Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by Jabberwalky » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:36 pm

Re-Member wrote:
Jabberwalky wrote:So what you want is another Depeche Mode? How else would someone perform most electronic music entirely live.
Depeche Mode actually play along to backing tracks and have done so since the very beginning of their career. It wasn't until "Songs of Faith & Devotion" that they started using live drums, but even then, the drummer is being fed a click track to keep in sync with whatever backing tracks or prepared sequences they have going on.
Yes, for sure. They are a sort of generalization since I can't really think of any fully live synth acts, unless we get into some of the punk s**t like The Screamers, Primitive Calculators etc.

I liked how DM always had the reel sitting on a chair center stage to clear that up early on.

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by Re-Member » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:58 pm

Jabberwalky wrote:I liked how DM always had the reel sitting on a chair center stage to clear that up early on.
I always thought that was great as well, haha! It was like the biggest middle finger to the audience ever, more punk than punk itself. I know that the Human League and OMD did the same early on too. I seem to remember that OMD even named their backing track machine for press releases or something like that. That reminds me now of this Throbbing Gristle live album I have... there's an intro where Genesis PO says that no backing tracks or tapes are being used, then shortly after a tape ends up playing repeating the same exact thing he said and the whole audience just starts laughing.

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:29 pm

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calaverasgrande wrote:Drummers for a lot of major acts play to click. Even heavy metal bands do this. It isn't just to stay in time to backing tracks. It also helps keep them from rushing the beat and provides a more of an 'album sound'. Which is the experience that concertgoers expect.
I do know a few acts that use click to keep in time with sequenced elements. Hardly the same thing as backing tracks.
Well yeah, I know that. I was just using DM as an example. Gary Numan is another who does the same. I remember him even stating in an interview that it's easier to just have backing tracks for certain sounds rather than bring the gear to every gig and have something possibly fail. That's not to say everything you hear is coming from a backing track, just certain elements.
Yeah, saw him earlier this year. He had more guitars than keys on stage, but during "Cars", "Airlane" and "Metal" you can certainly tell that some stuff is either coming off an MPC or something, or it's just a straight backing track.

Gotta say, Numan was a pretty good performance. He definitely doesn't just stand there.
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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by KBD_TRACKER » Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:07 pm

Re-Member wrote:
Depeche Mode actually play along to backing tracks and have done so since the very beginning of their career. It wasn't until "Songs of Faith & Devotion" that they started using live drums, but even then, the drummer is being fed a click track to keep in sync with whatever backing tracks or prepared sequences they have going on.
In this track below with videos showing live stage drums, I believe Depeche Mode collaborated with Mark Bell (LFO):


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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by Re-Member » Tue Dec 30, 2014 11:06 pm

KBD_TRACKER wrote:In this track below with videos showing live stage drums, I believe Depeche Mode collaborated with Mark Bell (LFO)
I know they use a live drummer now, but that doesn't mean they still don't use backing tracks on a lot of songs. And when I say "backing track", I'm not implying that they have a backing track playing literally everything for them, just various sounds and sequences that would be too troublesome to play live by hand. A lot of live electronic acts do this, such as New Order and even Nine Inch Nails. Their drummers play alongside the backing tracks so that real drum sounds are still being performed live in addition to what's pre-recorded or pre-sequenced with other musicians adding live sounds to the mix as well. I actually have nothing against this whatsoever. It's why they are getting paid thousands to go on tour in front of millions of fans while were all sitting here debating whether or not it's really a "live peformance" if you don't play absolutely everything by hand. :lol:

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by KBD_TRACKER » Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:52 pm

Re-Member wrote: Their drummers play alongside the backing tracks so that real drum sounds are still being performed live in addition to what's pre-recorded or pre-sequenced with other musicians adding live sounds to the mix as well... It's why they are getting paid thousands to go on tour in front of millions of fans while were all sitting here debating whether or not it's really a "live peformance" if you don't play absolutely everything by hand. :lol:
I fail to see a clear causative connection between drummers playing "alongside the backing tracks so that real drum sounds are still being performed live in addition to what's pre-recorded or pre-sequenced with other musicians adding live sounds to the mix as well" AND "getting paid thousands to go on tour in front of millions of fans".

But more important, my OP and hopefully this thread was about the role of laptops in so called "live" performances, how it affected live performance, the ubiquitousness of these computers along synthesizers in stage settings, and the evolution of the term "live" not only among musicians but also the concert-going audience.

Lastly, it is interesting (but in fact predictable) that questioning (or thinking about) the role of computers on stage is almost understood as advocating playing "absolutely everything by hand" ....

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed Dec 31, 2014 3:03 pm

there is certainly a thing with a lot of acts using live drummers in concert, though the album production may have been loops or drum machines. I've seen this with hip hop, R&B, industrial and electro-pop.
It is definitely an approach to lend more of a 'band' vibe to the performance.
There was an interview with Trent Reznor a while back where he mentioned that the live act deviated from the album in this regard.
So of course in those cases you are going to have to play to a click.
Incidentally, I'm also a drummer. Playing to a click is frickin hard. You kind of have to shut down your brain and just lock in. It is much harder than playing with other musicians, because it does not give you any body language or accommodation!


