NIN: Echoplex – Live at Rehearsals, July 2008 from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.

Jaymis at Create Digital Motion was admiring this video and watching the Lemur action at the beginning. It further inspires me to custom-install a touch overlay on my laptop, which isn’t terribly expensive – having touch in a live playing situation is really quite nice.

But as I watched the video and its modular synth action and Novation gear, I actually found myself thinking about something else: why aren’t more bands this tight? Most importantly, why don’t more bands simply use in-ear monitors when they’re working? Lots of bands now are adding drum machines again, working with more complex rhythms and harmonies, mixing electronic and acoustic elements. Yet you’ll often see them playing live trying to stay together with a monitor on the floor, and they not surprisingly go out of tune and out of step.

Shure makes a number of fairly affordable models with different in-ear attachments for adapting to different situations. Frankly, just about anything would work. There’s also no crime to routing a separate output with a click track. That’s something even a lot of “serious music” contemporary composers are doing these days. It’s not always the right answer, but there are now situations across genres where it makes sense.

The main thing is, set up so you can take advantage of the musicianship you’ve got. And on that note, while readers here regularly knock Nine Inch Nails – something along the lines of, “if they weren’t NIN, you wouldn’t care” – imagine if you hadn’t heard of this band. They’re an extraordinary group of musicians. Plenty of brilliant musicians labor in obscurity, but it is comforting to know that some of the light of fame is hitting people who can play amazingly well.

Now, sing along: “You will never ever ever ever / own this much gear.”

What? That’s not what they’re singing?

(Actually, the lyrics “You will never ever ever ever get to me in here” can also work nicely on the door to your music studio.)

NIN Visuals:

For once, the visual environment is actually upstaging the sound gear lust. See this video on the “stealth” LED screens, cameras, particles, and … lasers. Mmmmm, lasers.

LEDs In The Sky: MomentFactory’s “Show Environment” for Nine Inch Nails [Create Digital Motion]