Perhaps part of what you need for laptop music to evolve into an appreciated live performance art medium is simply time.

Finnish artist Sasu Ripatti is a good candidate for mastery of the form. Honing his production and performance skills since the late 90s, he’s become a maestro of digital music. Moments in his music stretch out into shadowy industrial landscapes, as if painting the mysterious worlds that lie between the beats. Others crank the machinery of the dance floor back into mystical frenzy.

Now, I believe the best way to experience a live performance is in the same room as the artist – whether they’re armed with a laptop or a mandolin. But the next best thing is proper documentation, and surely as scholars of music practice, we should sometimes review the tape. In this nearly one-hour HD capture, you can see him tease out a recent live show, armed with mixer and Faderfox controller. This is waveforms and mix as instrument, stuttering journeys through architectural realms of sound. There’s not any noticeable virtuoso performance to look at, necessarily, but in some sense I think you get an impression of him feeling his way through the music, and travel along that walk with him.

Watch, and see what you come away with:



URSSS.com has done a series of these live performances — too many to mention. Enter only at the risk of getting nothing else done for a bit. I love their brilliant moniker: “mistake television.” Hey, that’s why it makes sense to record live shows.

There’s more news from the artist’s hideaway in the north, too.

He’s in the studio now, with releases promised this summer. (Yes, if you visit his site, you know this, too, but it’s good news worth mentioning.)

And specifically, he’s teaming up with another high priest of archaic sound arts, the terrific Mark Fell.

And, nicely enough, there’s a preview. This is what happens when the dance floor glitches. I dearly want to see people dancing to this / want to get to dance to this myself:

I don’t know why they’re bundling a pencil with the limited release, but they are. (Crayon would have been my choice, but then, okay, the sound design here is a great deal more precise. But, still, crayons are cool. Sharpie?)

For something completely different, this is what a “Wedding Mixtape” sounds like from Sasu and AGF:

Great stuff is also happening when he teams Sasu with Moritz von Oswald and Max Loderbauer for the Moritz von Oswald trio:

And I love that you can find a tightly-curated selection of music that directly supports the artist at his Bandcamp store:

It seems worth spending the money to suspend your iTunes and spending it there, instead, for things that really matter.

We’ll be watching for more.


Image courtesy the artist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.whitelock.52 Tom Whitelock

    A longtime favorite. Thanks for posting this, Peter.

  • wndfrm

    nice share. although, it still seems ridiculous to film someone playing with a mixer, controller and laptop for an hour. turn the lights off, hug a speaker, lay on the floor, dance your ass off, whatever.. pay attention to the sound, that is what the artist is using to speak to you.

    IMHO of course.. but the last thing i would want during a performance with that setup is a dark room with a spotlight on me.. it just encourages the ‘excessively tweaked controller ‘ thing.. autechre has it right even in the 90’s .. just throw a tarp over it all, we’re good.. :)

    no reflection on sasu of course.. i hope to hear him live someday soon.

  • klown

    A pencil comes with the Sensate Focus releases because Mark Fell usually makes his music in Max, whereas the Sensate Focus stuff is made with the pencil tool in Digital Performer (I think anyway!!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobbeK Robbert Kok

    Awesome! I would love to share my live documentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhlAjbSKDB0

    What do you think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Experimentaldog Chris SW Anderson

    I wonder what’s going on in the minds of the audience. His experience of the music and event must be quite different than that of his audience. If there are other performers in the audience, they might be imagining themselves in that position. Many people have never had the experience of being centre-stage with a spotlight. The very act of being on stage in front of an audience carries a large amount of preconceptions and expectations of the performer. The best term I can think of is stage-presence. Sorry for the plug, but I wrote a whole article on the aesthetics of Laptop performances a few months ago. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/165451-aesthetic-perceptions-of-21st-century-laptop-performances/

    • Merovee

      Very interesting article, cheers!

  • anon_commenter

    This surprisingly watchable. I would love to see whats going on on his laptop too.

  • cooptrol

    IMO one of the best electronic musicians of all times. His sound is unique, very original and advanced. A true talented genius.

  • grundigo

    mark fell, henke, fullerton-w, and now delay!
    glad to see again another brilliant em artist on cdm.
    I´d like to see someday on cdm non-computer em artists from, i.e, 12k or room40 artists (I know a bunch of them are working-improvising-recording with non digital tools

    thanks again!

  • aaamp

    anyone been to see an orchestra play anything lately? you call that exciting?? this is a performance, so it should be enjoyed for that. it takes the listener places. and delay looks like he not just going with the music. he has a plan.

    • Blob

      Eeerrr.. yes, I have seen an orchestra lately. I’ve played (percussions and electronics) with classical musicians myself. And yes, any orchestra, piano recital, jazz or rock band, or an electronic musician playing keyboards, or combining live looping with finger drumming or wearing sensor interfaces is and always will be a hundred times more musically exciting and compelling than this. What can I say, I’m a traditional guy. Don’t get me wrong, Sasu’s music is actually very good, but performance wise… no so much, to be polite. For me, someone operating a mixing desk and occasionally switching audio loops is not a performing musician, period. If you want actual performance in electronic music, take a look at Onyx’s work – now THAT is something worth watching AND listening.

  • go with the time

    ok a mixer and playback laptop
    get a live vladislaaaav
    lets go with the tme

  • booring

    booring act Sasu Ripatti
    playback act with a laptop

  • peter usti

    not really a gig that lets us break out in sweat
    only vladimir delay seems to break out in his own sweat.
    how ignorant and ball-less can you perform sasu.
    please bring some kicks and real drum grooves next time.

  • yves

    nice but i have seen bettre than vladimir delay

  • Bullshit Police

    I call bullshit!