I also have to point out that there is a significant distinction between backing tracks and sequenced material.
Putting aside hardware sequencing, there is the whole matter of programs like Ableton and similar approaches in other DAWs. In that case you are playing sequenced patterns, which do play in time. But they can be (and often are) fired off, muted/soloed and mixed in real time by the performer.

Even when using hardware sequencing I kind of give the performer credit simply for the added difficulty, element of risk (more points of failure) and well the work that goes into it vs strict playback.
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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by Re-Member » Wed Dec 31, 2014 6:15 pm

KBD_TRACKER wrote:I fail to see a clear causative connection between drummers playing "alongside the backing tracks so that real drum sounds are still being performed live in addition to what's pre-recorded or pre-sequenced with other musicians adding live sounds to the mix as well" AND "getting paid thousands to go on tour in front of millions of fans".
It's simple: these acts are doing what works best for them on stage with lots of success and most of the audience couldn't care less. The same applies to those acts you mentioned having only laptops on stage. I personally would be bored to tears going to a show and staring at some guy looking at a laptop screen, but I realize that's just my prospective. I don't listen to or even follow modern electronic dance type music anyway, so it's not like I'm ever going to be paying loads of money for some ticket and finding myself disappointed any time soon. And even if I did, it's not like I couldn't have just checked YouTube in advance to see a quick performance clip in action and check if I feel it's worth paying for or not.

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:22 am

Jabberwalky wrote:
Re-Member wrote:
Jabberwalky wrote:So what you want is another Depeche Mode? How else would someone perform most electronic music entirely live.
Depeche Mode actually play along to backing tracks and have done so since the very beginning of their career. It wasn't until "Songs of Faith & Devotion" that they started using live drums, but even then, the drummer is being fed a click track to keep in sync with whatever backing tracks or prepared sequences they have going on.
Yes, for sure. They are a sort of generalization since I can't really think of any fully live synth acts, unless we get into some of the punk s**t like The Screamers, Primitive Calculators etc.

I liked how DM always had the reel sitting on a chair center stage to clear that up early on.
Primitive Calculators run backing tracks off a laptop.

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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by calaverasgrande » Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:46 am

I don't think they have played out since Kristen had a kid, but the Sixteens pretty much play all their stuff live. albeit with drum machines.
This has been to their detriment in the past. There was that one "End of the Universe" (or whatever it was called?) festival a few years back where pretty much all their gear malfunctioned (and Blix Bargeld ate up quite a bit of the set time of other acts) so they ended up playing like 3 songs.
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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by Zamise » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:38 am

There is one simple way to determine if someone is playing "live" or not. You simply have to ask the "artist" if they felt satisfied with their performance. If they said yes then tell them right on bro and snort some more coke together and hopefully you both wake up 4, maybe 5 days later with at least 3 huskily built hookers each in the same bed and can find your iphone to call your physician for an immediate appointment with "no certain specific reason".

If they say no then, listen to them explain why, shake their hand and don't touch your mouth before washing up just to be sure they weren't lying to you. I recommend Lava Heavy Duty liquid soap $4.69.
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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by calaverasgrande » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:53 am

Zamise wrote:There is one simple way to determine if someone is playing "live" or not. You simply have to ask the "artist" if they felt satisfied with their performance. If they said yes then tell them right on bro and snort some more coke together and hopefully you both wake up 4, maybe 5 days later with at least 3 huskily built hookers each in the same bed and can find your iphone to call your physician for an immediate appointment with "no certain specific reason".

If they say no then, listen to them explain why, shake their hand and don't touch your mouth before washing up just to be sure they weren't lying to you. I recommend Lava Heavy Duty liquid soap $4.69.
Wait are you saying Milli Vanilli had STDs?
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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by balma » Sat Jan 03, 2015 7:04 am

Why using computers if there are so many types of synthesizers? The amount of things you can do with them is only limited by your brain. Multiple synths of different types, asuming specific functions depending of their peculiarities and area if specialization, can function as a single unit wich offers you vast control over every aspect of the music you want to perform with them.
There are so many types of synths with their own watermark, disctintive sounds and interfaces created to manipulate a concept wich came maybe from decades, where they were aimed to market and taste different than today. There are so many possibilities and unexpected results from experimenting while combining and synchronizing several machines, with the possibility of readapting their sound ir order to interact with other devices and function as a same unit.

I still finding them more efficient, powerful, aesthetically beautiful, personalizable, fun and intense than using computers.

Or maybe is because I work with computers 48hrs per week. Don't want to go home to use a computer to look into another monitor.
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Re: Saying it's live with a laptop next ....

Post by meatballfulton » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:40 pm

Other than lipsynching on TV and in movies, the first act I remember using backing tracks was the Who when they toured Quadrophenia in 1974.
Image
It was a disaster, they used open reel tapes of the horn and synth parts that Entwistle and Townsend had recorded for the album. Keith Moon had to wear headphones and was constantly getting out of time. From what I have read, they never made it through an entire show without problems with the tapes.

Meet the new boss same as the old boss indeed 8-)

BTW the crowning date of that 1974 tour was a show where Moon passed out onstage after two or three songs and Townsend actually asked over the PA if there were any drummers in the audience. Some kid came forward and was brought up on stage. They skipped the Quadrophenia tunes and jammed on some of their older tunes instead. I'd love to hear a tape of that one :mrgreen:
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