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What does "live" mean?


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#1
yiannis

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This has probably been discussed in other forums, but it would be interesting to see what people have to say about psy downtempo.

 

From what I gather, the majority of a live set is programmed on the artists' laptop. I've seen artists tweaking knobs on, to be honest, I don't know what, and occasionally a more traditional instrument - recorder, percussion, guitar etc. My questions are a) what does the knob twisting actually do and b ) what extent of spontaneity is involved in a live performance in your knowledge? I'm sure the latter varies from one artist to the next, so what are the limits in each direction? What is the smallest fraction of pre-recorded material that can be brought into a live set?

 

Be sure that I'm not complaining about anything here; as long as the music coming out of the sound system pleases my ears, I'm happy. Having said that, I tend to think that there is very little added to an average of a 90% pre-programmed set. Full-band sets are excluded of course, as are DJ sets where music is payed in its original form.



#2
Gagarin

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very interesting subject, i have personally been investigating on this and what i found :

 

a) most sets chill / mainstage are pre-recorded. Artists play their "stereo" mastered tracks and even the order is already predefined in Ableton Live / Cubase. Few times i have seen artist playing a 1h long audio file.

 

b ) it is hardly possible to play tracks as if they were still in editing mode (because each track is usually 20-100 audio channels) and some plugins / vst are very CPU hungry so they can glitch at some point.

 

so in any case even if you play LIVE set you still need to do some preparation, export / render files etc.

 

c) knobs and faders can be assigned to anything in software, and in case of LIVE it is usually some kind of audio FX or synths params.

 

d) some artist have really advanced LIVE setups, specially the one that play a lot because they are bored to play same tracks over and over. As an example i can mention Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers and Globular.

 

e) Some artists play instruments LIVE on top of the recorded tracks : Suduaya (plays guitar), Terranine plays violin etc.

 

p.s. there is much more to say on this subject, and i am attentive to other views / infos about this.


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#3
timeisart

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As long as the music coming out of the sound system pleases my ears, I'm happy.


Same here. Although there is something to be said for seeing a live band creating music with actual instruments, knowing that it is a unique, ephemeral experience that will never be replicated the exact same way again and once it's done it's gone forever.

As for live electronic music (or shall I say computer produced music?), it's honestly a mystery to me how they are making the sounds live, I'd like to suspend disbelief and think they are triggering sounds at certain times instead of just essentially pressing the play button. But in those times I find myself focusing more on the actual music than actually watching the person behind the laptop, so it doesn't really matter how it's done.
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#4
yiannis

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I find myself focusing more on the actual music than actually watching the person behind the laptop.

Me too, hence the questions. :)

 

Also quite a few old school psy musicians tended to pull faces while playing, which was a sort of "performance", something to look at. Most artists nowadays will crack a smile at best, so there's not even that to urge me to look at them for longer than a few minutes. But that might be another topic altogether.



#5
Fuluf

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In my opinion, too many people get on the "live" bandwagon these days. I fail to see the live element in playing tracks from Ableton and then turning some knobs to add extra effects on a mini controller which only adds effects. And by effects I mean the regular nonsense that is on Pioneer mixers and whatnot: Roll, Reverb, Flanger, Filter and so on.



#6
yiannis

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Fuluf, I see what you mean, there's not much live playing there, but doesn't changing some of the parameters constitute, in effect, a unique mix, only witnessed at the live performance? The differences might not be too obvious, but at least the artist gives the audience something extra that they can't find on the album. And s/he actually does something, rather than just press play and gently dance about.

 

I might be biased though as I love effects, they add a lot to the psychedelic impact for me.



#7
timeisart

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the artist gives the audience something extra that they can't find on the album.


I also appreciate when artists do this, especially when they essentially do full (pre-made) remixes of their tracks exclusively for the live setting. For example the tracks on H.U.V.A. Network's Live At Glastonbury album sound so different and more dynamic to me than those on Distances, it would've been amazing to witness that live since it would be familiar but different (and better imo).

Compare for yourself:

 


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#8
yiannis

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H.U.V.A. Network were the first artists I saw, erm, live outside a festival setting here. They were absolutely amazing, and neither Solar Fields nor Aes Dana who followed could match up to their combined set.



#9
Klangwirkstoff Records

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So I always arrange everything live. So before the gig, I make loops as audio files so I don't need any plugins and then I arrange these loops live, so it varies from gig to gig and I never know before what I'll do and how long I'll play. I usually play a synth live with keyboard or pad and modulate the sounds live as well.

 

Why play so many live musician stereo files remains a mystery to me, because they really can not do anything live anymore. I've seen many live acts just starting their project in Cubase, Albleton Live or Logic and then doing nothing for over 2 hours. To be honest, that's not a live act for me.



#10
Gagarin

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So I always arrange everything live. So before the gig, I make loops as audio files so I don't need any plugins and then I arrange these loops live, so it varies from gig to gig and I never know before what I'll do and how long I'll play. I usually play a synth live with keyboard or pad and modulate the sounds live as well.

 

Why play so many live musician stereo files remains a mystery to me, because they really can not do anything live anymore. I've seen many live acts just starting their project in Cubase, Albleton Live or Logic and then doing nothing for over 2 hours. To be honest, that's not a live act for me.

 

the only explanation i have is :

1) lack of time to prepare for LIVE set properly

2) lack of skills and concentration to play LIVE propoperly and with out mistakes

3) lack of CPU power to use plugins / VST (which can be overcomed with a "bounce" to audio and preparation, but is a big chunk of work)

 

i can understand when an artist who play 1-2 lives per year is not making a proper live set as it might be too much time for just those 1-2 perfrmances, but the guys who play every week and who charge a lot of money for shows - shall probably make efforts.


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