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OTHER THINGS IN THE WORLD THAN MUSIC => Everything and Nothing => Topic started by: Wayne Higgins on January 30, 2009, 09:55:31 AM

Title: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: Wayne Higgins on January 30, 2009, 09:55:31 AM
I'm beginning to play out more and want some feedback  :D.

What kind of equipment do you use?  What type of places (size, capacity, time of day)?  How much planning to you as compared to the actual execution of the music?  Do you covers, live versions of material you have previously recorded, improv?  I did a gig this past Sunday night in a Cafe that went well.  At least the first set.  I played while people were coming in and setting up, and then played between two of the bands.  The first part went well, played for about 90 minutes.  The second set approx (20 min) was quite taxing on my nerves and really wanted to get it over with, didn't play as well.

Just throwing it out for suggestions, opinions, options, ect.
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: mgriffin on January 30, 2009, 10:07:47 AM
Ambient covers?  I don't think you'll find anyone claiming to do that, other than Bang on a Can.

All the ambient artists I know who have played live are doing improvisation, even if there's a little bit of direction decided-upon in advance.  I'd say that common venues for this sort of thing would include art galleries, coffee shops, cafes, bars, clubs, theaters, churches, and planetariums (planetaria?).

Some people here have done more live performances than I have, and may have more to add.

My own favorite performance ever was at The Gathering series in Philadelphia (I played with Dave Fulton and Jeff Pearce in 2000, right after the release of Imprint and Bleed... in fact it was the release party for both CDs), along with a late-night performance live on the air on Star's End radio.  I know many other ambient artists who say the same thing about Philadelphia, The Gatherings, St. Mary's Church, WXPN, Star's End, and Chuck VanZyl.  I also met many Hypnos Forum people that night (Brian Bieniowski, Stephen Philips, Jim Brenholts, Jeff Kowal, others I'm probably forgetting... I should look for those pictures on my hard drive)
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: lena on January 30, 2009, 02:41:18 PM
Hey, I found some pictures from that Viridian Sun show you played not too long ago.


You can kind of see the equipment you used in this one:

(http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x107/hypnosgrl/rockstarz006.jpg)



And I just like this one because of the huge scary face on the wall behind you  :) :

(http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x107/hypnosgrl/rockstarz012-1.jpg)


Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: Seren on January 31, 2009, 04:22:25 PM
I have not played live yet with my ambient music - but am slowly setting up to do so. Only problem is trying to work out if I can do the level of sound twisting I use in the recorded sound in a live situation.

Which raises the issue of using CD/Minidisc/MP3 as part of the performance....

and how important are the visual aspect of playing live?
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: Ekstasis on January 31, 2009, 05:09:46 PM
I have not played live yet with my ambient music - but am slowly setting up to do so. Only problem is trying to work out if I can do the level of sound twisting I use in the recorded sound in a live situation.

Which raises the issue of using CD/Minidisc/MP3 as part of the performance....

and how important are the visual aspect of playing live?

The only thing you need is a laptop with the music, and maybe a mixerboard that is not plugged in :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWB5gM9uwi8

I guess he is checking is email or something he look busy :)
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: modulator_esp on January 31, 2009, 05:20:53 PM
I have not played live yet with my ambient music - but am slowly setting up to do so. Only problem is trying to work out if I can do the level of sound twisting I use in the recorded sound in a live situation.

Which raises the issue of using CD/Minidisc/MP3 as part of the performance....

and how important are the visual aspect of playing live?

Andy, if you want to do a live performance based on pre-recorded stuff you should check out the Roland SP-404, it's great for that sort of thing. For live sound mangling the Electrix Repeater is great, but not easy to come by.
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: Seren on February 01, 2009, 02:27:53 AM
I have not played live yet with my ambient music - but am slowly setting up to do so. Only problem is trying to work out if I can do the level of sound twisting I use in the recorded sound in a live situation.

Which raises the issue of using CD/Minidisc/MP3 as part of the performance....

and how important are the visual aspect of playing live?

The only thing you need is a laptop with the music, and maybe a mixerboard that is not plugged in :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWB5gM9uwi8

I guess he is checking is email or something he look busy :)

No computers in my set up, so looking at how to arrange everything. I think using some prerecorded background is no different to preprogrammed sequencers etc, but am working out how to play over it. Currently have a 16 track mixer to put eveyrhting into.

"Andy, if you want to do a live performance based on pre-recorded stuff you should check out the Roland SP-404, it's great for that sort of thing. For live sound mangling the Electrix Repeater is great, but not easy to come by."
Hi Jez, I've been aware of the repeaters but no cash at present - will be using a variety of sources - hence the mixer to play with levels etc - as well as mics, synth, Roland VP9000 and other keyboard.
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: SiF on February 01, 2009, 07:08:57 AM
Also played a couple of improvised Sets with Guitar and Laptop.
But i am going away from this completely improvised drone stuff
into more "structured" performances because of my new Album.

Currently planning a short tour to support the release of the
Vinyl Record which is coming out in April.

