edIT live at Chicago's Eric Rejman

edIT, live in Chicago. Photo: Eric Rejman, via MySpace.

[podcast]http://createdigitalmusic.com/files/media/podcasts/2009/04/edit_interview.mp3[/podcast]

Download MP3

Liz McLean Knight aka Quantazelle catches up with one of our laptopist idols: edIT, the talented solo artist and Glitch Mob member. I won’t insult what he does by giving it a dumb name (“Glitch Hop?”). Suffice to say, edIT is adept at bringing insane musical chops to live laptop performance.

Liz got to geek out with edIT about the details of his live setup, which now drops the M-Audio Trigger Finger for the visual feedback and fluid multi-touch flexibility of a JazzMutant Lemur. (All due love to the Trigger Finger. But I think that would have been like, when I was a child, trading my Knight Rider Big Wheel for the full-sized KITT.)

edIT tells Liz just what this is all about, how he puts together his live set, and what the technical setup means for him musically. He also talks strategy. Sometimes, that means keeping the integrity of the tunes by loading changes into Ableton Live’s pre-composed Arrange View rather than triggering relatively mundane changes of loops manually. At the same time, that frees him up to work with more radical changes with effects and the like – stuff that may actually be interesting. So, no, just glimpsing the Arrange View will not land edIT on deadAct.com — in fact, edIT and Glitch Mob are just the kind of antidote we need.

Interview audio quality is low, but it’s well worth the listen for all the details.

While we’re at it, here’s more insight into edIT’s unique IDM and Hip Hop-inspired world, including the greatest anti-electronic music quotes of all time.

edIT Mug Shot

photo: Barbara Talia 2007, courtesy edIT.

XLR8R TV in one of their nicest episodes ever got to play a street gig in San Francisco on Haight with the Glitch Mob. Now, playing outdoor gigs in San Francisco isn’t exactly that big a deal – hey, it’s not New York City, where you’ll last about 2 bars before meeting the NYPD. But it’s fantastic to see what the Mob are all about, and the performance is terrific.

Most importantly, this video includes this poetic diatribe by An Angry Man, which I will transcribe here in the hope that someone puts it on a t-shirt for us:

Nobody is playing an instrument.
You have technicians here, making noise – are you taping this?
No one is a musician.
They’re not artists because nobody can play the guitar.

For more insight into edIT’s thoughts on music in general, here’s an extensive video interview. This comes from an apparently defunct show called The Craft. The show title has certain unfortunate associations with bad girl-witch movies, and pops up odd bits of trivia that make it seem as though it was targeted at old people or kittens. (Turntables, associated with hip hop? Who knew!) But the production itself is lovely, and edIT has some great things to say. And the show producers got one thing very right: edIT is part of the future of music.

More on edIT’s music and edIT and Glitch Mob touring to a town near you (NY tomorrow, LA 4/30, Arizona, Detroit, Alberta…):

edIT

  • scott

    ah yeah glitch mob is SICK

  • decrepitude

    I'd really like to know how they (Glitch mob) keep their laptops in sync.

    Anyway you could forward that question to them Peter?

  • Lee

    Oh, this is good stuff. I remember grabbing Crying Over Pros on a whim with no idea who edIT was and being completely blown away by his approach to glitch. The atmosphere presented in that album I have never even come close to feeling from anything else. I was even disappointed by Certified Air Raid Material when it came out since it sounded so different. I've learned to enjoy it on its own merits, though, and I actually like it more. Can't wait to see what he'll come out with next.

  • colin

    the angry man cracks me up! awesome…gltch mob rocks

  • Thomas Faulds

    YES! Edit is my hero. He has such an elegant live setup and total command of the stage/audience. Thank you Liz!!!

  • jonnyfive

    Ditto Lee, I first heard edIT on a Daly City Records Comp, and was intrigued, but Crying Over Pros blew me away when I heard it.

    Also this is a really inspiring interview.

    Thanks!

  • j250xor

    I'm getting a t-shirt with "I"M NOT AN ARTIST BECAUSE I CAN'T PLAY THE GUITAR' on.

  • tojo

    Just saw him come through Lawrence, Kansas and he slayed the audience. Adding the JazzLemur to his live set up really adds a lot of showmanship.

