What if software could leap off the screen, transforming into physical form? Ander’s custom controller for live performance looks like just that. An epic array of candy-colored buttons, with a dizzying arrangement of knobs atop it, it’s the opposite of what many live performances these days can be. Rather than a spectacle that distracts from the live performance, it is a spectacle that embodies the performance – not only Ander’s physical gestures, but the way he conceives his music.

By making all of his set touchable – even though that involves a lot of advance preparation – the performance it self becomes improvisatory. As he says in the video below, “every time you play, you generate something different.”

The controller looks like it it’d be at home in the command center of the Death Star. But we have some actual music here, as well. The Swiss-based artist Ander builds his entire musical work around live performance, so the connection between controller and composition is essential.

Here’s what Ander is doing musically, and what this is like in action, live:

There’s a free snippet of the new single “Guess Me,” some slightly mad, quirky minimal techno. It sounds like what some evil scientist who built something like this would be jamming to in their lab – smooth, yes, but slightly twisted.

The track dropped on Beatport at the end of May on Nice Try.

Back to the controller and the details of how Ander works, the Ableton User Group in Zurich has a long-form interview. (It’s not as long as it looks – there are inexplicably some minutes of black silence at the end, perhaps an homage to John Cage.) It’s worth watching through, as it goes into the details of the controller and the performance, but also how Ander uses Ableton Live.

Lots of other information and reflections can be found on Ander’s website: