As a companion to Primus Luta’s story on artists and live electronic music performance, we’ve compiled a gallery of videos of the artists featured in action live.


Richard Devine

Tim Exile

8 Bit Weapon

With the fabulous ComputeHer on visuals, using her Apple II.

Mark de Clive-Lowe

The Flying Skulls

Not actually a video that does this crew justice, but you get the idea…

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  • watcher

    have some more coke, jeez buddy.

  • quantize

    hmm that's more disturbing than entertaining…I REALLY like the dude's music, but that's not a 'show' i need to see/hear live…

    This video proves wanking over some blinking lights still doesn't come close to someone boogeying on a bongo!

  • disappointed dj

    i agree quantize. it is disturbing.

    overacting does not hide the fact that he's barely pressing anything on the monome….

  • myika

    geeez, if that's all quality electronic music performances, i'm starting to get used to idea that that electronic music scene do suck. sad

  • another dj

    well i don't know where those guys are from, especially the first one but i've seen "live acts" like that here in europe get booed off the stage.

    and mr devine poves that 10,000 dollars of equipment do not a musician make. (thinks thats from yoda).

  • decrepitude

    Well, I think it's amazing and fascinating really. These guys are playing significant gigs around the world and you sit in your arm chair pointing your "wanking over some blinking lights" finger. Man, you guys sound older than me and I'm 45.

    "Overacting?" DJ's are REKNOWN for doing this so wtf? Daedelus is putting on a show and if you're really familiar with him, you know that he is "genuinely" feeling it.

    What's really "sad" or "disturbing" is ignorant people posting pious comments on blogs at 3 in the Frikkin morning.

  • decrepitude

    Doh! Time stamp fail. Ouch. Ah, well…

  • I'm kind of on both sides of this.

    I think of all of those videos, Daedelus is the only one who actually looks like he's truly enjoying himself. There's better video of him where he's really engaging the crowd. I get that it takes pretty much all your limbs to do a solo electronic live act, but I feel like if you at least moved around a little, looked like you were enjoying it, it would be a better set. It's the same with non-electronic acts. A band like Kings of Leon just stands there and plays their instruments and while they're extremely tight, it makes for a boring show.

    Even with the shittiest musicians…if they truly look like they're engaging and enjoying what they're doing, it makes the show better for everyone.

  • Based on these videos and Primus Luta's post, I'm guessing that live electronic performance needs to be accompanied by dance beats to be done right?

    Since moving to the beat seems to be a good 50% of these performances, I'd really like to see some performances without dance beats that folk still think are good.

  • Ryan

    Not everyone needs to overemphasize gestures.

  • Okay, I may have gotten a little carried away with the headline.

    Primus Luta picked a selection of artists he obviously cared about and felt were related, and I think it's a good sampling of a particular scene — not so much any one genre, but I think these folks are related and there's a story to tell.

    I don't think you can — or *should* — do a survey of absolutely everything. Anyway, we don't need to; this is a *daily* site. We've got time; we don't need to get everything in a single post. 😉

    The videos aren't all ideal, no, and of course you lose something when you go to a YouTube video and the like, anyway. So, please, go ahead and criticize — but make it intelligent critique, or it just looks like you're whining.

    And yes, if the video doesn't come off well to you personally, then that should be a lesson to anyone capturing live footage.

    Jaymis covered some ideas about how to make this work better:

    I'm guessing all our more reasoned commenters are out at the beach or something?

  • Justin Reed

    not sure what folks are on about – the daedelus video is brilliant i think. An amazing live presentation of his music freestyled with a monome tilted outward for audience involvement. He's jammin the goddamn box! (dunno bout the coke comment-since he keeps it up for 45 minutes-seems like a nervous tick) And wanking? if you call live remixing, breakdowns and track transitions wanking then ok. i guess by that logic all scratch or party djs are just "wanking".

    What I hate are the stiffs in the audience. Sure, there is some head nodding hear and there but for the most part the vibe is weak. Reminds me of seeing jeff mills in madrid in '99 3000 people in a packed club and almost all of the spaniards were just staring. I was jackin'…

    (is this a spanish thing to stand still listening to dance music?!)

  • Can't imagine… the Spaniards I know all dance. 😉

  • paco

    I would have to agree that these videos are far from being inspirational. It just seems like a whole lot of acting busy and watch how fast and how much I can change the sound or trigger something. And I suppose the audience is supposed to be impressed in the sense that oh they're such masters of the technology and oh it's such interesting technology.

    The problem is that quite simply the music is not very good. It's disjointed, lacking in groove, coherency, harmony, vibe etc. and is more demonstrative than anything. Step up and play a keyboard or something, do something in real time, be a real musician. The general gist of these videos is apparently that these performers seem more preoccupied with being cutting edge technologically than being musical.

  • Justin Reed

    @peter – seriously jeff freakin mills on three decks and a 909!? it was an odd sight to see 2000 people barely registering the performance…

  • Interesting comments so far.

