Thursday, 18 August 2011

Stealth Gigs

Andi and I have talked a lot about doing live shows. At first we thought we would just use the laptops and improvise just like we do when we create a new track, except in front of an audience. This could work, and might be ok, but we thought that it would be really boring to watch. All you would see is the tops of two old gits' heads behind laptop screens.

Also, both of us like to play instruments live. For Andi, its the drums and for me it can be guitar, keyboards or the mixing desk. Andi has a Roland V-Drum kit, so it will be easy for him to trigger our samples and recordings from the kit as well as playing drum sounds.

For me its not as straight forward. It is possible for me to trigger sounds from the keyboard or even the guitar, but I think I shall remain behind the laptop as I can combine my live mixing with improvisation using our loops as well as warping what Andi does on the kit.

We have asked our old mucker Tack (from Head To Head) to play the bass parts live. This combination should work well. We are hoping to get into the rehearsal studio soon.

We want to add a visual element to what we do as well. Our initial ideas (when we were discussing what to do as a duo) were to perform somewhere where the audience could not see us at all. Then we would have an empty stage lit only by  fluorescent lights with broken starter motors, so that they would come on intermittently at random. A bit like a David Lynch scene, but done with a Deptford (as opposed to a Hollywood) budget. This would suit our music well.

We then thought.. where could we get some broken lights from? I then suggested we film some in an alley or something and project the image at the gig instead. Better. Which of course introduces the idea of video into our live show.

Both Andi and I have had plenty of experience with video and live performance. I remember Andi performing live with a band in front of films by Andrew Kötting at Ravensbourne College back in the 1980's. He did a lot of good work with Kötting. I was making films myself at the time, and went on to do installations at Club Dog in London and Rhythmicon in Salisbury. I also made a video for Perennial Divide (later Meat Beat Manifesto) and worked with George Barber. Andi has been making some great time-lapse sequences and other mad things for years now. So an audio/visual performance makes complete sense.

Kaleidotree from Simon Birch on Vimeo.

Using the laptops for live improvisation with music easily links with live video. We have been looking into ways of having the live effects processing being linked to live effects on the video feeds. So for example, when I move an audio effect it can simultaneously move a video effect. In theory anyhow..

At the moment most of our focus is on getting the "Degraded" album out, but following that we will be straight into getting this live thing built and working and booking some gigs. If anyone will have us that is.

Fwd: Canteen from Andrew Panayi on Vimeo.

Its difficult to think of the right venue. We had this idea of doing "stealth gigs". This would be where we are not strictly booked in, but appear in-between bands at a gig, not actually onstage, not announced, but with the visuals projected and sounds played out. We could also invade parties. Then we thought we could play uninvited through various tannoy systems: shopping centres, trains, boats, airports, offices and radio stations.

We would be playing the sounds we have recorded right back at the places we got them from.

Audio rioting!

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