually the same pattern throughout the whole track, filtersweeps on top of that an a simple 4-to-the-floor-kick with closed HHs in between the kicks. Makes me
Well, sorry for stating the obvious, but dance music is clearly not the only kind of electronic music out there.
Personally I don't care too much about what the audience (or the gearslutz in that audience) think about whether I play with a laptop or not, it's the music that should make them move, either pysically or mentally. Nobody in the audience will say 'the music sucks, but atleast he has some really cool stuff on stage so it doesn't matter what he plays'. People come for the music, and perhaps to dance, but unless you're Jean Michelle Jarre nobody comes to be owed by the stuff you drag along, at least not in the first place.
I used to play with Ableton (4) on stage for a while, had my drumcomputers and synths synced to it and ableton would take care of the parts that required synths I could impossibly drag along.
I noticed that it didn't feel right for me; programming the hardware drums and synths was good fun, but turning back to ableton, looking at the screen, selecting a new event and not being able to really program bass and melodies on the spot was just breaking my concentration and rush.
So I switched to the RS7000 and it's the best thing I decided. Playing live is so much more fun for me, and I think my fun translates to the audience. And it really sounds soo much better and bigger... Only thing that sucks nowadays is that despite the rider you send, clubs think you come with only a laptop and a controller, so there's almost never enough space to build up your stuff...
Yup that's kind of pretty much the same as what I do using a laptop instead (apart from the vocals, as my stuff is instrumental). Use various soft synths, as well as a Nord Micro, and SonicCell. Use Ableton Live for percussion triggers. So I think it primarily comes down to aesthetics. In a sense, the difference between a visible laptop, and a hidden minidisc player. Which is cool Maybe I could hide my laptop, and everything would be fine then....
not to go off topic, but...
i love detritus ^_^
i am so happy that i met nicolas chevreux at an iszoloscope / tarmvred / cdatakill show years ago, and he recommended your music to me.
Last edited by revstate; 28th February 2009 at 08:13 PM..
We did 2 big live shows years ago almost without a computer on stage.Ok we had a g4 there which was running the scope plattform for synths but no seq on the computer...see it as power supply for the pci card if you want.
The setup contained:
Waldorf pulse/micro q
yamaha masterkb psd something..its long gone.
mac g4 just running a few modular synths on a pulsar 2 dsp card with the huge 17 inch cinema display which was a PAIN to transport...tft disps were very expensive back then...
roland mc 303.....
Ramsa 16 ch mixer(huge)
All was sequenced with a Miditemp multiplayer.Its a 64 track hw sequencer with 2 ch audio playback and midi matrix(splitting routing etc) you could mute all tracks via remote and play yourself or do everything live/different whatever you want.
We recorded every miditrack into it in the studio from our atari 1040 which was timeconsuming.( 5 min song and 20 midifiles...you get the idea)
It was fun but on 1 show....a3000 was loading the second programm out of 4.It loaded normally but the sounds didnt open.That ment we had to get over the 4 min loadtime again.....worked but..yeah.
jp8000 was switching cc parameters( not 1 but like..10!) unasked and we still dont know why it never happened again ever.
The whole setup with gimmicks like bbe sonic maximiser and all the rack gear in a HUGE 25 he metall rack filled my car completly.Big car.
It was so much carrying and cable stuff(2 huge boxes midi, audio, power etc)
As much fun as it was and the people there enjoyed it but id rather use a laptop as sequencer and a few really cool controllers like my monome 128 and whatever.Its just not worth taking all the risk and for us it was too much work aswell.
I have huge respect for the people who do it.
Maybe we carried way too much, we basically had our whole studio just on stage.
For me personally i do enjoy it when i see a ton of gear on stage because i know what it is or do want to find out what they use.I asked countless people on concerts/liveacts/festivals and shocking or not atleast 90% of them dont care at all.They want to have a good time/dance/chat with people and just enjoy themselves.Thats why we surely dont really care anymore about the etiquette of not using a computer on stage.
And i do make a difference between a party with live acts a concert and a festival.
Its just my oppinion and the experience i made on the partys/concerts/festivals ive been to.
