What if software could leap off the screen, transforming into physical form? Ander’s custom controller for live performance looks like just that. An epic array of candy-colored buttons, with a dizzying arrangement of knobs atop it, it’s the opposite of what many live performances these days can be. Rather than a spectacle that distracts from the live performance, it is a spectacle that embodies the performance – not only Ander’s physical gestures, but the way he conceives his music.

By making all of his set touchable – even though that involves a lot of advance preparation – the performance it self becomes improvisatory. As he says in the video below, “every time you play, you generate something different.”

The controller looks like it it’d be at home in the command center of the Death Star. But we have some actual music here, as well. The Swiss-based artist Ander builds his entire musical work around live performance, so the connection between controller and composition is essential.

Here’s what Ander is doing musically, and what this is like in action, live:

There’s a free snippet of the new single “Guess Me,” some slightly mad, quirky minimal techno. It sounds like what some evil scientist who built something like this would be jamming to in their lab – smooth, yes, but slightly twisted.

The track dropped on Beatport at the end of May on Nice Try.

Back to the controller and the details of how Ander works, the Ableton User Group in Zurich has a long-form interview. (It’s not as long as it looks – there are inexplicably some minutes of black silence at the end, perhaps an homage to John Cage.) It’s worth watching through, as it goes into the details of the controller and the performance, but also how Ander uses Ableton Live.

Lots of other information and reflections can be found on Ander’s website:

  • http://www.skyron.org/ SkyRon™

    Yes, Extremely Cool Controller!! I would like to get one of those!

    (New music? No. Until folk from my generation ‘die out’, there will always be someone who says, ‘hey, wait, it’s just a minor key, bass-line ostinato, with some melodic variations added above it, done electronically. Except for the ‘electronic’ part, all this was done by Monteverdi, Purcell, and others in the 17th century, basically.”–that is, the pitch/rhythm vocabulary is not new, and the timbre vocabulary is maybe slightly new.  For someone growing up in the 1960’s [and obviously not scoring with chicks in clubs in the 2010’s], ‘new music’ at one time meant, “wow, I have no clue how Boulez or Stockhausen or Subotnik or Gaburo scored that, or how Cage or Nam June Piak or Herbert Brun arranged or programmed that!”. Just sayin’, because, you know, we are ‘dying out’.) 

    (if you mean ‘new music by that particular dood’, then yes, it is new music. just not ‘universally’ new music.)

    • http://krzysztofcybulski.com/ Krzysztof Cybulski

      Very reasonable comment

    • jimmie

      I think there was no “rondom” then, everything was pre-planned in their head, indeed music were most literally “written” then. your music is already completely composed before actually played by instruments. painting and CG has been in similar path. the computer changed this..

    • http://www.facebook.com/ghmetcalfe Graham Metcalfe

      No, a lot of those guys mentioned specifically experimented with varying degrees of randomness. If you are curious about the pioneers of randomness on a grand scale you should definitely check out Stockhausen.

    • http://twitter.com/anderlive Ander

      Yeah, the term “new music” is of course one with more than a single meaning. And I am very deliberately not exploring “new music” in the way Stockhausen or Cage did. Still, I try to perform EDM in a new, improvisational way, in order to be able to surprise the audience and myself with what I do, and to get the energy flowing. That is what EDM is all about, for me at least. My music is supposed to work in exactly that context, and I cannot imagine any crowd (let alone the chicks of 2010) going wild over something like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XfeWp2y1Lk. This would work, however: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3COGmfO5Dvg.

  • Sarna

    see Ander performing with his controller with the according music on this video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHCna7hmscU&feature=context-chv