Quit your job, leave your loved ones, stock up on food, and get ready to destroy your life with videos from YouTube. Network Awesome, a kind of curatorial “TV” network full of free online videos, has been assembling the best documentaries dealing with electronic music online, with hours and hours and hours of things that could basically keep you from, ironically, reading this site for the rest of the week if you like.
This isn’t just some random assortment, either. There are thoughtful assortments and surprise discoveries, including a celebrity-chosen set of some pretty far-out live shows pulled by Jan St.Werner of Mouse on Mars. (How Jan has time to watch YouTube in the midst of an obsessively-detailed production process and punishing touring schedule, I have no idea.)
As Network Awesome’s Jason Forrest tells CDM:
We have guest curated shows by Soul Clap & Mouse On Mars as well as specials on Aphex Twin, Clara Rockmore, Giorgio Moroder, Daft Punk and pretty much every other interesting electronic musician you can think of.
You can find everything on one massive archive page from last week. But here are a few favorites of mine, if the official Network Awesome page made your eyeballs fall out:
A collection of Aphex Twin videos:
An epic collection of IDM classics (remembering that the IDM dream of the 90s is alive on CDM):
Autechre – Gantz Graf
Plaid – Itsu
Aphex Twin – Donkey Rhubarb
LFO – Freak
Pan Sonic – Telakoe
Cylob – Rewind
Bogdan Raczynski – Ahou Bouken
Squarepusher – Come on My Selector
Seefeel – Fracture
Amon Tobin – Esther’s
µ-Ziq – Zombies
Oval – Ah!
Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy
Channel 4’s 2001 docu “The Shape of Things That Hum” covers a significant lineup of electronic instrumental milestones, including the Minimoog, vocoder, Yamaha DX7, Fairlight CMI sampler, Simmons, Roland TB-303 and TB-808, and Akai sampler.
Live appearances by Jean-Jacques Perrey:
An all-live collection selected by Jan from Mouse on Mars:
1. Whitehouse – Live Action 39 Reseda 6-21-84
one of the coolest live electronic music perfomances ever. if kraftwerk would have performed like that they could have skipped the robot fake part and go straight to pop heaven.
2. Masonna @ Helluva Lounge, Kobe (May 2010)
not really pure electronic, rather an effect distortion cabaret in a beautiful stage design. you don’t know if any of the sounds are live and still it is such an outstanding performance.
3. Yannis Xenakis – Mycenae Alpha
it’s always hard to identify which actions exactly trigger which sounds in an electronic music performance. xenakis’ upic system provides the most obvious and honest translation: you can see exactly what you hear. as live as it gets in granular synthesis.
4. Jacques Tati – PLAYTIME
tati’s playtime is one is of my most favourite movies ever. it’s all choreographed around sound. this is a sequence in a hyper modern office building where the concierge is playing the most fantastic sequencer imaginable. replay, switch off the image and just listen to the sounds.
5. Tatu Tyni’s tap dancing cards
tatu tyni the godfather of skweee in one of his magic dance trigger performances.
6.Radioboy live @ Music Plane
perfect performance with a noble purpose. herbert as radioboy replaces the 808 with flaky cornflakes packages. bonus: introduction by mtv veteran ray cokes.
7. Michel Waisvisz – Crackle Synthesizer
michel waisvisz’ crackle synthesizer, probably the most immediate and beautiful synthesizer ever built. unfortunately it’s not michel who plays it in this video.
8. Michael Waisvisz – the Hands
so here is a clip with michel waisvisz, inventor the crackle synth. michel was also the director of steim, amsterdam’s legendary institute for electronic music research. he is using his other famous electronic instrument “the hands” in this clip.
9. Dick Raaijmakers – Intona (1992)
as there is no category for live microphonic music we lump this into live electronic. dutch composer dick raaijmakers doing all the things you ever dreamed of doing to a microphone.
10. Dj Elephant Power – Scratch Tv- Part 2
to round up this little journey into the world of concrete musical abstraction here is a live scratch anthem by dj elephant power.
Delia Derbyshire, Tom Dissevelt and Luc Ferrari feature in a collection of electronic pioneers working primarily with tape and simple electronics (before modulars and computers transformed the techniques of the medium):
Selected by The Sadnesses, Theremin virtuoso Clara Rockmore is seen in a series of performances and an interview. Whether she’s the only person to “master” the instrument is debatable, perhaps – but she is certainly incomparable.
The complete list: