Amo Navas Bravetti – Raw (live video) from Gustavo Bravetti on Vimeo.

Sure, novel controllers are fun to watch, like our friend Gustavo Bravetti, driving a Brazilian crowd wild by waving his Wii remote live. But what if you can’t see the performance gimmick, if you’re just listening to the track?

The pitch behind the track “Raw,” celebrating the fifth anniversary of Fresco Records, is just that. It’s a studio-produced track, but the artists wanted to maintain some of the improvised feel of the live music. The track pairs the hit DJ/producer duo of David Amo and Juli Navas with Gustavo Bravetti of Uruguay – the Ableton and alternative controller wizard who regularly feeds tutorials to CDM.

Of course, this trio aren’t the only folks thinking this way. The first sequencers gave us the power to arrange everything in advance, meaning people immediately began to seek ways to restore live feel, turning off the metronome and doing everything in one take. But it’s nice to see these high-profile artists – and our friend Gustavo – taking it on specifically with something as off-the-wall as a Wii remote.

  • http://bottomfeeder.ca/top Kassen

    I suppose it's somewhat interesting that they are turning the traditional main mode of expression of trance stadium performances, the "wave your hand in the air" gesture, into a way of manipulating the sound, but is that all? Is this really "maintain[ing] some of the improvised feel"?

    If you take away the lightshow and backing track all I see here is a wave file with loop-length and maybe pitch linked to a axis of a wii-mote. Yes, it works, yes it probably conveys some of what is happening to the crowd but would you really call this a expressive instrument? For reference; Michel Waisvisz's "hands" date back to 1984, that's 25 years ago. It's certainly better than nothing but I have a hard time getting very excited about this.

  • Edward

    Let me preface this comment that I really appreciate the tutorials Gustavo has posted on the web, I have learned a lot from every one of them and secondly, I like all of the music I have heard from Gustavo. BUT, I have to admit I found the video almost uncomfortable to watch, using a Wii controller just appears so awkward to me, maybe because I also play a lot of video games and Nintendo's awkward childish imagery comes to mind.

    It may have also just been the sound he was altering with the Wii-mote, it just seem like such a gimmick to have all of this exaggerated movement over such a simple build up of a single plonking sound changing it's rate of plonk.

  • Dan

    Boring grandiose performance along side generic minimal techno. There is nothing musical or expressive about his choice of sounds or the way he is manipulating them (it's the modern equivalent of the old techno snare roll)

    Agree with the above posters, very gimmicky and a little tasteless. Sure seems to pull a big crowd though :)

  • http://myspace.com/tekcormusic tekcor

    he looks like he's thinking exactly the same what you wrote about his own performance.

    and i agree.

  • http://bottomfeeder.ca/top Kassen

    Edward; interesting. my perspective is a bit opposite to yours; I like to use game controllers exactly because I also play games.

    One aspect I find important is muscle memory and I think I get a lot of that "for free" since I've been using the same interface (Street Fighter II joystick layout) for over two decades now, first for games, now for music. That's a lot of practice…

    Game controllers are also made to support skill-based play as well as the entry of a often very large set of commands at a high (often timing critical) pace. Even if the association doesn't work for you (which i can understand) I think you'll have to admit there are sides to that that performers and instrument-builders alike can learn a lot from.

    I just don't think this particular video is a especially good example of that kind of thing.

  • Edward

    @ Kassen – I think it just my utter disdain for all things Nintendo : ) Even though I am a life long gamer (still gaming a couple hours at night even at 38), I just always disliked the Nintendo IP (Mario, Zelda, etc …). More of a FPS and RTS player myself, so I have this knee jerk reaction to anything Wii.

  • http://bottomfeeder.ca/top Kassen

    @Edward;

    It's probably no surprise that I'm chiefly into arcade-style games (StreetFighter, top-down scrolling shooters, the occasional music game etc). So; I'm no fan of Nintendo's current direction either.

