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.