    Just thought I'd chime in a bit here and say there's a lot going on in those videos. I mean a lot. And very little if any of it is acting. Genre preferences aside, my hope with the article was to begin bridging the disconnect that makes appreciating the depth of that difficult. You can look at the Daedelus video by example and just see a cat 'acting' really excited while a box of lights flashes. But if you appreciate exactly how those flashing lights correspond to the music you are hearing, the hope is that you can appreciate the skill level involved. It is then up to your preferences to determine whether you like the results, but regardless of your preference, if you can appreciate the skill, that appreciation can not be removed.

    The only comment so far that I would take note on is the idea that there is the need to fallback to more traditional instruments and musical concepts. I think that is completely off base. While not new, there is very much a frontier nature to electronic music performance in 2009. So much more to be discovered. I sincerely hope all of the artists working in this realm continue to push forward, and as they do so the conversation around it increases so that the language of appreciation can continue to grow.

    Oh and @Steve I think what you're looking for is coming and probably already out there, but its value is locked in the audiences appreciation of such. At this stage electronic music is still regarded for the most part as dance music and so that is the expectation of the audience. But as the audience begins appreciating the intriciacies beyond how their bodies respond to them with movement, the more they will actively seek them out in other contexts.

    Here's a link to a story from last year which in many regards was an inspiration for this piece –

    Unfortunately there's no video but the point is pretty clear.

  • wow…

    im really suprised at how this was received…

    this was a really dope little collection…

    great job primus…!

    i feel that all of these people are bringing something that has been sorely missed from electronic music….

    they all have a drive to expand the boundaries of what can be done inna live setting…

    shure… some of my FAVORITE artists are missing from this list….

    but i got to see some new things i'd never heard before …..

    dance music aint your thing? (mine either)

    but it doesnt take away from the point of the presentation……

    we are finally coming close to letting amazing electronic musicians be musicians on stage!…

    how is that bad?

    and how is complaining about the videos helping anything?

    if this isn't good live electronic performances…. then invent the "proper" live show … and show us….

    we'd probably all check it out…

    not bitch…..

  • DJTJ

    For a long time I've been trying to figure how to present a "show" rather than just stand up there. Someone like Stephan Bodzin puts on a good show in my opinion. Never the less, I did receive some good advice from a long time electronic musician, Onyx Ashanti.

    He told me that you have to be like a Magician putting on a Magic show. You have to let the audience see some things but still keep the "How is he doing that?"

    I personally put a video camera over my Jazzmutant Lemur during my sets. I also tend to over exaggerate my movements when I play synths on my Akai EWI.

    People who go to see electronic musicians now how technical a performance can be. It takes a lot of concentration because of the multiple things going on. The people who think that it's lame just don't understand.

  • @edison

    I wasn't complaining that it was dance music, so much as I think (at least in these videos) the automated/propulsive beat and the dancing/bobbing it engenders serves as a bit of crutch to both the music and the performance. And I would have liked to have seen a more mixed bag, to get a sense of doing a solo computer-centric performance from more than just one specific angle.

    This post and the essay that inspired it do well at showing performers move away from the laptop jockey pressing-play-checking-email stereotype, moving to I guess what could be described as a kind of controllerism. I watched a few more Daedelus performances on Youtube, and I think he does a good job of this kind of thing, protestations in the first few responses here notwithstanding.

    Trouble is, in all of this, ignoring the computers entirely, solo performances are a tough sell in general. The computers just serve to make it all a slightly tougher sell. Watching some Daedelus performances with his monome, not unlike watching a solo harpist. How often do most folk watch solo harpists? Here's one:

    Pleasant, skilled, but personally, I'm not all that eager to sit in an auditorium and watch it for an hour. So I think as solo performers, computer folk are always going to run in to resistance, whether they're monsters of dexterity or not.

  • @ steve….


    so what you're saying is …

    it's not so much the genre…

    you just dont like watching doods play music…

    i mean if you were to compare the flying skulls…. to the tim exile video…

    it's completely different!

    totally different vibe…. different genre… different approach….


    i'd watch that harpist, for as long as he wanted to play….

    that was incredible!

    if that guy hadda laptop too….

    all the more interesting possibilities…!

    here's some other things…..

  • disappointed dj

    at the risk of sounding "pious", i want to make some points that often are ignored and taken as self evident (these relate to the postings here).

    – "These guys are playing significant gigs": according to which standard of measurement? i guess with this logic anyone who plays let us say the royal albert hall are musicians of standing – back street boys for example.

    – "i’ve seen “live acts” like that here in europe get booed off the stage."

    i guess because the europeans don't have any taste in music. americans ARE aware that there are other tastes in music that are equally valid right?

    – "Even with the shittiest musicians…if they truly look like they’re engaging and enjoying what they’re doing, it makes the show better for everyone."

    really? don't you see that's the reason why there are so many shitty musicians? because you are satisfied with that.

    – "And yes, if the video doesn’t come off well to you personally, then that should be a lesson to anyone capturing live footage."

    no one was saying anything about the video quality.

