Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Digital Loops, Continued

RIP, Joe Cocker. Sure, you sang more than two songs, but two was enough to knock us out.

Performing with digital loops, take 1: Devy Does Digital

Townsend's nearly a decade younger than I, but old enough to feel some of the same ambivalence about interacting with the technology. His performance is a merger of candid self-disclosure and all-in commitment to the task at hand. Acknowledge the sense of absurdity, but don't let it distract from the intention. I find it all quite winning.

Performing with digital loops, take 2: Glenn Gould, and The Uninvited Guests

Is this something Gould would be proud of? Gould was reading McLuhan much deeper than most others at the time. So getting discovered by kids, who turn around and push him back to the forefront of people's awareness . . . a fresh young audience, performing with his performances . . . yeah, I think Gould would dig it.

Regardless, I'm certainly digging it. Go, Guests, go!

Performing with digital loops, take 3: Electronic Dance Music

Today's DJs don't jockey “discs” anymore — they jockey digital files, often well in advance of the performance proper. Consider this shot of EDM superstar Deadmau5.

You can see a laptop, tied-in to a board with some knobs which he uses to . . . well, the truth is I don't know what he uses any of that stuff for, and it doesn't matter. He's in charge of the scene, the sound, the whole shebang.

A few weeks' back Iggy Pop delivered a speech that went semi-viral, in which he revealed that income from album sales and rock concerts no longer cut it for him — DJing is now his bread-and-butter. He's clearly pissed about the former, possibly with justification, but seems somewhat nonplussed by the latter reality as well. Perhaps he regards the athletic physicality of his rock band concerts as the higher — more genuine — artistic expression.

But surely this aesthetic value can be called into question? A band like Kraftwerk, for instance — for all we know, the last thirty years of their concert time has been devoted to improving their Tetris scores. It's still one hell of a show.

I remain a sucker for the acoustic, but it's just one mode among many, in pursuit of The Thing Itself.

Alright, back to the beginning: here's a recent interview with Devin Townsend, “candid self-disclosure” used to good effect.

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