Computer Music Live (Part 2)

In my last blog I discussed how electronic musicians were adapting live performances to meet the dependency they have on technology these days and how the human element of live music was a strange thing to pick out when the performance is a man and his machine. Carrying on from there I’d like to discuss artists that bring on other musicians to play alongside their music. One of the my favourite recent examples is Pretty Light’s new set up. His new album “A Colour Map Of The Sun” features samples from recording sessions he did with bands in New Orleans, these samples were spliced up, pitched down and otherwise transformed in accordance with his style. He has now begun performing songs from this album live and the session musicians from these recordings are being bought on stage with him to play alongside. Below is a video of his performance on Conan.

Pretty Lights on Conan:

Unlike a traditional band, the vocalist has been moved to the side of the stage to be replaced by the new leading man, the producer. I personally prefer a performance in this style. It’s nice to see session musicians being made use of, as this new one man show makes no room for them and cuts a rich job line out of the music industry; it also makes the music feel much more unpredictable and exciting. I have included a picture of Bonobo playing live with a medium sized orchestra, one of the larger amounts of performers on stage I have seen.


Screenshot from:

On the other side of the spectrum we have musicians who play live instruments who are beginning to incorporate the new technologies (such as Launchpads and motion control set ups) as they become more reliable. In particular, I remember seeing KT Tunstall play live a year or so ago and was surprised to see it was simply her on the stage with a microphone, a loop pedal and a few other percussive instruments. It was impressive to see a traditionally live and acoustic performance be pieced together by one person on stage. She began laying down drum tracks by beat boxing but also played songs to a backing track. In future I think we will see people try to achieve more interesting things in the middle ground of acoustic and electronic performances which will provide a new market for musicians to perform and compose.