Performance Paradigms

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This page is a forum to discuss live performance with electronics as a general topic but also as specifically relates to our upcoming show at CellSpace on November 30th.

As it stands right now, the general concept is to perform together as an ensemble for the duration of our half hour of allotted time. So let's get creative. When we played at KZSU it was more or less a jam with very little preconceived structure. I think it's time to move beyond that, at least a little.

First a quick rundown of who's going to be in on this. Please add your name to the list below along with a detailed description of what instrument you intend to play (i.e. if you write "laptop" please elaborate further).

The Ensemble so far:

Chris Warren: 8-string bass, mixing
Adnan Marquez: saxophone, sampler
Gina (Gu Yiqing): laptop, flute
Diana Siwiak: flute, laptop
Colin Gilboy: paper, pencil, wires and laptop (explain later)
Ethan M. Hartman: guitar, box amp, voice, etc
Baek Chang: Microkorg, Laptop

Ok, now that that's out of the way, let's get down to business...

Here's where we put the ideas. PLEASE add/edit/elaborate, but let's not erase anything just yet.

          • Idea #1: Series

All of the people who are performing on laptops wire themselves as a chain, the output of each going into the input of the next. So each person takes the sound of the person before them and modifies it before passing it on. Kinda like a big game of telephone. The last person in the chain sends their sound to the audience, but also back to the first person in the chain.
(1 vote from Gina!) (1 vote from Baek, this sounds awesome)

          • Idea#2: Chuck Choir

Each laptop player is given a sample and a simple Chuck script. The script is a basic Karplus-Strong-style recursive lowpass filter, so when you change the delay time, you change the resonant pitch of the sample. By modifying this time, and adding and replacing shreds, each player can create a chorus of their own sample and the group as a whole becomes a wall of sound. A lead player structures the piece by indicating density (any volunteers?)
(1 vote from Gina!!)

          • Idea #3: Drum Machine Circle

At a specific time, we all start short percussive loops at the same tempo. Each person then unplugs from the main PA and we disperse through the audience, playing through our laptop speakers. Then we let the phasing work its magic. This would probably be cool as a set closer. Ladies and gentlemen, the MSTs have left the building.
(1 vote from Gina!!!)

          • Idea #4: Slowly, Loudly

Sort of a drone piece. Each player makes a continuous sound and tries to change it AS SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE. The desired effect would be a cumulative block of sound that, while it clearly has a certain shimmer to it, displays no obvious movement that the listener can discern.
(1 vote from Gina!!!!)

          • Idea #5: Semi-composed

I (emh) come from a bit of a jazz/improv background, where often times we work with pre-composed melodies and go from there. Obviously this might not be as conceptual as some of the other ideas, but we could start with a composed melody, with a pre-arranged setting, and do some improv from some structures, do a bit of arranging. I've been thinking of Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance" which is performed on the Miles Davis Quintet's "Miles Smiles." It's basically a melody, and only has a loose harmonic framework, so I think it might work well getting de-constructed, taken apart into loops, etc. We could pass it around like jazz improvisers, breaking up the roles, or build some other kind of arrangements there.

          • Idea #6: NOISE!!!

We should start the set with 1-2 minutes of pure noise...LOUD AND BEAUTIFUL NOISE!!! Here we are free to do whatever we want and go bat-s#!& crazy for a bit. Afterwards we segue into a "piece". How's that for a shocker?

          • Idea #7: Your Idea

Gina: see...I have voted for everything:P even blow different size of bottles~

          • General remark: I think everyone that is performing should have a very simple/streamlined setup in order to 1) simplify setup/breakdown, and 2) make the performance more dynamic. How? well, the main problem with computer/electronic music is that the reaction time from a performer is greatly reduced because he/she is concerned mostly with what is being displayed on the screen. So, not much attention is being put on the overall sound and the actual musical event. By reducing distractions it is possible to create a situation in which people actually listen to others and can make some good music...what a concept!

A thorough working knowledge of your gear/instrument and some sort of "virtuosity" is also needed to facilitate things even further and make them more interesting. This key when doing improv otherwise your just fooling around. My next point is related to the "pieces". In reality we will play 3 or at most 4 tunes due to the 30min set. So we should definitely have a planned set list. If we are indeed jamming for one piece we should try to time it and have some strong improvisers leading the pack. All of the above mentioned piece ideas are good, but I suggest trying to break the conventional electronic music performance model. How? don't know, let's get together and think! Otherwise, it will be a "it was cool 5 minutes" performance and that sucks. (AMB)

As far as rehearsals go, I doubt we have the time for much as the end of the quarter looms near. So instead, I propose we develop our ideas on this forum to the extent we can and then once they've taken shape, we have a single rehearsal a few days before the show.

Oh, and as a final note, Carr asked if we had a name. Any suggestions?

"Maladies Sexuellement Transmises"

“In composing, as a general rule, run your pen through every other note you have written; you have no idea what vigor it will give your style.”

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