    – "I’m guessing all our more reasoned commenters are out at the beach or something?"

    you are not serious with that i hope.

    – "What I hate are the stiffs in the audience. is this a spanish thing to stand still listening to dance music?!"

    it of course never once occured to you that the audience simply did not like what they were hearing. but since we know from the above comment that europeans have no music taste, and only the american style of music counts, everything is clear.

    – "Step up and play a keyboard or something, do something in real time, be a real musician."

    that's a joke right? this IS cdm…..

    – "seriously jeff freakin mills on three decks and a 909!?"

    get over it. tastes are different. realise this and expand your horizons.

    – "we are finally coming close to letting amazing electronic musicians be musicians on stage!…"

    dont't know where you've been but we've been watching amazing live electronic acts for 10 years: S.U.N. Project or neelix come to mind…

    ok if you sat through that rant, my respect to you and thank you. btw if anyone is offended by my seamingly anti-american views (which i DO NOT have), well, i am an american; so there 😛

  • decrepitude

    "While not new, there is very much a frontier nature to electronic music performance in 2009. So much more to be discovered. I sincerely hope all of the artists working in this realm continue to push forward, and as they do so the conversation around it increases so that the language of appreciation can continue to grow."

    EXACTLY. I totally agree and applaud this statement. This is precisely why I am such a fan of electronic music.

    But yeah, many good comments given here – even if some of them set me off. 😉

  • "so what you’re saying is …

    it’s not so much the genre…

    you just dont like watching doods play music…"

    I don't think that's what I was saying. Maybe I was more negative there than I needed to be.

    Then, I'll amend to say that a solo harpist holding court for an hour is going to run into the same issues of audience engagement as a solo computer musician. So if we, as solo computer musicians, are looking for some ideas on performance, maybe we should be looking closely at what solo harpists do (or other such solo performers).

  • newmiracle

    disappointed dj-

    "'Even with the shittiest musicians…if they truly look like they’re engaging and enjoying what they’re doing, it makes the show better for everyone.'

    really? don’t you see that’s the reason why there are so many shitty musicians? because you are satisfied with that."

    I hate to admit it, but sometimes that's just the way it is. Music should be judged solely as just that- the music. But shows where 'things are going on' just seem… well, more fun. Or maybe I should say exciting? Anyways- it's different.

    Afterall, if it was only about the music then would you go to a show where a guy stood on stage and pressed play on a laptop? Actually, maybe some would- but even then you'd have to admit it's a "different" kind of show. Part of the rise of the cult of the DJ in the 90's was the fact that good dance music was being made- but when you went to listen to it, it was "a thing". There was the guy, and lights and smoke machines and shit, and he was spinning records. It was mysterious and exciting.

    Not anymore. Obviously, the mistique of spinnging is gone. Now we have to deal with it as entertainers. And that is what we are, by the way. Entertainers.

    I went to a house show this past weekend- an Italo Disco act. Guy with an 808 and some synths, and a girl singing. Pretty nice. Of course, in Portland- dance music doesn't get as much love as it should (imho). But since this was 'a band' that was 'playing instruments' then all the hipster kids showed up.

    After their performance, the dude went on to freestyle a set with his gear. Nothing too complicated, a understandable 'build up, break down, etc' type format. Fun, kept the crowd moving for sure.

    But if I had recorded that performance, cut it into tracks and mixed it on vinyl- people wouldn't have given me the time of day. Now, is that bullshit? Perhaps, given the fact that the music would be exactly the same. But, I can't deny that it's just… well, more of "a thing". And people like those big deal, 'wtf this is craaaaazy' type wildness.

    I've been thinking about this topic alot lately, wondering what could be next and how I can step up my game. Maybe I'll expound a bit more if this discussion keeps up.

  • disappointed dj

    well still i'd rather go to a show with good music and a "lame act" than the other way around. i think most people if they are really honest would agree.

    that said, i have a huge lp collection and there are surely some records in there that i bought just for the cover although i can't stand the music. hmmm. puts a bit of a hole in my own theory i guess 😉

    hey some good points there newmiracle.

    i'll give it some thinking over….


  • Skeptical

    Wow..what a bunch of "Wimpy" wankers !

    Man, take it back to the roots, I am so tired of all these lightweight blips and beeps..grow some nads lads !

  • @disappointed dj

    see, i would be in a personal hell at either of those shows…

    much respect for them doing their thing…

    like i said its not about the genre…

    but youre completely missing the point….

    neither of your examples are wizardry at its best moments…


    neelix adds effects to a prerecorded mix…

    the article is about pushing performance of electronic music….

    we got better means and technologies now…

    sorry man… but personally

    i'd vote for the harpist….


    not to sound defensive… but ive been recording music for the past ten years….

    and the ten before that….


  • deb

    as i have posted in the past here, please do check the work of the raster noton crew. olaf bender (byetone) did a set here in toronto recently that





    sound and light. a screen, a p.a. and a dude rockin out. nuff said.

