mmakers kantine ctm from CDM on Vimeo.

The ubiquitous glow of laptop screens hiding mysterious performances, the anonymous DJ looming above a crowd like a priest … if “live” music isn’t doing it for you, we bring glad tidings.

There are many, many artists doing it differently.

We got a chance to showcase just some of these artists recently in Berlin at CTM Festival, as part of our MusicMakers series. And what a lot of fun we had. In the video above, shot for CDM by Kevin Klein, you get a taste of what’s possible. In a dance of beams of light, singer/performer Lea Fabrikant croons bestrewn with Christmas lights as Tarik Barri navigates his musical performance in three dimensions. (Tarik is now on tour doing live visuals with Atoms for Peace.) Science Fiction Children (more on their work soon) combines a full, live electro band (no one huddled over a laptop here) with a robotic drum machine that makes all its sounds with real drums. Tim Exile dazzles crowds by improvising lyrics and combining the awesome sonic powers of his custom Reaktor patches with the awesome sonic powers of … his voice. A live jam demonstrates that techno can be constructed with hardware onstage as you watch, with a cast of so many of our favorite musicians that I’m dying to get together with some of them again just to hear more of them.

I know watching this video again makes me eager to try out new performance ideas and get to know more live performers; I hope it does the same for you. The idea that laptops or electronics make a performance less dynamic – well, that’s obviously just not the case. This is technology extending what humans do, and these humans can do quite a lot.

Pics and listening:

Science Fiction Children’s tunes may make you want to sing along:

Great live set from a different trip to Berlin by Mr. Exile:

And more Solar Year:

Gallery

Images courtesy CTM Festival.

Tim Exile and crowd. (Play "where's CDM's editor?" if you like.) © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Tim Exile and crowd. (Play “where’s CDM’s editor?” if you like.) © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Tim Exile. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Tim Exile. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Tim Exile. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Tim Exile. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Live jam - part of the cast of many men and women, but here Easton West, Antaeus "Lando Kal," and Sam Barker. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Live jam – part of the cast of many men and women, but here Easton West, Antaeus “Lando Kal,” and Sam Barker. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Science Fiction Children's MR-808 robotic drum machine - yes, it really is playing these sounds, and you're really hearing the acoustic results. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Science Fiction Children’s MR-808 robotic drum machine – yes, it really is playing these sounds, and you’re really hearing the acoustic results. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Science Fiction Children. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Science Fiction Children. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Solar Year. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

Solar Year. © CTM Eelco Borremans.

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  • http://www.afrodjmac.com/ AfroDJMac

    hehe I like “Play where’s the CDM editor” game

  • foljs

    “”"The ubiquitous glow of laptop screens hiding mysterious performances, the anonymous DJ looming above a crowd like a priest … if “live” music isn’t doing it for you, we bring glad tidings. There are many, many artists doing it differently.”"”"

    The artists in the video are doing in “differently” that the description above in what way?

  • jonowise

    well Im trying out some new ideas with all my hardware> https://soundcloud.com/jonowise/new-oldcrapfunk-hrdwre-minimix ,I am undecided about laptop screens, although I think shortwave radio might be the key to all our salvation

  • kent williams

    There’s always been a tension between performance in terms of visual spectacle versus the music produced. I’m of the opinion that if the music is compelling, what the musician is doing onstage is irrelevant. What’s exciting about an orchestra playing? Is there something lacking in an orchestral performance because the conductor’s back is turned and the musicians are all staring at their music stands?

    I mistrust visual spectacle as a component of musical performances. It feels more like entertainment than art. The most involving performance I witnessed in 2012 was Tim Hecker playing a concert with a pipe organ in a darkened church. You could barely see Tim, and you certainly couldn’t tell how he was producing the sound he was making. And yet it was deeply emotional, overwhelming experience. It was actually enhanced by the lack of visual input.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That’s definitely one route to go. In this case, though, Tarik’s visual spectacle is also his interface – to the point that he was really struggling when the audience blocked his view of the screen! (Yeah, I know – mirroring next time! But it does demonstrate how important that visual element was to him.)