But this time its going to be extreme difficult to perform the
music of the new album, since there are so many different
layers of guitar and electronics, which makes me thing that
i might need to use a few pre-recorded phrases here and
there. Ableton is helping me with this really well, since its
exactly the way i want to operate live. Also thinking of
screens were images will be shown, that go along with the
new Music. Mostly b/w i guess.

But its tough to get Spots here in Germany. I want to play
at least one performance in a Church, since i am so excited
that i created guitar sounds that totally sound like an church
organ. but that will be the hardest part, because i think it
will be tough, to get a booking for an church. so i will try.
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: dwight on February 03, 2009, 01:03:22 PM
My own favorite performance ever was at The Gathering series in Philadelphia (I played with Dave Fulton and Jeff Pearce in 2000, right after the release of Imprint and Bleed... in fact it was the release party for both CDs), along with a late-night performance live on the air on Star's End radio.  I know many other ambient artists who say the same thing about Philadelphia, The Gatherings, St. Mary's Church, WXPN, Star's End, and Chuck VanZyl.  I also met many Hypnos Forum people that night (Brian Bieniowski, Stephen Philips, Jim Brenholts, Jeff Kowal, others I'm probably forgetting... I should look for those pictures on my hard drive)

I agree with Mike on this.
Chuck, Jeff and crew (including Bill Beck) do a really great job of making things run smooth. In the pass 3 years i have played twice at The Gatherings Concert Series and Stars End. And without question, these 2 are my favorite places to play. And it is true, it is a great place to put a face on those who you have met online.
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: Bill Binkelman on February 04, 2009, 08:50:33 AM
I must say, I have never personally seen ambient music as live music, I will probably never have a need to see a live performance with ambient music.
The only exception would be Robert Rich's sleeping concerts or Steve Roach 12 hour concert/immersion...

I think it's almost 100 percent about the venue and setting. I saw Roach and vidnaObama at a freakin' BAR in MIlwaukee (Shank Hall). Somehow, the incongruity of hearing didgeridoo, tribal rhythms, and drones while the space was lit by the dim glow from a Miller Lite sign was disconcerting. And for some reason (???), Steve thought it would be "cool" to walk out into the audience while playing his didge, which only increased the disconnect, IMO.

I also saw James Johnson with Paul and Chris (MaJaLe) also at a small venue in Milwaukee, but at least it was a theater, not a bar. The problem here was that the sound system quit on them halfway through and by the time everything was bck up and running, the only folks left attending were me, two subscribers from Wind and Wire, and family/friends of the artists.

Finally, saw Robert Rich at the Cedar here in Minneapolis two years ago. The size of the venue was fine but MAN, the folding chairs sucked ass. VERY difficult to sink into the vibe of Robert's music when your freakin' tailbone and lower back are screaming at you in pain.

What I'm saying is that in each case, something about the venue or situation had a serious impact on enjoying or being absorbed in the music. That said, I've heard the Gatherings have a great venue so I have no doubt they are great concerts. It's too bad they are so far from where I live. I simply can't drive for two days to see music. It's too far. And flying is prohibitively expensive for me.

Anyway, I'm not a big proponent of live ambient music, but after speaking with Jeff Pearce about it, and exchanging emails with Tim Story and Dwight as well, it seems that the Gatherings are the exception to the lousy experiences I had. And please understand, the music was never what made it lousy. Just the settings.
Title: Re: Does any one here perform ambient music?
Post by: MarkM on February 04, 2009, 06:31:17 PM
I perform live several times a year.  Most of my set is not improvised nor is it sequenced.  I have played at all types of venues, and the ones I didn't like were when the music was meant to be in the background.  For example: art galleries, wine tasting, bars, and banquets.  As long as the audience is there for the music, I have a good time. Last Friday I played a set in a small indy bar with about 40 people in attendance, and I was easily the oldest person in the room.  I had a great time, and there was a heck of a nice sound system.  Last Sept.  Michael Peck and I played The Gathering in Philly: an incredible experience.  I have played several times at radio stations as well as a half dozen live internet concerts.  Even though there was no audience in the room, all were fun.  Other great experiences were at coptic conferences, churches (Unitarian), festivals, planetariums, and even a UFO conference.  Michael Peck and I have produced and promoted electronic music shows locally (in little old east Tenn.) and invited players from out of state to perform on the bill.  We've had very good turnouts with paid attendance between 50-60.

Whether I am performing with Michael or by myself, I spend weeks preparing for the show.  I write out all my tracks on paper.  I have found that the simplest setup works best for me.  The more equipment I bring, the more likely something will go wrong.

When performing as a solo act I have been using Ableton Live for building loops which I use for background beds, and I will mix and play the loops in a similar fashion to that of an Akai MPC via pads on my controller.  I approach Ableton Live as an instrument, and I will manipulate the loops on the fly. I will have some soft synths (like Reaktor) in Ableton which I play via a keyboard controller.  I depend on my Voyager and Q rack for my solos.  My sets range from 45-60 minutes of continuous playing, and I have anywhere from 7 to 10 compositions within the set.
The Gathering 2008
(http://thegatherings.org/graphics/75gat-MP10.jpg)

At WXPN Stars End 2007
(http://www.starsend.org/graphics/se07MahoneyPeck3.jpg)