  • I still don't get why people are so moody. I think we cover the gamut here, down to people playing sets with bicycles. Take whatever from this you will – just be able to articulate what you don't like (some folks here are doing that, others are not). But my assumption as the editor here is that we should keep providing a range of stuff. "We report, you decide" … heheh.

    @deb: Stay tuned — I have interviews ready to post with both Raster Noton and their visualists, Derivative. Getting those out the door asap.

    But I do find it ironic that that'd be the counter-example, as that stuff – as near as I could tell – was extensively, extensively pre-arranged. Nothing wrong with that, mind, and I love what they do. But it does mean that you don't get as much variety set to set.

  • It's interesting that feathers seemed so ruffled here. It's been interesting reading this article and the responses. The one thing that I've really got from it is that Daedelus, career strategy aside, has the egde because he's distilled what it seems to be that people are waiting for at the moment… the visual correlate of what's happening in the music. There's a lot of tension between the lovers of music and lovers of the show, and this is telling. There are comments about how watching a band stand still and play their instruments on stage is boring. Playing of 'instruments' used to be the benchmark for electronic performance… the thing which it could never live up to.

    It seems what's arising is the yearn for the fully immersive experience. Not just audio, not just visuals, and not just disconnected audio-visuals. This is what Daedelus has that none of the other acts incl. me have, and this is the big communication factor.

    I have put so many hours into making an instrument which I can improvise freely with (NB improvise first, not perform)… and I'm beginning to realise that this will never be understood, save for a small niche of tech-heads, until there is a clear visual representation of what's happening.

    Stages these days are so huge, colourful and automated that in all honesty I often find their presence (the sound and lights) more impressive than the particular artist or their music. As electronic musicians, we have the key to tap into this technology and provide the next generation of entertainment which it seems to me people are yearning for… the immersive experience where musicians (maybe musicians isn't even the right word… A/V performers?) can use these huge and powerful structures, not leave them to dance their own dance, but to synchronise to what's happening on stage… synchronise to tempos, structures, live camera feeds, personalities, styles… and augment, illustrate and explain what's going on.

    The guitar was a powerful meme which represented the conquests of a couple of generations of rock and rollers and brought this in a succinctly explained format to the stages of the time. The stages of now have so much more possibility. They are the uncharted domain of predominantly electronically facilitated performance. Acoustic instruments will have to adapt to this new environment… but first we have to drop the swords of the last generation and get on and make electronic performance what it can be. This is already happening and it's very exciting.

    PS can I direct people to a better vid of what I do…

  • and pps why isn't beardyman mentioned here?

  • german roadie

    well edison,

    don't know what you saw but as i know neelix well i can say he uses ableton live on the lappy to his right and sends it through the dj mixer controlling it with a midi keyboard. additionally he has analog synths back and to his left that he sequences live and improvises to. maybe you saw a show where he "only" dj'ed.

    "neither of your examples are wizardry at its best moments…"

    i guess living from their music and playing regularly in europe, brazil and japan disqualifies them from your tiny list.

    and especially since YOU have been recording music for SO long, you are obviously the standard bearer – come down to earth.

    whatever man.

  • Esol Esek

    wow, cool discussion. While I agree that someone getting into their music at times may look disturbing, especially keys or a console (guitarists and vocalists look the best getting into it, depending on their charisma), the FACT is that people who pay to see a show enjoy a performer who is getting into it. I've seen the hottest chicks fall for dudes I thought were idiots on stage. That translates into earning your pay with music, a real dream, so I think that settles that topic.

    I'm not all that crazy about this Daedalus song either, personally. I saw Derrick May recently, and thought the start and end was average, but there was 20 mns in the middle that was the sh*t. Kind of what improv electronic is about. If you're hitting all the time, then you're just spinning your hits. However, this medium has more future to it, and it helps a lot to have a real love of keys and guitar like I do, because original melodies matter as much as samples. Picking apart the groove is like a puzzle as well. People think its simpler than it is. Just have fun with it people. It can be lifeless music or full of life, and you dont have to rely on others. It's all you. Sometimes I hate it, and think it's all posers, and then I like it all over again.

  • es
    Sleeparchive – very engaging!

    I kid, although I do really, really, really enjoy sleeparchive and have loved him the times I've seen him live. But, I think the motionless nerd behind the laptop is a sthick that works with the type of music he's pumping out. If SA was rocking out behind his laptop it'd seem odd.

  • disappointed dj

    i don't think it's a shtick, more a style.

    see the kraftwerk video posted above.

    i think the point is that it's obvious to most people when someone is posing. that's a turn-off i'm sorry.


    a poser whose talent does not appeal to a large number of people will not last.

    however, a guy/girl sitting/standing motionless behind a laptop or sampler but playing stuff that people like WILL last.

    history proves that.

