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Subject: Linear vs Non-linear Live


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Original Message 1/11             08-Apr-02  @  11:10 PM   -   Linear vs Non-linear Live

Mindspawn

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Formant brought up a good point on another thread about playing live. He commented:"its just that if my live show adds no benefit over my statically recorded material then i am not sure why i am attempting it."

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...

Peace



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Message 2/11             09-Apr-02  @  04:01 AM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

formant

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well i like the idea of the 'sections' in the yamaha because then you have tiny bits of linear that you can rearrange in any order you want.

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...

jamey



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Message 3/11             09-Apr-02  @  09:58 AM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

Pongoid

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Modular. That's my fave. I do both. I have stuff ready to go, with some ideas that are really flexible, and I put them in where ever I want, as well as some longer complex bits and pieces if I feel like dropping something more 'tracky'. I'm also modifying my sounds, multis, samples, sequences, and drum patterns on the fly anyway as well as playing bass from time to time and keys here and there. The thing is that all of my machines are things that I am super familiar with, and each is pretty simple to me now, so instead of constantly trying to figure out a new piece of gear, I've got shit locked down so that if I want any particular sound to appear or disappear, it's a matter of seconds, even for the well hidden samples. It isn't always smooth and perfect, but I can fake it pretty well at times. ;)

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?


Ape


Ape



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Message 4/11             09-Apr-02  @  01:29 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

Mindspawn

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Familiarity with one's gear should be some sort of golden rule....

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?

Peace



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Message 5/11             09-Apr-02  @  01:49 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

k

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definately non-linear hands on freeform dub mixing for me, but depends on the content/show what you are trying to put over. sometimes mix and match is good other times linear is better.

___________________________________

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!!!



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Message 6/11             09-Apr-02  @  03:30 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

99devils

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Yes, it very much depends on the type of show you're trying to put on. I'm the "electronics" guy in a metal-type band. As of right now, I use the non-linear approach. I've got loops in the RM1X that I throw into the song when necessary, and I'm also doing a lot of playing. While I'm sequencing I'm tweaking and torquing sounds, dropping things in and out, etc..

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.

-Craig



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Message 7/11             09-Apr-02  @  04:16 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

Mindspawn

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Maybe less of a traditional player, but still a performer nonetheless.... I can relate about "moralizing" over going down the "linear" route when ye needs to... Most times when I've done live shows with other players, they pretty much demand to have actual songs, structure, you know, all that "stuff..." Not that the "stuff" ain't cool, it's just that I'm lazy and hate to program all that shit... It's a lot easier for me to bang some keys, twirl a knob or three, and flip some buttons than it is to sort out a nice pre-recorded bit. I mean, that's work... It's almost as hard as building tracks in the studio....

Peace



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Message 8/11             09-Apr-02  @  06:44 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

99devils

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Yeah, and without any of the reward that goes along with performing, at least as far as I'm concerned. I have one particular section of a track where I'm not manipulating or playing anything for about 32 bars (that little section is far too complex).. It's only like 20 seconds of the track, but I can't get through that section without feeling like a fraud  

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.

-Craig



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Message 9/11             09-Apr-02  @  08:04 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

sitar

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Indian music is similar in that you practice all these theme and variation packages in a given raag that has its own rules, kind of like jazz in a way. When you play live you decide spontaneously when at how much of the various themes and variations you want to play.

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.



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Message 10/11             09-Apr-02  @  10:11 PM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

Pongoid

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Amen, Sitar. Spawn, I feels ya too. I'm playing more 4x4 than I want as well, but that's what folks dig. I have most of my set ready to go in a break direction at any time but usually give folks the thump and only use about half, if that of what I program for sounds and seqs. Be prepared, you never know what the moment will require.

Ape



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Message 11/11             12-Apr-02  @  01:45 AM   -   RE: Linear vs Non-linear Live

Mindspawn

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"Be prepared"... Just about the best advice you can get.... Obviously, it's impossible to prepare for everything, but the more you have sorted, the more options you've set up, the more comfortable with your rig, all very good, very helpful things if you're going down the live road....

Pax



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