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  • improvisation/live play

    Curious about people's experiences with improvising electronically.

    Zoviet*France and other projects I really look up to have done some stuff that I believe is basically "live" using delay, acoustic instruments and such. I've fiddled around with the idea of trying to create some kind of setup via laptop or tablet to be able to improvise, create loops and "play" them on the fly.

    I don't really know what's out there in terms of this kind of thing as I don't currently own a tablet, and what I record with at home is so sparse (currently 3 pieces of software, and very old school hardware), has anyone attempted this sort of thing?

  • #2
    Most everything I do is sort of a live performance. I am not much of a musician, so every pass is improvised.

    Most all of my ambient work is a single pass layered recording, with no overdubs. Warts and all.

    That may explain why I have no audience. :razz:

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    • #3
      Originally posted by aoVI View Post
      Most all of my ambient work is a single pass layered recording, with no overdubs. Warts and all.

      That may explain why I have no audience. :razz:
      And we thank you for it my friend. Seriously, revealing so much character through live performance is such a gift. Truly appreciate it!

      Cheers,
      -S1gns
      Synphaera Records
      Space | Time | Matter

      Comment


      • #4
        That's an interesting question, particularly in our branch of music. Most of my stuff so far has been a mixture of totally improvised, single take recording and micro-edited programming. The last few weeks I've been trying to get to grips with a setup built around Mobius Looper and guitar. I'm pretty much there now, but, frustratingly, the first time I got the setup partly working I came up with something unlike anything I'd ever done before (in a good way ;) ) after about 15 minutes it was as though I'd entered another dimension where no matter where I put my fingers on the guitar, something beautiful came out...unfortunately none of this was recorded (as i said, the setup was only partly working) so you'll have to take my word on that ;) Anyway it gives me something to aspire to...

        So if you have the patience, you could check out Mobius - it's quite tricky to set up, but the manuals are pretty exhaustive - it looks like a good way to get a one-man performance going. Apparently, Ableton Live is the weapon of choice for live performance (I suppose the clue's in the name), but I can't comment from experience on that application. I'm sure some of the guys around here could though.
        My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
        Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

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        • #5
          Originally posted by aoVI View Post
          Most everything I do is sort of a live performance. I am not much of a musician, so every pass is improvised.

          Most all of my ambient work is a single pass layered recording, with no overdubs. Warts and all.

          That may explain why I have no audience. :razz:
          :rotf:
          My new album is available now, here: https://thoughtexperiment.bandcamp.c.../supersymmetry
          Check out my (hopelessly out-of-date) SoundCloud page: https://soundcloud.com/thought_experiment

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by aoVI View Post
            Most everything I do is sort of a live performance. I am not much of a musician, so every pass is improvised.

            Most all of my ambient work is a single pass layered recording, with no overdubs. Warts and all.

            That may explain why I have no audience. :razz:
            That is hilarious! Most of what I do is either improvised or "planned improv" - where I have a gist of an idea / framework and run with it. I also record audio live - and generally leave the mistakes. Humorously I've found the mistakes sometimes end up being the best bits. On the other hand - sometimes it's just totally awful - and I just start over and record the whole track again.

            I've found that usually the first couple takes are too noodly... the 3rd and 4th generally are the sweet spot between "live / improve" and "planned" - and any take over 6th... well - then it's just too sterile and it's time to pack it in. I'll often get it to where I want the part to be on the 3rd take.

            Bear in mind - I'm an ambient guy and my takes can take 18 minutes to get through... ;-D hahahahaa.
            owner / artist
            relaxed machinery - organic .: ambient :. techno
            http://relaxedmachinery.com
            open creative community: https://ello.co/elloambient

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            • #7
              Such a great video - when I first saw it a while back I kept thinking "why on Earth would Warp release this interview...this guy is awful at it--he talks the whole time..." then I caught a flash of the gold tooth and realized what was actually going on.

              I love how decorated his workspace is with ego-boosters and his desktop is himself. My fav part is the segment about "sending 'round a roadie" to smash up the bike of the teenage downloader of his music.

              The last line is pure gold.

              I actually own the 4th book down under the grammy.

              Thanks for the responses to my first post, too.
              Last edited by aoVI; 11-04-2013, 05:10 PM.

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              • #8
                I improvise quite a bit. Both of these are improvised:

                https://soundcloud.com/michael-jm/another-moment-alone


                https://soundcloud.com/michael-jm/desolation-of-the-odontomachus


                The piano piece I went back over it and reduced the volume of about 3 or 4 notes, and the guitar piece I just played it back and overdubbed some synth in one take.