    "That translates into earning your pay with music, a real dream, so I think that settles that topic."

    are people REALLY so superficial that they accept the diluting of the quality of music just to have a good "show"? well then i'm embarrassed for you all.

    by the way-> mr. exile

    his stuff is not to my taste BUT

    he is the perfect example of someone with a huge talent. he's not dancing around like a puppet stuffed with firecrackers. no, he's moving to the music and moment with TRUE feeling while operating/playing his "machines" – it's self evident that it's real to anyone with human emotions. there is no comparison to the artists listed above.

    my fullest respect to you sir!

  • Well, look, this was really meant to be a video gallery illustrating the folks Primus Luta talked about in his story — to me, it just seemed more manageable to have it broken out into a separate story than all these video embeds at the bottom of his article. So, indeed, there's a LOT more that could be said about this and a lot more work that could be shown.

    As it happens, this discussion came up at MUTEK, too, as it often does. I think most of us agree that punching the air and such is silly. And yes, people interestingly seem to become more accepting of motionless dudes (and dudettes) behind laptops, but that's because it's all about content – and there's quite a lot else to experience other than looking at the performer exclusively. I always got bored visually watching musicians play in orchestras, because to me the musical content was more imaginative than a bunch of people standing around in tuxes – not with any less appreciation for the job they were doing and how miraculous it is. Now, of course, we have the technology to feed people different visual experiences.

  • disappointed dj

    content! exactly! that was the word i was searching for, thanks peter.

    obligatory plug for createdigitalmotion at the end there.


  • "i guess living from their music and playing regularly in europe, brazil and japan disqualifies them from your tiny list.

    and especially since YOU have been recording music for SO long, you are obviously the standard bearer – come down to earth.

    whatever man."


    dang dood…

    i just dont get it….

    what does their successes have anything to do with what they are doing on stage and how they are progressing live electronic performance?

    im not attacking anyone…

    i mean why would i not be happy for people making a living off electronic music?

    disappointed dj asked me where i had been for the past 10 years….

    so it told him…

    but then he states "neelix" as the man…

    youtube it…

    you get a 5 minute video of a guy twiddling knobs on an oxygen 8

    i just thought the discussion was about who was pushing the envelope…and how….

    i thought primus hadda dope list!

    i come to this site everyday for the goods…!

    so ..

    wheres the beef hoss?

    internet… win!

  • disappointed dj

    well actually such a misfired diatribe does not even deserve a response but i'll try.

    have you even tried to understand the CONTEXT?

    no one stated the neelix was "the man". only that he comes to mind as someone doing this for 10 years. sorry if you only saw one clip on dupetube – try neelix's website – he uses motion controllers and other things in his shows.

    the same goes for s.u.n. project which you for some reason don't mention a second time. they hand controllers + micros out to audience members etc.

    both are examples of people pushing the envelope but in a consistent and truthful manner – meaning no histrionics.

    btw. no one asked you where you were for the last 10 years. you think that i guess because you did not get the context.

    enjoy your lunch!

  • disappointed dj

    i wondered where that quote "i guess living from their music and playing regularly in europe, brazil and japan disqualifies them from your tiny list." came from.

    i see now that a "german roadie" wrote that.

    it would seem to me that people that have actually seen the artists in question live; and even worked for them are a tad more qualified to … ah whatever man. you don't want to understand.

  • for disappointed dj….

    "not even deserve

    they hand controllers

    no histrionics

    “the man”

    think that i guess

    them are a tad


    no one asked you


    it’s a shtick


    it is disturbing


    overacting does not

    micros out

    misfired diatribe

    mi mi mi mi misfired diatribe

    your lunchlunchlunchlunch

    obligatory plug

    “lame act”

    you are not serious with that

    at the risk of sounding “pious”"

    ra-ra-ra REMIX!

    im over here pushin boundaries on message boards son!

    you win the internets!


    p.s. big ups to steve…

    "So if we, as solo computer musicians, are looking for some ideas on performance, maybe we should be looking closely at what solo harpists do (or other such solo performers)"

    point well stated!

  • newmiracle

    Just a thought about the tone of what is going on here.

    Feel free to disagree with me, as this is just a theory. But, this seems to speak to the viability of electronic music in general. That's probably why people are so worked up about it.

    How many articles have you read where people say, "MP3 downloading being what it is, indie bands will have to rely on touring and live performances to make money."? I've read plenty of those the past few years. Then to see electronic music be criticized for it's inability to execute in a live format- you can't help but make the logical conlcusion that electronic music itself might be in some kind of peril.

    Then you have to ask yourself, what should change? Do you adapt to create more compelling live shows? Or should we just change the perception of what a "show" "should be"? I think on some level it will have to be both. In general, it's fun to have physical control over your music. As someone who moved from DJ to producer, I still have those fidgety DJ tendencies (cut the volume, twiddle high mid and low knobs, etc). So I think we'll have more live control of our music, if anything just because it's just fun.

    But really, is it ever going to be 'good enough' for the critics of electronic music? For some people, if it doesn't have a guitar or drums or keys- it ain't music. Perhaps it's a knowledge issue, sure. That will always be an element. But some people, unfortunately, are just purist assholes.

