Why I stopped free improv live shows

Hi, this marks a new and big step for me as an artist. It´s the 1st solo show I did with prepared songs.

I arranged and practiced these night and day the last weeks (Besides family, work and watching Greys Anatomy). It´s my handshake between complexity, simplicity, improvisation and fun, while performing live.

Having fun, while playing live is my new goal. I learned it thanks to Born in Flamez workshop at ‘Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs Festival’ in Berlin.

As I am neither Martin Kohlstedt nor Nils Frahm, not a trained musician at all, I decided to move away from completely improvised live sets. So I found a way to conserve my songs and make them replayable. A tedious and time eating process…

Sure, there´s still a lot to improve, but I am so proud, that I started. So thanks for your support. Feel free to ask questions and I let me know what you think.

Recorded on the end of summer fest at Arnstadt Kristall. 09.28th 2019. I had to play very calm, that was tough, too.

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Sounds excellent well done.

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Thanks. Yes the sounds these machines can generate is unbelievable.

I really like what you do! Very nice stuff. Do you still keep room for improv in certain parts of the set, or is it 100% prepared, structured songs now? I went from completely pre-programmed, fixed tracks with no room for any mistakes or spontanious sidetracks to a more flexible way to approaching my live set. More room for improvisation while keeping focus on a track-based set. Would love to read more about the choices you made as it seems we’re kind of in the same situation, but coming from different sides of the spectrum.

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While I love the song and the sounds (very Icelandic to my ears), these songs with a lot of guitar and vocals would be better performed by playing the guitar parts and looping them. And if that’s your vocals, rather than a sample, do that bit live too. It would make for a more exhilarating performance that way imo :yellow_heart:

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Love the sound.
Although you do great job here, this is mostly “band sound” for me. It sounds like it should be performed by a bunch of musicians playing all the guitars, pianos, keyboards live…
But being on your own makes organization, preparation etc. easier, I know.

btw. much respect that you use the DFAM in this live setting

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Sounds awesome! ‘65 JM reissue?

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Nice set!!

I am interested in your process for re-creating you songs. I struggle with where to even begin. At the moment I am only able to create sand castles…

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But if you stay in key and ‘play safe’, a few extra live playing bits of guitar and keys, voice and … you are there. I am sure you can do that.

Edit: Forgot the quote … :man_facepalming:

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Thanks Craig! That´s exactly what I do. I play the guitar parts live and loop them. Same goes for the vocals. I sing them live and sample them to the op1 for immediate playback.

I just prepared the piano, bass on the opz and synth leads on the m32. Everything else is played as it comes. The moogs don’t have presets. That´s really tough. So I started making fotos of the settings to recall them later. Then I transcribed these into readable notes for later. When I now play live I have these papers layed out on the iPad and I use these for reference.

So so so true. But yeah. 2 Kids, Work, no time, no band… It would be so great to have a band and a real rehearsal room again. But yes that´s complicated…

Love her so much!

What a beautiful metaphor. Exactly what I did the last years. But that´s ok. A great start, to do at least something. To recall things I recorded everything to camera and took photos of all the machines, that don´t have presets. Then I started to save the patterns on the digitone and on the mother32 & opz. When I realized that the digitone can save the bpm of a pattern I almost cried :wink:

The hard part is then to get this all together like in that magic moment during the jam. It takes time and a lot of repetition. I made numerous notes with my iPad during the ‘rejams’ and refined these notes to most needed ones, to clear the clutter. It got from here:

to there:

Containing only the most needed infos. When I need to change things I mark them red. Hope that makes sense…

Good point, but I decided to not play keys, because I am too bad. And I want to have some fun on stage, so I needed to simplify things and makes compromises… It´s still not fun - you can see it in my face, but I hope with more practice and muscle memory I will get there…

Thanks so much everyone. Means the world to me, that you care.
Love. Andre.

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Awesome. I would 10/10 come to see you play all the parts and build up to the awesomeness you have going on. Record a video of you doing everything!!! :yellow_heart:

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Quite the progression with your presets, that’s really cool that you have that to look back on.

That’s a great idea of recoding with a camera and using a central instrument to control the patterns. Maybe I’ll try that more (octatrack as the midi brain) although I have been moving that direction anyways as it has a better sequencer than my MD…

I think I am going to try focusing on a genre more as well. I’m a little too open ended atm.

Thanks for your reply!

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Here is the next iteration of my live setup. I worked especially on the dissolves between the songs. I used movie samples and a guitar drone that keeps running even if I stop the digitone aka master clock. It gives me the much needed time to change the sounds on the mother32 and dfam.

I also exchanged the complete guitar pedalboard to an iOS app on the iPad called tonestack. It has presets that I can change via an umi3 midi pedal. Works great.

Atmosphere and sound was nice and I almost played completely without headphones, which still is pretty challenging to me, but a better connection to the audience.

Still work in progress, but I was pretty proud, happy and exhausted after the show.

Cheers. Andre.

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