Last edited by MonoBrow; 28th February 2009 at 08:27 PM..
Yeah I like those cards so much I bought the XITE-1 to help propel me into the world of electronic music.
That sucker cost me some bucks.
I had to hang out at gay bars for free drinks to help me save the money.
It was either that or quit drinking.
I played live gigs in just about every club in L.A. for years and never used a computer. Or a sequencer. Or any kind of pre-recorded playback. I played the parts live, just like everybody else in the band. It's not hard, in fact it's the easiest way to do it for a lot of styles of music. I'm not dissing computers, if that's how you want to do it, but you shouldn't assume that they are a necessity.
A friend of mine and I were discussing doing a show this year and it would all be hardware. EMS Synthi A, VCS3 with DK1, Pro-one, EML 101, Space Echos, moogerfoogers, etc.
i did something like that in 2007, with a friend of mine. a single event, but the reception was real good. sound we got this way inspired me to no end.
i'm continuning the project this yr, with a a new line-up. analog synths, tape echos are still here. a nod to modern technology is replacing ARP sequencer and SP-12 with RS7000&Kenton. beside memory, its easier way to mute/unmute "rows", change gate time etc. its setup like this: a friend is tweaking sequenced modulars, theremin, and speech clips in SP-555. im playin 2 polyanalogs, sh2 and rhodes. and a very talented girl joined us recently, on electric violin, and additional keys on OBXa. we're just starting rehearsals for a few upcoming shows in march and april.
besides realibility issues, i stray from laptops live bcs i only need minimalist midi or cv sequencing of analog, not the computer capabilities as a tone generator, or audio playback machine. last but not least, hw indeed has better midi timing.
but i've seen and heard some nice music performed on laptops (w help of few eventides, guitar pedals and other instruments). as long as there is true performance element and emotion in it, i could enjoy it. playin back pre-recorded material but with no interaction and unpredictability is pointless.
I don't use a computer on stage. Sure, it's impossible to get away with playing today's electronic music live without having six keyboardists with four synths each, all bobbing their heads playing perfectly in time to a headphone click track looking like complete dorks.
IMO, it's very annoying to see a laptop on stage. Sure it's convenient, but what does your audience think? More and more, audiences are getting used to seeing laptops on stage. I also think it's sad that audiences now are conforming and accepting this as "performing" and allowing musicians (that are great producers BTW) get away with not really playing an instrument on stage and looking like a dancing clown in front of a laptop.
I don't know of any synth produced band that doesn't use a laptop. A while back I remember reading the "Ask Mike" section in keyboard magazine where this person produced live shows for big names like Madonna, Pet Shop Boys and so on, and they all use laptops for playback, but not on stage.
Does Depeche Mode use a laptop on stage? No. Yet it is well known that they are a band that mostly uses backing tracks with live instrumentation during a live show. To a general public, it is more satisfying to see a band that actually looks like it is playing everything live, than to see a laptop with a shitty controller on stage. With a stadium band like DM, their success depends on whether or not they look like a "real" band on stage.
With my all synth band, I use a playback device live. Hidden from my audience, I leave open parts on my tracks and play those parts live to fill in the blanks. With live electronic music, I can still be a performer, actually play an instrument and I don't have to sound like complete dog crap on stage. No one knows, no one cares, and I get all the chicks. If I had a laptop on stage, people probably would not approach us to tell us how much they enjoyed our show.
On the last tour(playing the angle)They had those 3 spaceship looking thingy's with a midi controller on each one hooked to it's own MAC MINI running logic trigering softsynths/samples while playing over the backing tracks.I ciould not confirm if they ditched the Radar's for the backing tracks but I think they did and all those tracks run on a separate computer running logic.FYI
i really dont care how an individual producer or a band play back their own works...i care about what the music sounds like and thats it.
imho electronic music isnt rock and roll and it doesnt require a star up on stage to be adored. its about the music. alot of electronic music is never ever live, even when it is being made, so to expect it to be backwards engineered just so it can be performed differently is totally the wrong way to think about it.