    It reminds me of a video that was on vimeo (I'll look it up later), of a dude on a monome 64. I think he may go by the name "Edison"? Each button was mapped to a sample. That's it. No quantizing, no click track. Just this dude getting busy. Where ever it was posted, people were making these shitty comments like, "meh" or "just playing samples" or "this is cheating" etc etc.

    If straight up live sample triggering an entire track on your own can't be described as musical skill- then I give up. I'm just going to avoid the old buzzards of rock and roll and do what I find satisfying.

    Food for thought.

  • newmiracle

    lol I'm an idiot- Edison, I wasn't paying attention to the commenter names. I'm talking about you!

    haha, well- obviously now you know I'm a fan! Keep up the good work.

  • disappointed dj

    whatever "dood".

  • Downpressor

    @timexile yep. Beardyman has the performance aspect down and does tech stuff that many heavy KP users envy, but the key thing is he doesnt look like he's doing technical work at all.

    I tried watching these vids with the sound off so I could check for performance. Didnt see much though I'll admit to not having watched all 44 minutes of Daedelus. Went back and checked some of it to see if I liked the music. Some of it I'd enjoy in a club, but none of it entertained me in the way that looking at a band or actual solo performer does.

    The analogy was made to a harpist. A harpist or a concert pianist, the technical wizardry of their performance is mostly just as invisible to the audience as an electronic musician. The big difference is everyone knows you cant fake a very technical acoustic piece while on the other hand everyone suspects that you are faking an electronic performance.

    As far as electronic music being new for performance,or envelope pushing, I call horse hockey. We've had 30 odd years of this stuff on stages. Some get it right, some dont. Go watch any of the vids of YMO performing live then watch these again. 808 State put on a good live show back in the day, so did/does MBM and many others.

    In my book if you are doing something that is essentially DJ work (even if it involves a bunch of electronics and no records/CDs), stay in the booth and dont pretend you belong on a stage (notable exceptions for performance turntablists who are putting on a show).

  • i think Tim Exile made one of the most important points when he said he'd noticed that audiences members respond to obvious connections between physical action and the production of a sound.

    this 1 to 1 correlation between physical action and sound is what can make performance of traditional instruments engaging (assuming the instrument is played with obvious skill and/or undeniable emotion.) i feel like it's this 1 to 1 correlation, missing in most CPU-centric music production/performance, that automatically/initially distances a listener somewhat from the experience of performance.

    also – if you push a button (which makes no sound on its own) and a drumloop (or texture, or pre-produced drum hit, etc.), there is a very obvious disconnect between physical action and the sound one hears (this obviously being a much more significant disconnect for the listener than the performer). so, that disconnect being extant, it's only reasonable to expect a corresponding disconnect between audience and performer.

    also, i think there are probably issues of memory/experience and motor neuron activity (the neurological mirroring of what we're experiencing) that arise, and play a part in accounting for the disconnect in the listener/audience. but that's probably getting more technical than necessary — i think we're all aware that watching someone sing directly in front of you is a far more compelling experience than hearing a recording of that singer, or watching a video of their performance.

    this article seems to be mostly solo performer oriented, so never mind the long history of successful electronic music performance by groups such as Depeche Mode (internationally mainstream more than 20 years ago).

    i think Downpressor made a good point about the realistic expectation of performer and audience… There's no reason to expect a crowd of people to be entertained by button-pushing. the link to the Kraftwerk concert video demonstrates that a total unifying concept can go a long way toward making something entertaining (although, despite enjoying the music and video presentation, i find it likely that i would've still found the Kraftwerk concert ultimately boring).

    some of the most interesting performance of electronic music that i've experienced happened 20 years ago— a performance of Hafler Trio (andrew mackenzie – concrete ambience, and a fine maker of very interesting cd booklets with bizarre poems, stories, images, etc.). He just played a DAT tape for the musical content, but as a performer, he enacted a mysterious ritual in the center of the performance space, starting a small fire, seeming to intone the spirits of unknown forces, smearing ash on his face at the end. the music was very loud and intense and the performance matched it, and was very intriguing to watch.

    at the same concert, Phauss & Karkowski dawned chainmail armor and had an electrified/amplified sword fight on a large metal plate — sparks flying everywhere… again, very entertaining.

    something UNIQUE, a new experience, the performers very well aware of the fact that just simply reproducing their brand of electronic music on stage would be boring.

    interesting visuals can help.

    interesting music can help a LOT.

    i'd much rather see a live hip-hop band w/rappers than 3 guys doing instrumental beats/textures on machines. it's just no contest in terms of compelling performance.

    so as musicians/artists we owe it to ourselves and our potential audience to be honest and realistic about our own creativity and performance practice.

    why expect people to be excited/entertained by "a performance practice" that, when broken down and analyzed objectively, isn't particularly exciting or entertaining?

