Live performance in the age of supercomputing, a good essay on the past & present of electronic music, and how we make it happen:

The more operations that a computer in the bedroom studio was able to carry out, the more complex the musical output could be, and the less possible it was to re-create the results live. A straight techno piece made with an Roland TR-808 and some effects and synth washes can be performed as an endlessly varying track for hours. A mid 90s drum&bass track, with all its timestretches, sampling tricks and carefully engineered and well-composed breaks is much harder to produce live, and marks pretty much the end of real live performance in most cases. To reproduce such a complex work one needs a lot of players, unless most parts are pre-recorded. As a result, most live performances became more tape concert-like again, with whole pieces played back triggered by one mouse click and the performer watching the computer doing the work…

Fame puts the performer on stage, away from the audience. Miniaturisation puts the orchestra inside the laptop. Fame plus miniaturisation works very effectively as a performance killer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s