Not having any structures, plans or fixed ideas about performing can mean that I never really know what’s going to happen once I start playing.
To be fair, variation is in all performance, though less obvious in the outpourings of the strictest of performers, but the level of variation I’m referring to here is to the point at which I’ll only decide what equipment to take to a gig not long before I leave. And anyway, I’m normally running late. I may well put a lot of thought into the whole escapade – I’m hardly unthinking. Trying to get an old TR606 to reproduce dubstep patterns can piss the hours away.
The point is that every gig is different and sounds different. Mood, atmosphere, equipment et al, all conspire to affect the outcome. I stopped taking the laptop after just one gig, frustrated by the time it took for sequences to load and not really wanting to be a laptop pilot anyway. Of course, I could exploit Ableton’s excellent live facilities, but I simply prefer to use an instrument, like the sad old curmudgeon that I am. And of course, I’m sitting here now thinking I could make good use of the Mukebox… so maybe the laptop will make an appearance after all.
Slowly but surely I wend my way toward the point. I have not been working so much on my ‘studio’ releases for a good few months now, and as such have had little to say. Yes, I have a solo EP or two in the pipeline, but I don’t really want to churn them out like boxes of cornflakes – I’d rather work on them when the time is right, until they eventually see the light of day. But in the meantime? It would appear to most that I have little to say. A couple of side-projects have seen a lot of my attention, but Mutate has been mostly quiet.
And so it dawned on me that I should begin releasing my live performances as a series, that kinda runs as a separate stream to my studio releases. After all, I don’t even consider attempting to perform any of the material I decompose in the ‘studio’, choosing instead to simply improvise from scratch. No beats from fave tracks, etc. OK, so I might take the 606 and it might be pre-programmed with a beat, but it won’t be something I’ve lifted from one of my studio recordings. It will invariably get live-edited/messed-with while I perform anyway. (I say ‘perform’, but in reality I’m devoid of charisma and stage presence.)
So begins the ‘Interstices’ series – a slow trickle of live recordings, nicely mastered and released onto various netlabels and the like. When there is no latest EP to release, there may well be a new live release to fill the gap. If I have decent video footage, then I’ll get it up on Youtube. You can witness me making an enormous wall of sound, whilst seemingly doing very little. And I’ll probably look awkward, but hopefully ‘thoughtful’.
First up is the recording of my last solo set at Birmingham’s wonderful Ort Cafe. Mastering work is underway, so it won’t be long before it’s complete. Promise I won’t take forever.
Long live the gaps between!