    1 to 1 correlation between action/sound is exceedingly important in terms of creating connection between audience and sound. if that 1 to 1 correlation doesn't exist, then consider other alternatives for engaging an audience.

    i enjoyed watching a chiptune show with wildly enthusiastic geeks pushing a button, and playing arpeggios on old commodore vic20, but it wasn't enjoyable for very long (so kudos for short songs and a short set!). at the same concert, i most enjoyed some very detailed evocative laptop music produced by Bubblyfish. She simply stood behind her laptop tweaking parameters but the music she was producing made up for her lack of physical activity as a "performer" by dent of its evocative nature and lack of mainstream conventions (such as the dance and hiphop beats we all love to the point of hating). at any rate, my enjoyment of the music had a lot to do with my expectations—- but also the quality/originality of the music.

    personally, i applaud the hard work of a Tim Exile in creating a flexible performance rig (and i applaud him for being thoughtful about this subject), but if the music he's producing doesn't appeal to me, that's not necessarily because: A) i'm ignorant of the tech-work behind it, or B) because i'm a "purist asshole" (who disdains electronics). As the author of the article states, i can respect the artist's effort without liking what he produces in the end.

    people respond to music for reasons both very general/sociological/neurological, and very personal. most people attending an electronic music show probably know what they are there to hear, so maybe we should surprise them? maybe we should give them what they want? why do they like your music in the first place? give them more of that and then give them some extra on top of it.

    but it's not very productive to second-guess your audience's expectations. and i don't think it's very productive to expect an audience to appreciate all your time/energy and production skills or to applaud you for them.

    do we applaud a guitarist for all his/her practice time, or for the MUSIC they produce in performance? Nobody cares about how a comic writes his/her jokes!

    If you're a comic, you better know what's funny (and have some original material).

    if you're a musician, you better know how music works (and have some original material).

    for the rant, i won't apologize. i applaud the article and commentary just for making my mind race about all this– and i certainly didn't say all of what i've been thinking about in the last couple of days.

    (and thanks to the poster of the links to Dosh–i really like the basement jams, the aesthetic, the musicianship, etc.)

    and bless New York for all the people involved in group/activities like SHARE and Warper and Handmade Music, etc. (and Unity Gain in the old days,, and for Rake/Hellbender/Monkeytown on the A/V performance circuit)

    good luck to everybody — study electronic music's history and development and MAKE MUSIC FIRST & FOREMOST for YOURSELF.

  • PS

    as a musician/drummer that's played in a lot of bands over the years (from rock to avant jazz to electronic), and has also spent a lot of time by myself behind a computer (at home & on stage), i have to say that creating music live (drums/piano/etcetc), on the fly, with other human beings, has been for me by far the superior musical/life experience

  • @disappointed dj

    werd “dood”.

  • decrepitude

    Ere' ya go:

    Beardyman and Tim Exile!!!

  • Although I'm not entirely sure they qualify with their poppier recent work (of which I am also a fan), I'm surprised no one has brought up Hot Chip's earlier live shows.

    In interviews they've committed themselves to using as much live synth performance as possible. But possibly because they're music is less "electronic" and more "pop" with a lead singer do people connect with them so much?

    Check this:

    When I first got into electronic music (only two years ago) that video was really inspiring for me personally.

  • disappointed dj
  • disappointed dj

    ? auto refresh?


    i wanted to asked for curiosity's sake what's the record for postings here at cdm – off the top of your head.

    i've been coming here for awhile now and over 50 postings seems out of the ordinary….

    just wondering….

  • 50 comments is probably a *summer* record, but we've gotten above 100 a couple of times and one thread — can't remember which — hit 200.

    We're not YouTube yet, however. 🙂

  • disappointed dj

    200?!? wow cool.

    ok thanks! °!°

  • @Peter

    What about Koitz Roller reference?

    He is the person who records the first video for

    a Spanish Turntablism community web.

  • Grooveshysta


    I have played with deadelus. Supported him and his band the long lost. He is one of the nicest cleanest living people you could meet. I think his music is great however, I am English so have no taste.

    If you question this guys musical tallent, then check out what his background is. Also listen to some of his albums particuarly Inventions. Listen to him play guitar with Long lost. This dude plays Bass Clarinet.

    Its funny you bitching about all this kind of music. You all sound like my Dad and he is well old. I bet his Dad said the same kind of thing about Jimi Hendrix playing with his teath and my Dad thinks Hendrix is far out man!!

  • sam

    Franquly i hate dj laptop sets like deadelus ones or devine ones , because it is still laptoping even with tons of gizmos…

    i like when regular bands use electronic instruments , or bended machines , once in the show because it allows some variations.

    nobody talked about NOZE , they are great producers and play a cool live act , with singing , playing the minimoog ect… a true performance compared to Daedalus one lol…

  • Steve Elbows

    Interesting to see all the comments about this stuff, as I've long been fascinated by how the performance side of electronic music will evolve. I guess Ive been pondering it for roughly a decade, and to be honest progress seems to have been much slower than I dreamed many years ago.

