Further Records show, 3/25/16

Here’s a couple of minutes from the end of my live show last Friday with Strategy and Timm Roller. I’m just doing audio here—Leo AKA Killingfrenzy did all the visuals for the night.

I was feeling weird about this show but all in all it went OK. It was an incredibly busy month before the show as I was trying to get my new plugin Virta shipped. When I played the show I was just a couple of days from getting that done. So I didn’t put in as much time as I would have liked, but I leaned on some previous patches I had made, and just tried to get the ideas in my head out to more patches as quickly as possible. A couple of intense days in the heated finish room / office in the woodshop (no internet!) got ’er done.

I’m very satisfied with the combination of monome grid, arc, and Soundplane for playing live. This is a new kind of state of being in my life because when I was using other hardware, I was always thinking about which bit could be improved on. But having these three gizmos I don’t spend any time thinking about changing them up. There are so many possibilities and I’m just scratching the surface. OK, you know what, four knobs would be better and would still fit in my bag. So maybe I’m lying and there’s no end to gear lust. Just kind of an exponential decay, maybe, if we’re lucky.

I made a lot of drones and bleeps and had one track of each of Aalto, Kaivo and Virta going throughout the show. Virta makes some very cool drones even when it’s not processing live audio.

My hands still shake a little sometimes when I’m nervous playing live. I think it speaks well of the Soundplane that it faithfully turns the shaking into changes in the sounds I’m playing. Except for the drones, and some delay, I’m always touching the surface to make all the sounds that are currently happening with this setup. So if I can’t be still, the sound won’t be still, and that’s somehow a very honest proposition.

Live A/V at Kremwerk, June 4 2015

I played an audiovisual show last Thursday for the first time in around a year. Dusting off this line of work, I kept the materials I was using fairly minimal in order to have a better chance of making something coherent. Tried to keep my short attention span syndrome in check and make my playing more about listening than it maybe tends to be.

I spent most of my preparation this time writing a new visual toolset. I think part of why I don’t do more live visual work is out of frustration with the existing tools for it. Cycling ’74’s Jitter (now part of Max 7), which I helped write, is capable of doing just about anything with live graphics, and it’s what I’ve always used for shows. But sometimes its particular brand of flexibility can be a liability for me, creatively.

So the tools I’m using now are C++ and OpenGL. They are available on every platform, are wicked fast, and are open standards. If I want to switch to a Linux box for my next computer I can do that. Most importantly, I find it easier to read a big C++ program I wrote ten years ago than a big patch I wrote last year, and readability encourages me to reuse what I’ve built.

Thanks to Chaya, here are some camera phone videos from last week’s show at Kremwerk in Seattle. I opened up for the always-masterful Pole, who was touring with fellow Berliner MFO on visuals.