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Thoughts on playing live


Flint Kids, Syl Kougai, Esem

Our mini-tour is over and it gave me so much food for thought. It has been more than ten years since I first came across the friction between musical complexity and the ability to perform live. It hasn't gotten much easier since.

  1. My own music has gotten harder to perform live. Even though I've simplified it so much for the set, the styles that I use - funny signatures (5/4+4/4, 7/8, etc), irregular loops, lead-ins, tiny variations, and lots of cross-routing effects, make it so hard to perform non-scripted, unless I split in two and bring two identical setups on stage. This is yet another reason I love ping-pong sets with friends so much. Small steps for now, I guess.
  2. Syl Kougaï and Flint Kids are awesome! Both brought their unique personalities to the music - Danny's playful tunes sound so British, and Syl puts so much more than a few thoughts behind his dark sonic barrage. The best part is you could speak to any one of us and you'd instantly recognise later whose music is playing, even if you had never heard it before.
  3. ... which many people hadn't. Lille and Nijmegen both seemed resistant to electronica, especially my obscure sounds, dating from the "mp3" decade of lossy sound and streaming services ruining live music experiences (a.k.a the 00s). Utrecht was better, the music felt right the most at Tivoli.
  4. I still don't like hearing my own tracks play loud, but I'm warming up to the sound treatment required. Sound checks help so much in this, but some places, like Merleyn, really ask for changes to the arrangement. Some music, notably Syl's, not only needs the volume, it tells a whole different story once the dB-s are way up.
  5. You can squeeze so much out of an old machine these days! Once dedicated to the sole task of running my Live sets, my 5+ years old laptop worked reliably. While it limited the number of things I could do with it, this was also a touch of good luck - I couldn't complicate things beyond a certain point, a mistake I've done in the past, and one I wasn't ready to do again.
  6. Today's artists are busier than ever - daytime work and time to prepare and rehearse have to co-exist with normal social life and the occasional sleep. I don't think we'll find a better way to demonstrate how much we love doing music. On the other hand, we had people come from afar to hear us play, so the exchange is only fitting.
  7. Promoters can make or break an event. While it's easy to focus on the money-making aspect of a gig, every now and then along comes a person who wants to make an artist's visit an experience beyond setup-play-cleanup. Our extra day in Lille was fabulous - a visit to Lille/Toufflers's hidden spots, Bourle, dinner in a church, and climbing up the old wooden stairs all the way to the top of the bell tower. Scary and exciting. Florence brings change to Lille. Keep an eye on Les Charades Électroniques.
  8. In this news-dominated cynical world, it's almost too easy to forget that, outside the media stories, the world is actually full of nice people who love spending a few minutes exchanging warmth and positive emotions. Thank you, everyone who made it to La Péniche, Merleyn, and Tivoli! Till next time.
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