    Question; assuming you play your games on a PC, do you find that your gaming experience improves your performance when using mouse& keyboard for music? I'm just asking because I know few musicians who proclaim to enjoy using a mouse & keyboard setup while PC-based gamers often even take pride in theirs. To me that would indicate interface designers at music application companies are doing something wrong, compared to a company like ID which seems to be co-responsible for high sales on upper-class keyboards and mice.

  • Edward

    @Kassen

    Interesting question regarding the mouse and keyboard. It is actually quite the opposite, even though in addition to gaming, I write software for a living, I can't seem to really enjoy using a mouse and keyboard for making music to the point the I find it hard to express myself. I keep purchasing controllers to see if I can find the right interface and I think I am finally near a very comfortable workflow that makes me enjoy making music again like i did years ago with roland groove boxes.

    I have a small profile keyboard for keys, an akai mpd32 for drum pads and an apc40 for basic sequencer operations (since i only use live).

    But the piece of hardware that actually brings a smile to my face and makes me enjoy music is sort of something homegrown … I made a sequencer like the Covert Operators Step sequencer for live (http://createdigitalmusic.com/2009/10/19/step-sequencers-in-live-how-to-free-rack-download/#comments) and combined it with a behringer bcr2000 knob box. I mapped the 1st and 2nd rows of knobs as the step pitch, the 3rd and 4th rows as step velocity and the 16 buttons as step on/off and page 3 and 4 1st row knobs as note length which gives me a very usable 16 step hardware sequencer integrated inside live that an be applied to any plugin.

    It reminds me of jamming again with an analog step sequencer (like the future retro) or some of the old groove boxes with the beauty of live forcing me to stay in key. (I really underutilized live's midi plugins over the last couple years and just now am I starting to fully realize how powerful some of the rack functionality in live is).

  • http://bottomfeeder.ca/top Kassen

    Sorry, I detest excessive self-promotion but if we are talking about game controllers and (live) step sequencing I must link to this;
    http://www.leonardo.info/lmj/lmj18contribnotes.ht
    (scroll down for my name)

    Coincidentally; Future Retro's "revolution" with it's circular take on repetition was a inspiration there. I wanted to buy one but the Dutch importer didn't respond to emails. Another reason to get one's hands dirty :-)

  • http://www.cloudcycle.net/log/ mauxuam

    well done Peter…this is proper rubbish !!!

    I also use a Wii live…in front of much less ppl tho…but this is just pathetic…

    another post like this an i am going to erase CDM from my bookmarks…

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

    Well, look, we've feature Gustavo's tutorials before, so I think it's fair to show what his musical output is — and criticize it, fairly, constructively. Navas/Amo are successful in their genre, and it's not really my musical idiom, so I can't be a fair critic either way. I do look to our readers to provide other perspectives. I think it's significant that this genre is embracing these sorts of techniques, partly because it's not my idiom.

    Delete bookmarks if you must, but if you feel you can do better, that's a good impulse. Competition can be healthy. If you have a criticism, don't be shy – be specific about why something doesn't work for you. And if you are doing something different, or even better, send it to us. Otherwise, it remains a mystery.

    To everyone:

    Really, I vastly prefer self-promotion to only hearing from the PR people. I don't publish things as an endorsement; I try to provide a (relatively random) grab bag of stuff to represent the range of what's out there. "We report, you decide," as it were.

    So, thanks to people for sending in their own stuff and bringing up some constructive criticism and discussion; that is the reason this stuff gets published and I always find it a worthwhile use of my time as a result.

  • http://www.cloudcycle.net/log/ mauxuam

    Peter…off course I am not erasing your bookmark…good infos are here…and thanks again for your prodigious work…

    but

    but

    give us more of the Covert Operators tutorials and tricks (and downloads) pls…even if their english is sometime hard to follow and they are not so sexy on a massive stage in front of thousands of sunglasses..

    more and more instead I see exited posts about any sort of wanky gesture that supposed to do some sort of magic…

    this video is rubbish…I state it again….

    why don't you review a BT show then…same sort of stuff with iPhone…

    the tutorials of mr Bravetti are not too bad…but they are somehow full of self/promotion…and infact this live shows perfectly what he is about…

    actually…thanks for showing it to us….because I am def erasing any bookmark related to him.

    is this critic enough constructive ?

