Forums - Live / PA / gigging
Subject: Linear vs Non-linear Live
Original Message 1/11 08-Apr-02 @ 11:10 PM - Linear vs Non-linear Live
Largely, if I'm getting what he was saying, that's a question of linear sets vs non-linear sets. For purposes of discussing this subject, lets make a couple of quick definitions... These aren't "textbook" definitions, just some defining of things so everyone is basically on the same page... Your own definitions may be a bit different, and please feel free to amend my quick overviews...
A linear set is pretty much "prerecorded." It's more of a song to song to song approach. It's well suited to recreating studio trax for live use. It's also the "easiest" way to play live as it's closer to mixing songs in a way a DJ might mix records....
A non linear set is more freeform. It's usually more pattern based than song based. It's better suited for improv and spontaneous interactions with the audience. It generally requires more practice to pull off consistently.
Okay, that said, to address Formant's comment, even playing a linear set, you'll still be able to do things that you couldn't if it was truly static as in a record or CD. If that's still not satisfying enough, then maybe you need to go with a little more of a non-linear approach.
Personally, I like the non-linear approach because I can "move" the set when and as I want to. I can choose to go to a breakdown, build it up, set on the groove, whatever, depending on what I'm reading from a crowd. You just don't have that freedom in a linear "song based" sort of set. Admittedly, I come from a rock band background where you might do a chorus a couple extra times if the crowd was digging things, or maybe you go into an "unplanned" solo for an extra eight measures or whatnot. All a bit non-linear, even though we had a general framework of songs and song structure. That's the sort of way I still like to play electronic sets, too.
I'm certainly not saying one way is "better" than the other, but for the way I prefer to work, non-linear just suits me better...
Message 2/11 09-Apr-02 @ 04:01 AM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
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i have a dj background, not musician so thats my main focus in doing this stuff. matter of fact i will probably start doing live just by having the rs next to the 1200s/cd decks and doing it without letting anybody on to the fact its live.
after my last post i am thinking that another key factor for spontenaity will be the ability to fly parts in and out of a song when you like, for instance changing out one high hat part for another on the same slot or something like that. this of course requires tempo independence as well.
but back to your point, i think linear would drive me insane because i can do wicked wicked stuff with my cd decks to a track that would sound better than tweaking a filter on a part here and there in a linear 'live' song. even with cd decks i can jump in and out of loop points, filter, flange, scratch and more...
Message 3/11 09-Apr-02 @ 09:58 AM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
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Why do one or the other? I kind of like the Jazz approach where you have a sort of theme, maybe a riff, and from there, each element kind of goes at it's own approach to supporting this concept, hinting at and dancing around the theme, and in resolution, the theme is revealed in its beautiful entirety. Just one way of doing things. Sometimes a good non-sequitir is neccessary as well just to keep folks on their toes, and listening. Ney?
Message 4/11 09-Apr-02 @ 01:29 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
This brings me to another thought... the crowd factor, or more correctly, the lack thereof. I really don't know if the average crowd could actually tell the difference (assuming you were doin' a proper job) as to what approach or combination you were doing, so this is pretty much a purely personal way of working thing. I only mention this as the "Crowd factor" does figure in to some of how and what I do...
Case in point, breakbeats... Most of the venues I've played at over the last few years here in the New England seem to have a hard time relating to breaks... it's gettin' better, but simply because the crowds in these places prefer it, I tend to do a lot of 4x4 and only occasional do a breakbeat, even though I'd prefer to do just the opposite. Hmmmm... guess I'm something of a sellout... well, whore actually.... anyway, that's what I meant by considering the crowd factor...
Then again, maybe I'm selling the crowds short. Going back to the breakbeat example, I do use a lot of breaks style stuff, but with a 4x4 kick, and folks have noticed AND they seem to like the more breakbeat-like stuff, so maybe they would notice whether or not someone is actually playing as opposed to miming, and maybe it's just a question of gradually converting them... I dunno... Thoughts?
Message 5/11 09-Apr-02 @ 01:49 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
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I had an idea for a script once. It's basically Jaws except when the guys in the boat are going after Jaws, they look around and there's an even bigger Jaws. The guys have to team up with Jaws to get Bigger Jaws.... I call it... Big Jaws!!!
Message 6/11 09-Apr-02 @ 03:30 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
What we're working on doing for the future is integrating a synchronized light and video show to our live set.. We'd like to use a bunch of TVs and a projecter, plus some MID-controlled lighting to add to the experience of seeing us live. The issue is that when you start talking about synching up to video or an automated light show, then you're getting into territory where you have little choice but to do things linear-style, because you're restricted by the other media you're working with.
It'd be a lot easier if I could find someone to run the lights and video for me, but there's little chance of that in the shit-burg I live in. As much as I hate the idea of doing things that way that's exactly what I'll have to do to pull this off.
So what say you lot about such an endeavor? It personally doesn't sit well with me, because I feel it makes me less of a "player", which I think is important to a live show. Not necessarily doing a lot of keyboard playing but ensuring that everything coming out of the keyboards is there because I put it there at the proper time, not because I pushed play and walked off the stage, y'know? On the other hand, it opens up a whole new world of communication with the audience and a whole new way to get ideas across to people through light, color, and video.
Message 7/11 09-Apr-02 @ 04:16 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
Message 8/11 09-Apr-02 @ 06:44 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
In an older band, I did do the linear, just-push-play thing but it was because I had no choice.. I was playing guitar, and only had a CS1X, Roland MC-50 sequencer and an Alesis DM5 at my disposal. It was the only way with the tools I had yto work with, but I never liked that either.
Message 9/11 09-Apr-02 @ 08:04 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
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It's maybe another golden rule to have firm control over way more than you'll realistically use live. Gives a big comfort zone. You don't necessarily want to be at the edge of your capability throughout the entire performance. You'll be more relaxed which then allows the edge of your capability to come out more easily at the most natural moments for it.
Message 10/11 09-Apr-02 @ 10:11 PM - RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live
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