  • http://xfader.com regend

    First saw edIT @ an event in downtown LA in 2006. He was billed on the flyer as one of the headliners but it turned out he got stuck in the basement of the building with no announcement that he was on. From what I remember of his setup it was basically a laptop (apple), m-audio trigger finger, and an audio device for the laptop. this went into a basic DJ mixer setup. His set was amazing. He played a collection of full songs, instrumentals, acapellas, and individual solo sections of the loops (i,e. basslines, percussion, etc). I watched him throughout the set and could see he would do live remixing of his own already remixed tracks adding effects and triggering various elements. The set was great. I really enjoyed it. I really enjoy his style of remixing that I tracked down an album he made of downtempo stuff in 2004/2005 that shows that he's really developed his skills over the years. He's come a long way from a kid who didn't seem to really get the vinyl DJ skills and he's adapted to someone I would consider a musical artist. I can;t watch the video because it's blocked at the plantation but will definitely catch up to see how he's using the Lemur.

  • hrmmm

    I sometimes feel like digital music people kind of throw the word improvise around a little too much. Not meant to offend. I just feel like improvising is an art in and of itself not just an ornament… ::edit:: Just an opinion.

  • TJ

    Excellent. Good to know more about edIT, one of the most original, talented, hardworking talents I've come across in years. If he becomes a genre, I won't be surprised.

    As for improvisation: the best do it the most … like free-climbing it takes cajones and a LOT of background to hang yourself over empty space. Many of the big-name classical composers did it centuries ago … and it's what living jazz is about.

  • Ria

    for lack of a better word in the English language…..

    Awesome!

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Isn't improvisation just improvisation? I don't think it's possible to incorrectly apply the term. Not saying we always improvise *well* — that's another matter.

  • Damon

    That guy is inspiring. Makes me want to try harder and care more. And to find my own creative voice with that much authority.

  • http://rudibega.org RUDIBEGA

    TRY LISTENING TO OF PORCELAIN BY OOAH, ITS ALOT LIKE CRYING OVER PROS, DIFFERENT THOUGH.

  • wuruwuru

    It seems to me that improvisation is one of the most universal aspects of being human. Daily verbal communication in most cultures is largely improvised. As in all things, some are more adept conversationalists than others.

    In terms of global music, Eurocentric cultures are in the minority in their classical musicians being fairly inhibited unless they are speaking from a script.

  • http://circuitreerecords.com pg13

    oh and btw, edIT is a nice guy too. I brought him down for a show last year during WMC. I posted a youtube video and pics of the event. Machine Drum played too, and was just as impressive if not more live.

    Check the pics and vid on our blog:

    http://www.circuitreerecords.blogspot.com

  • gbsr

    funyn. i rediscovered edit just last week, and now heres an interview with edit.

    and yes, edit is seriously good.

  • just saying

    Crying Over Pros(2004) is a solid LP and there is a lot of mention of it as it deserves, but I can’t get past that it is greatly influenced by early Telefon Tel Aviv. Not hating or discounting edIT’s work, just pointing out my observation. All artists go through the influence phase which I completely understand because we all have to start somewhere.

    I’ve got mad respect for him as he has clearly grown into his “own” sound with all of his recent works and his ability to transition from the studio into a live environment. His live performances are dope and thank Liz for getting an interview on his setup. Definitely inspiring and informative, so keep it coming!

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @pg13: Nice stuff, thanks for that!

  • http://xfader.com regend

    @just saying – i agree…singers and bands do this all the time so it makes sense that new young artists are heavily influenced by a genre and then evolve to create something new and interesting.

    on improvisation: i think we tend to limit this word to only a genre of music usually and it shouldn't be only in a "jazz" or "classical" context. yes, it takes a very unique musical vocabulary (scales, chords) but i think the sound palette has evolved and we should be allowed to use new sounds to "improvise" in an undefined context.

    in the early 90's turntablists faced when turntable jazz was rejected because the turntable wasn't an instrument yet creative artists such as kid koala and q-bert were able to prove it is possible to use a turntable as a melodic instrument and now we have the Vestax MIDI Controller One.

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  • moongold

    Your wish etc etc :-)

    Quick and dirty tee design, but see what you think?
    http://tinyurl.com/ceklqm

    :-)

  • http://www.quantazelle.com/ Liz McLean Knight

    @moongold: neat idea but not in love with the design.

    @everyone_else: glad you enjoyed it! my pleasure, really.

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  • http://www.soundsdefygravity.wordpress.com Mike Nuvo

    I love your blog! It's my first stop for interesting tech reads. This video and article is especially interesting.. very articulate people. Thanks!

  • http://s237.blogspot.com/ 5237

    inspiring sheet

  • http://jordaniscreative.blogspot.com jordan

    live in la this friday!

  • http://front-stage.blogspot.com Musicians Resources

    Nice article Peter,

    gives all us musicians great tips. Keep it up.

    Front Stage

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