The 8th B-Day party concert was really fun and loaded with great performances. Special thanks to Christoph for being our virtual stage manager.
This is recording of my 10 minute set from the Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meet 8th birthday party concert. Music and visuals are performed in real-time.
I start by playing a song called “Light Runner” performed on an Elektron Digitone playing notes via MIDI from a Novation Launchpad Pro MK3. I then improvise and mangle a sample from the 50’s using an Elektron Octatrack. This is followed by followed by an improv jam with core patterns on Digitone with lead synth and arpeggios from an Elektron Analog Four MKII being played via MIDI from a Novation Luaunchkey Mini MK3.
Here is the full concert performance (including the video above) with all 7 artists.
If you missed my live stream a few weeks back here is an unedited YouTube live replay of my solo multimedia concert. The performance is a combination of live arrangement and live playing that features original electronic music with real-time visuals.
16:50 “Light Runner” live performance of song from a forthcoming album
22:34 End Program with audio excerpt from the song “They Walk Among Us” from album Reboot
As you can see some of these tracks will be released in the future. Follow or subscribe on my Bandcamp site to get notified of an album or single release.
All the music and sound is from Elektron Analog Four MKI, Octatrack MKII, and Digitone. The machines are not synced. I mostly play directly from the machines, but also play notes on the Analog Four via the Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 keyboard and on the Digitone via the Launchpad Pro MK3 grid. I also use the Launchkey Mini MK3 along with a Logidy UM3 pedal to control Resolume Arena 7 in real-time. Visual sources are from live camera input and other various sources.
The performance got some nice mentions by synth publications.
I got an amazingly kind mention on the Synth and Software Facebook page.
Synth & Software is an online publication and social media community for electronic music enthusiasts—anyone who enjoys listening or who plays, programs, or aspires to make music with synthesizers, samplers, DAWs, audio processors, and other instruments and software…
I view this entire rig as a multimedia “instrument”. One goal in designing this “instrument” was to accommodate the following use cases while being air locked in a performance cockpit where my performance flow would not change whether I’m performing:
Music sets in-person
Music + visuals sets in person
Music + visual sets via live stream
Music + visuals sets in person simulcast via live stream
When I’m performing in person I don’t normally use headphones and don’t look at the monitor on my laptop. Instead listen I to the P.A. or monitors. I look at the screen or wall/screen/scrim where the visuals are being projected. This incorporates the performance space as part of the vibe of the performance.
My streaming equivalent of this is to us a big screen right in front of me and perform with reference monitors at near concert volumes. Performing this way is much closer to performing on stage in front of an audience which puts more positive energy into the performance.
Conceptual Overview of 2020 Rig
Performance Cockpit – The region outlined with aqua highlighter is my performance cockpit where I play, perform, control live arrangements, and visuals.
Music Machines – All sound and music is produced via the following Elektron machines:
Analog Four – Analog synth with 4 synths and effects
Octatrack – Performance sampler, mixer, looper, effects processor, live arrangement of playback when needed
Digitone – Digital FM synth with 4 synth and effects
Live Camera for Visual Synthesis – I compose the camera shots in real-time by moving a Logitech HD Webcam which is a source for my visual software Resolume
Novation Launchkey Mini MK3 – Keys are used to play the Analog Four through hardware MIDI. RGB pads use custom MIDI modes to control Resolume through USB MIDI.
Novation Launchpad Pro MK3 – Velocity and pressure sensitive pads are used to play the Digitone through hardware MIDI. I have custom control modes that I can also use to control Resolume via USB MIDI.
Audio to the house / Audio interface with Loopback for Streaming – Yamaha AG06
Laptop for Visuals and Streaming – Microsoft Surface Laptop 3, Windows 10
Visual Software – Resolume Arena 7 software
Streaming Software – OBS Studio software for streaming
Streaming Endpoint – YouTube…
Using Midi Controllers to Decouple Visual Arrangements from Song Arrangement
In past incarnations of my multimedia show I controlled the arrangement and automation of visual effects for Resolume with Ableton Live “dummy clips” and automation envelopes. This meant the arrangement for visuals were implicitly locked with musical arrangement. For this new rig I wanted to decouple the visuals from the audio arrangement. This would allow me to perform the arrangement of the visuals manually making the experience more variable and unique with repeat performances.