  • http://wonderewereldvanbenny.blogspot.com/ Benny

    I like Gustavo’s Ableton tutorials, but this performance is really pathetic. I see a stage full of douchebags who are trying their best to win the “best dj move” award and a crowd full of posers who try to win the “mister/miss sunglasses” contest.

    A few weeks ago, I went to see Jeff Mills and what he does with some turntables and a 909 is much more exiting and live than Gustavo’s stupid Wii act.

  • Alex

    What a ridiculous piece of crap performance.

    Even beeing a big fan of the music i cant stand this attitude and the bored people there.

    For comparison have a look at one of the Soulwax/2Many Djs tour videos and you know what a crowd is able to do. Those guys manage to get their listeners totally crazy even without a headset, a fancy Wii Controller and so cool sunglasses…

  • Greg

    Shame the Fresco website doesn't work…

  • http://cooptrol.com cooptrol

    I'd like to give big kudos to fellow countryman Gustavo for having made a name for himself both for his tutorials and for his musical career. Although techno is not what I like most, I respect his approach to the business and his well proven skills. He has been doing this for long in a small country like ours whose musical market is tiny, and where it's very difficult to get something going on. Big ups Gustavo!

  • http://www.cloudcycle.net/log/ mauxuam

    this is not techno !

    not even my gradmama would dare to say that.

    ye…Jeff Mills is techno ! and his dj set really rocks the house…or mr Maetrik.

    I am sold…

    anyone intersted in swapping a Wii with a 909 ?
    :-)

  • http://tokoloten.furibond.com tokoloten

    I'm also using the Wii, but in a much noisier way… ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u3d8RG81v0

  • http://bottomfeeder.ca/top Kassen

    Peter,

    Well, yes; I am critical of this, not in the lest because I believe CDM previously featured a similar performance by the same artist where the same gesture/controller was used so this didn't seem especially news-worthy to me.

    I'd also say that some of the comments above are phrased in ways I wouldn't phrase them since this is actually a very hard problem. With a stage and crowd that size it becomes a real challenge to convey what is going on to the audience. I do find it a bit lazy to make your performance consist of hand-waving behind a CD player or laptop but I also recognise that when you are in front of a few thousand people hand-waving is one of the few gestures that will come across.

    Here is the start of me documenting my own setup;
    http://bottomfeeder.ca/top/?page_id=9

    If I do say so myself; that's taking live music quite far, but I also know very well that for venues that size I have no chance at all of making that come across to the audience in the same way that I do in smaller spots by simply putting my table on the dancefloor itself. As I noted above; I can certainly see where this angle came from but it doesn't go far enough for my tastes.

    The one solution I see is using a overhead camera and a projection screen. This seems quite obvious as a solution as it's already quite common for singer-songwriters playing large stages. I fear that the reason why this doesn't happen is that many electronic artists aren't actually doing all that much on stage.

    I'm certainly not deleting any bookmarks; this is a important topic for debate and experimentation for me.

  • middleman

    I just can't believe that that many people are watching that. That is boring that. That that that.

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  • ernesto

    waoo!!! people can get in flames very quickly around here with things they like or dislike… I hope it's for good, music is a passion driven acitivity!

    1. I respect Gustavo's work, getting a crowd like that reunited in latin america, well that's HARDCORE! it can only be the result of hard work and perseverance.

    2. Even so, I do find the wiimote stuff a bit gimmicky… but "sound" wise. But I don't care if he does it and wave his hands at the same time, I know he's working his act and not just putting a CD, like a trance act.

    3. Yet…. I like a lot the work of this french live act called Dirtyphonics… maybe it's my time to share it (no association with them whatsoever). They keep their hands way too busy… but find some time for a proper hand waving :D

  • ernesto

    the link didn't show up. here it is, Dirtyphonics Live:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZjUMQdmpas

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