I have been torn for a little while about the studio / live dichotomy…
On one side I see the risk of boring people with my live tweaking (who has never been utterly underwhelmed when listening to improvs that felt incredible when playing ?) and on the other I see the risk of boring myself with too few to do and build with live. So I try to balance the two, like everybody I guess…
Can I ask you why ?
“Honest” seems to call to a clear and constructed idea about what live music should be.
I hear a lot of stuffs going along those lines (hey!), but I don’t think I really get why. When I think about it I see the extreme cases as really clear and everything in the middle feels a lot less obvious. For instance, is playing live modular with a patch already laid out a problem ? Is using samples of a musical instruments a problem ? Phrases of said instrument ?
It makes me think about the “playing an instrument VS composing” debate…
I have to say that to me electronic music gives the opportunity to let people play music “by themselves” if they want, and in this case what you play is the entirety of the music that the public will listen to, it makes me feel like my “responsibility” is to them, to present them something that is not “me playing” but rather “music being presented”.
I still want to be able to steer it, let it take me somewhere rehearsals never made me explore, etc, but there is no way I’ll make good complexe music on the spot thinking about so many aspects of it (well it already is a struggle having taken away a few parameters…). I guess it depends on what it is you want to play with live, what said music is about, but it always feels like that line between “just push play and wave your arms” and “live coding event” must be challenged, thought about, etc.
Personally I choose to “pre compose” concrete music (missing some effects, leaving parts unachieved in terms of intensity, etc) that I bounce on 4 track cassette, that I later use as a guideline with a synth, pedals, loopers, and a red of all that and two mixers for feedback of everything. It makes for a wild beast if I want to but if I want to land on my feet I have my tape with “already written time” on it.
In the end what I play live has a “fixed” part on the tape, an other “fixed” part that is my rehearsed playing of this weird system, and this part changes every time, even though it always “plays its part”. chaos and order fighting ! That is what my music is about, so that is what the system I built is about too.
More on the topic asked (sorry), to me everything is about answering “what do I want to be able to do live?”, and then finding the gear that lets that happen, with just the right amount of control.