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                • #9
                  For me the whole act of composing comes through improvisation. I usually play "by feel" each line and then improvise the overdub. It's much of a hit and miss style :D

                  Now I'm working on a setup make all this live with laptop-playback, delay and reverb on guitar and bass and finally switched on sustain pedal on synth.
                  Most important I think is the delays and reverbs, so I can focus on the multiple instruments live without leaving too large quiet spaces.

                  I'll upload something on my Soundcloud when I get that far ( computer problems atm :( )


                  http://soundcloud.com/owtkri
                  [ówt krì]

                  www.owtkri.org

                  www.alrealonmusique.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There are two fine tools I use for 'jams' one is Audiomulch, which acts as a VST host in addition to having some weird inbuilt tools of its own for music generation-- it also contains a series of fairly sophisticated inbuilt loopers. This record : http://toaster.bandcamp.com/album/epiphany and several others I have done were done in audio mulch-- I usually do a few takes and pick the one I like best. I also have been leaning towards Bidule more -- it's also a darn fine VST host, with a lot more routing flexibility. I don't care for it's loopers, so I use Mobius.

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                    • #11
                      Really liking Audiomulch, thanks for the recommendation, great piece of software..too bad i'm so cheap lol, but very nice that you get a lengthy trial period.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        In my improvised broadcasts (you can find them on youtube under noisetheorem), I spend a lot of time beforehand preparing the elements. What I actually end up *doing* with those elements is anyone's guess once I get in the moment. It's all about trusting your instincts, really. That takes time to build that trust, and Ill admit that I still almost always think I am making a complete fool of myself as I improvise, but when I listen back to the tracks later I am often surprised to find that what I did was, if not good, at least passable.

                        Here is my most recent broadcast:
                        http://soundcloud.com/noisetheorem/t...sunday/s-5AkYy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by NoiseTheorem View Post
                          In my improvised broadcasts (you can find them on youtube under noisetheorem), I spend a lot of time beforehand preparing the elements. What I actually end up *doing* with those elements is anyone's guess once I get in the moment. It's all about trusting your instincts, really. That takes time to build that trust, and Ill admit that I still almost always think I am making a complete fool of myself as I improvise, but when I listen back to the tracks later I am often surprised to find that what I did was, if not good, at least passable.

                          Here is my most recent broadcast:
                          http://soundcloud.com/noisetheorem/t...sunday/s-5AkYy
                          I'm going to announce it right here, NoiseTheorem will be our special guest on this Sunday's ambient online podcast!

                          Stay tuned for an in-depth interview and exclusive tracks...only on ambient online. ;)

                          Cheers and keep up the good work!
                          -S1gns
                          Synphaera Records
                          Space | Time | Matter

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            enjoyed your latest sunday night drone!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I do a one take improvisational style.

                              as an example



                              Here, Novation controller plays Plugiator Ion Prophet 08 and JX10, baby korg controller plays the Zebra Lead, Mopho has audio out and plays Minitaur and Ace, and the beats are from Tempest which is new, so learning how to program beats and integrate in real time, ahem, which is still a bit tricky and uncertain. And finally I lean around behind me and do one hand on an old 73 Rhodes.

                              I usually at some point use small stone weights to hold down keys on something.

                              In this tune some of the beat comes from the P08 part.

                              18 tracks in all.

                              Doodling in set up usually gives me the start note and basic progression, but parts stopping and starting more often on the fly.

                              I mostly do things this way. Sometimes when tracking individually, suppose I'm no good at it, the part I add ends up being stilted and more static compared to doing this more freeform, so I don't often track individually.
                              I use velocity control alot to bring up or down individual instruments as they will all behave differently with velocity if in a midi chain for example, and the attacks and releases sustains etc different.

                              In a way, alot of mixing gets done before I push record and go for it. Don't use EQ much, rather make adjustments like cutoff, resonance etc, octave up or down for a part, find another patch etc, get the spread I want, then do the improvisation.
                              After the audio tracks are down, I'll adjust individual track volumes, but that is about it.
                              Use outboard effects, about half on the way in to the box, and half on send/returns from and back to the box, and I guess I rely alot on what effects the synth has itself.

                              Been interesting reading above and seeing similar experiences.
                              http://www.ourstage.com/profile/fateatc/songs
                              http://www.reverbnation.com/fateatc
                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/fate_atc/

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