once i saw aphex twin play his stuff out in a club. he kneeled behind the dj console, occasionally you could see the top of his head. for all i know he could have been mediating but that didnt matter...the music was insanely good and it was his own thumbsup i dont care if it was coming out of a laptop, a dat machine, and adat or an mpc.
first, minimal techno sounds exactly the same like electrohouse sounds exactly the same, like deephouse, like fullonpsytrance, classic music, rock ballads, etc.
having no ableton live onstage does not automaticly makes your liveset better or worse. if you put up your vintage 808 on stage and say "look here, I do not play with ableton live like all the kids haha" but only playback your predefined patterns, than your liveact hasnt made any advantage - besides of some backstage insiders which will say: wow he got an 808, wowowow this must be much better compared to a software-sampler wowow. bla bla blub blub. and with this time the liveact is loosing controll from the crowd.
dont understand me wrong. playing but 1:1 studiotracks playback as a "liveact" sucks big time. but dont get your eyes blind by some big maschines on stage. it absolutly depends on how the artist is using his gear, no matter if computer or maschine.
therefore you cannot judge liveacts only looking in the maschines he is using - in case you have some understanding of how such maschines work and not work.
First of all, all "hardware" digital stuff are computers sincey they manipulate data to a set of instructions. They have an OS, they are programmable. There's no difference in concept if you have 16 synths connected to an MPC or 16 synths connected to Live or whatever. If you just press play, it's the same thing.
However, the public will see things differently: using laptops or desktops is boring while having a "real" thing (what most of you guys refer to as hardware) is not.
So I ask you, if someone would use a Korg Oasys on stage, would you consider him as using a computer?
Because Oasys IS a computer (like a desktop or laptop), with the following specs:
2.8 GHz Pentium 4 CPU
40GB hard disk drive
1GB DDR RAM, user-expandable to 2GB
10.4" LCD touch screen
Also, if someone used a Receptor or a V-Machine, would you complain? Probably not, because you wouldn't see anything that resembles a computer physically (i.e. a BIG screen or a keyboard) but in fact they ARE computers (just google the specs if you must know).
Furhtermore, some genres can't be performed without a computer and some are actual computer music (i.e. music programming language)
In order to conclude, I don't think the use of a computer per se is bad, but merely the way you show it to the public. If you have a custom made box with a small screen and attach a controller to it (no mouse, touchpad, keyboard or whatever) then no one will complain or even suggest it's a computer, even if it actually is.
It's not necessarily a bad thing to use one, but I believe it's the show/performance that matters. Don't focus on the means, do whatever suits you best and make a great show.
PS: I went to a Jean Michel-Jarre gig last year in November, he used only analog hardware stuff on stage, including a sequencer (analog one) and he had 4 guys helping. From my point of view, that is a real computer free performance (although he used something to play backingtracks/loops). If you're using a 909 and say you're prowd that you don't use a computer, you are either a hypocrite or just naive and not aware.
I say this again: focus on the actual performance :D
Susceptor, you probably didn't read the Acid Hazards post on top of this page. We're all aware of the fact that machines like an MPC or RS7000 or the lovely 909 are using microchips that can be described as special purpose computers. Please stop splitting hairs.
I do agree that it also depends on the performance itself. Meaning the way of performing, the way of creating the music "live". Unfortunately, it's a fact that a lot of minimal techno "live"acts sit behind their ableton-fueled-laptops doing nothing pretty much. Firing pre-set scenes, adjusting filters on some of the synthlines.
Whereas with an MPC, some keys and such, you can actually PLAY. And the audience can see that, too.
Sorry for that, this wasn't the purpose.
I was just trying to show that you can mask using a computer (either by using Receptor, V-Machine or by using a custom designed case, perhaps smaller and less PC looking) and focus more on playing and performance itself.
I also was trying to prove that it's the same if you have a sequencer and hit play or have Live and hit play - and personally I don't like if someone "performs" like this.
Pfft... what I'm trying to say is that maybe it's not the fact that using a computer on stage is the problem, but the way they're used. However, I do agree that playing back studio tracks or firing pre-set scenes just sucks.