    Some of the gaps are being filled. Hardware controllers have got cheaper and more visually interesting. Motion sensors and other clever realtime analysis of human movement are starting to reach a useable and accessible point. Technology in general has lower barriers to entry now. Given another 5-10 years that side of things should have reached a sufficient point to enable many possibilities. Imagination, risk taking, the way electronic music is created, and the types of people making it is a bit restricted but hopefully that will evolve too. Maybe some currently nonexistent genre of music will emerge that is well suited to performance wackiness in ways we dont imagine right now.

    Just one example would be creating music where the composer is basically programming various instruments and the overall structure of the track, and many of the instruments are then played live by people moving their bodies in strange ways/dancing/using some wacky hardware controllers.

    But right now I hardly even see a midi wind controller on stage let alone anything more exotic.

    Im also interested in projections being used to show various parameters of the song & live performance control in simple but good-looking ways that a crowd could connect to and enhance the whole performer-audience thing.

  • Pingback: #liveelecmusic: Further Reflections on Live Electronic Music | AvantUrb()

  • ra

    hey, where would we be with this discussion if everybody started playing the Millioniser in 1982!

    (anyway: interesting discussion proving that this is an important topic. looking forward to reading more posts on cdm about it.)

  • sosoundz

    Prefuse73, Live@Cooler, Bristol (07-07-09)

  • A nice article about this subjet by Robert Henke

    Live performance in the age of super computing….

    And good advices in Part 2

  • i think part of the challenge here is a feeling of disconnection between artistic movements w/ computers / controllers and the resultant change in the music … w/ Daedulus' piece what was hard for me was that I wasn't often getting a clear link b/t his monome tweaking and the resultant shift in soundscapes … but the man is clearly a mad genius in my book, so I write it off to the complexity of the set up …

    for something more tangible this is a beautiful illustration of tight controller, computer, music integration from our boy edison:

    bigupz bruv.


  • ah, just noticed that I am echoing Tim Exile's and love all music's comments. so … ahem … +1 and as you were.

  • geewhizpat

    mmmmm…I am 58, female and in the bifurcated world of being a 30 year pro bassist and now an electronic synth player…I am kinda in the Tim Exile frame of mind and very open to where electronic music can go…I liked the "A/V player" comment because I think it is right on…the old word for it was performance art…I appreciate the effort it takes to keep the right brain and left brain going (tech and music)to create a new dialectic in performance…in particular, Daedulus, it reminds much of struggle for lightning speed and accuracy in the hand separation of playing keyboards…in any music that pushes the barriers the absence of ego tinged with the wild exploration of youthful thinking is required…I think that was called improv…as a woman who has done this for years, I get tired of the ageist remarks and the dumb critiques of genre bashing…it keeps us from the wonder of creation…keep on pushing the barriers…I love you all!

  • egon77

    Just wanted to say regarding Richard Devine. I had been to his site and listened to some of his sounds and usually my reaction was "well, that's a little too noisy for my taste" then I saw him perform live at the Analog Live performance at the Cal Arts Redcat Theater and he blew my mind.

    The sheer sonic spectrum that he delivers is amazing. There were times where I was frightened of where it might go. Can my ears handle it? And he took you on an adventure. It built and built then suddenly went left then right. It rose to an ear piercing almost inaudible high pitch then suddenly to the thickest boom that would make your guts rumble. It wasn't dance music. It was much more artistic then four on the floor nonsense. I respect his music now for that.

    On the topic of live laptop music, I find watching videos on the internet of button mashing fun and exciting because you can clearly see what is being heard. That their actually playing something like an instrument. In the live environment its much harder to tell. I feel that if the musicians displayed their fingers on a screen it would convert more skeptics over. Of course, first and foremost you have to like the music and it seems that for many people posting on this comment list that it's just not their cup of tea. Which is kind of ironic, actually.

  • jono wise

    i think, that we havent discussed the nerd factor,espeacially the 8 bit weapon when he introduces the comodorre 64 to the audience, (that gets the biggest cheer of his set), im a nerd , i like rock , i like electronic laptops on stage, i dont care if it looks cool or not or like im not doing anything on stage, i dont think the audience really cares as long as they are happy

  • Kenny_b

    I haven't read all these comments, but some early ones seemed to imply that electronic music performance doesn't require as much skill as a band with "acoustic" instruments. Coming from 20 years of live performance experience on guitar and percussion and only recently (in the last 5 years or so) moving towards synths and electronic music, let me just say that button pushing still requires a great deal of practice, especially when incorporating multiple elements like seperate loops for various parts and various sequencers, as well as self modulating synth patches. It really takes about twice as much practice as even my most dificult guitar pieces, and 10 times as much stress in live situations. And we're not even talking about the initial programming of synth patches, arpegiators, step sequencers, grooveboxes, and recording, processing, and ballancing samples. It's a mountain of prep work, and building a fluid live performance around all these elements takes tons more skill than riffing off a minor pentatonic over blues changes. People who criticize "live" electronic music are coming from a place of ignorance. That being said, there are still those out there who "cheat" using premade samples from catalog cds, rely on presets for their synth sounds, and let Ableton Live to all the grunt work.

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