I now control arrangement with the RBG pads on the Novation Launchkey MINI MK3.
Alternatively I can use the Logidy foot pedal for hands-free arrangement.
While I’m pretty busy playing and doing live arrangement, I can also use the Launchpad Pro MK3 with it’s custom MIDI modes and velocity sensitive fader grid feature to control parameters on Resolume.
FYI I’ve written past posts on these controllers in these categories:
My set list is made up of songs spread across each machine and I often perform an entire song using only one machine. In a few cases I will work across machines. For example, I perform the majority of my song “Disconnected” on the Octatrack and the leads from the Analog Four.
The machines are not synced and are not connected via MIDI. This allows for complete freedom to do live arrangement, change my set list on-the-fly. I might have corresponding patterns with matching tempos across machines but I select them and trigger them on-the-fly so I can play around with the pocket, tap tempo to shift or even change tempos or free-form play to add more tension.
Having no cross-machine dependency also means if a machine where to go down during a performance or have to be rebooted (which has never happened), the song and show can go on.
Fits in One Case and a Backpack
Another design goal for the rig was it had to fit into a Pelican 1510 case and backpack. This allows me to fly with the rig as well as load in to local shows with only one trip from the car.
I flew with an earlier version of this rig to Asheville, NC to perform at Mountain Skies in 2019 and manage to jam all this into a Pelican 1510.
With the addition of the new controllers I’m sure I could fit it all in the pelican with some overflow into my backpack.
Thanks for following along on this long read. If you’d like to get blog posts via email opt-in below.
Also swing by my Bandcamp page if you’d like to listen to some of my audio recordings, and my YouTube page to check out move videos.
Some weekend listening and patching ideas for for you. Pink Floyd is streaming full length concerts as part of the @YouTube Film Festival. Plus down below find a link to how to make “On The Run” with OSCiLLOT by Max for Cats.
Head over to the Pink Floyd channel on YouTube now for PULSE which is the first full performance available as part of the four week @YouTube Film Festival. Next Friday, at 5pm, Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii will be added to the Festival’s offerings. #StayHome
Once something streams the video is available in archive form on YouTube. Lots of interesting programs to fill your weekend with music
Panda Bear Set
Here is a video of Panda Bear’s 2018 set from The Sydney Opera House which streamed on Sat 4/11 at 7p AUS. The heart of his rig or this set is two Elektron Octatrack MKI’s 😀.
Animal Collective co-founder Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear), made his highly anticipated Australian debut in the intimate settings of the Sydney Opera House Studio in 2018. A unique blend of experimental-pop, featuring sun-drenched sampling coupled with introspective lyrics, Panda Bear’s careful attention to detail and masterful use of vocal harmonies are unparalleled in modern indie rock. Summoning comparisons to the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson, you can feel the warmth pouring out of the music. Listen to Panda Bear’s album Buoys: https://EMIMusicAus.lnk.to/Buoys
Ableton Loop is a summit for music makers. I was all set and super excited to go to my first Loop in Berlin this year. Of course that isn’t going to happen as the IRL event was postponed to 2021.
So today I was quite exited to learn that Ableton is planning on an online version of this year’s event!!!
With Loop delayed until 2021, we’ll bring a bit of that community to you at home. We’re planning three days of curated live streams and daily music-making challenges, as well as a place to discuss the process of making music and share results. Save the dates: April 24-26. More info is coming soon.
I’ve been to this festival for many years but couldn’t make it this year. I first went to this festival in 2010 and have been 4 times total. This festival was a life changer for me back in as I went just as I was starting out as a solo electronic music artist (after 13 years of gigging in a rock band) in 2010. I met so many amazing people and saw so many inspiring performances! If you want to know what it’s like read my show report from 2010. I’ve also inserted a gallery of photos from some of the past events at the bottom of this post.